Twitter Redux (Sep 2008 - Dec 2008) Movie Reviews - Part 2

Sunke Shor Banaraswala...

Or "The noise in Benares and how I felt after being exposed to it" :-).

Here are some delightful snippets from a book I am currently reading - Butter Chicken in Ludhiana : Travels in Small Town India by Pankaj Mishra :-

The most uniform and conspicuous feature of the towns and cities you travel through in North India, and also the most serious menace to civilized life in them, is noise. It accompanies you everywhere - in your hotel room, in the lobby, in the elevator, in the streets, in temples, mosques, gurdwaras, shops, restaurants, parks - chipping away at your nerves to the point where you feel breakdown to be imminent. It isn't just the ceaseless traffic, the pointless blaring of horns, the steady background roar that one finds in big cities. It is much worse: the electronics boom in India has made cassette players available to anyone with even moderate spending power. Cassettes too are cheap, especially if you buy pirated ones. People diminished by urban existence can now fill up the immense vacuum of their lives by a continuous production of sound.

Further along, Mishra writes about his difficult experience in Benares, the previous year, dealing with the aforementioned problem.

For, to be woken up at five in the morning by the devotional treacle of Anup Jalota, Hari Om Sharan and other confectioners, all of them simultaneously droning out from several different cassette players; to be relentlessly assaulted for the rest of the day and most of the night by the alternately over-earnest and insolent voices of Kumar Sanu, Alisha Chinoy, Baba Sehgal singing 'Sexy, Sexy, Sexy', 'Ladki Hai Kya Re Baba', 'Sarkaaye Liyo Khatiya' and other hideous songs; to have them insidiously leak into your memory and become moronic refrains running over and over in your mind; to have your environment polluted and your day destroyed in this way was to know a deepening rage, an impulse to murder, and, finally, a creeping fear at one's own dangerous level of derangement. It was to understand the perfectly sane people you read about in the papers, who suddenly explode into violence one fine day; it was to conceive a lasting hatred for the perpetrators, rich or poor, of these auditory atrocities.

The book was published in 1995. It describes Mishra's journeys through the smaller towns and cities of India during the post-liberalization period. He even visits Bangalore, which was then a "Pensioner's Paradise". I guess the best thing about his travels is that he had no fixed itinerary as such (reminds me of our trip to Pune quite sometime back :-). Thoroughly enjoying the book.

Tags : A Bookworm's Diet, Bangalore

Posted by Rajat @ 3:42 PM

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