I have been in US for about 10years now but I am still a Chennai vasi(Chennaiite) by heart and mind. For some reason, I have never really absorbed the American accent, so I can easily pass for a true Chennaiite who has never left India :D. On a side note, I have always wondered how some of us get a hold of the American accent so fast within a year or two. Not that I’m complaining, just wondering…that’s all…. Anyways, I am not here to write about that. Most of us living in US (or anywhere away from India for that matter), tend to compare life in US to life in India and reminiscence for hours together about how awesome life was there. We end up feeling depressed thinking about what we are missing. Later the topic would wander off to things that are different in US (in a good way) and we console ourselves that way. Soooo…since I have a blog now (yayy for that!), I thought why not pen a series of posts bringing out what India offers which may seem ordinary or run-of-the-mill stuff to those who live there, but is a blissful dream for those living away from India. I wanted to follow up with a series a posts bringing out how US is different in few other things and how great it would be if the same existed in India.
Ding Dong. Almost all of the Chennaiites wake up to the sound of doorbell in the morning. A typical day begins with the sound of doorbell and then piles on more sounds as it progresses. Just think, even before we leave our house, there would be sounds of the maids cleaning dishes and clanking them, followed by moms asking them to do it slowly. Then comes the sound of brooms and mops cleaning up our tiles..followed by the sound of fans running at high speed to make sure the floor dries super fast….And let’s not forget the rustling of daily newspaper as we sip our morning tea, ah heaven on earth! 🙂
All this before we leave the house!! And after waving a quick bye, we run off to our bike/car to start our day. But hold on, the sounds don’t stop here. Those in bikes, ride in heavy traffic in the midst of traffic noise…vehicles vrooming and vrmmming. Even those in cars are not immune to the horn sounds at every traffic stop and every turn – “honk, honk!” If no one budges, “honk,honk!” again..lol. The sounds follows us until we reach our workplace or college. And then of course the building serves as a barrier between us and the outside world and its all quiet (er..comparitively quiet) until we leave for home.
And then again, right after we exit the office/college building, we are greeted with sound of horns and vehicles rushing to some place at the peak hour. Somehow Chennaiites manage to drown out the noise and hold long conversations in the midst of traffic on a bike(yeah we are made like that ;))! We buzz through traffic honking wherever necessary, paying a little more attention to autos…ah autos…..the sound of autos..how can one forget that! The sounds travel with us until we reach home/apartment, where the sounds of neighbours’ chitter chatter would take over…just until we reach our door, where we have no choice but to keep the door closed in the evening (thanks to mosquitoes who are visitors to all homes).But then after a few hours the sounds of Vijay TV or Sun TV would take over –“Neengal paarthu kondirupathu Sun TVin Tamizh Malai” or “Welcome to Super Singer!”. And then after 10pm, the sounds would all slowly fade away, and finally die at 12am, except for the occasional lorry and car horn sounds.
Hmmm..how I wish to hear these sounds now..These are few of the many many sounds from India that all US hearts miss….starting from the doorbell to the lorry horn sounds in the night. Its considered offensive to honk the horns in US, so no one does it unless you wish to convey something to the vehicle in front of you. A little trivia – did you know that very few apartments have doorbells installed in US? Some have knockers and for others, the visitors will just have to knock on the doors (just like the rhyme “3,4 knock on the door!”). Crazy right!! But the strange thing is we will hear the knocking sound however soft it is, because it is EERILY QUIET. It’s like US runs on India time 10pm all through the day! You can actually hear a pin drop here, provided your homes have tiles instead of carpets..ah,well.
How I wish we could bring all the sounds from Chennai to US! Wish we could just put them all in a sack and release it here for all to hear and enjoy! The sounds of auto..chitter chatter of neighbours..vroomming sound of vehicles right outside outside our door, the horn sounds, the sound of rustling of papers.. How I wish to hear these everyday…sigh. My town, Chennai is a rockstar for so many reasons, these lovely sounds being one one of the many! Chennaiites hope you guys treasure these sounds…there are many hearts that yearn for those! 🙂