Posted: March 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Listening.. is becoming an interesting and significant word and act, in my life.

In my professional life as a Social Media entrepreneur, I advocate listening (to the social media conversations about your brand) to brands and businesses.

But here I talk of a different kind of listening. Listening to the sounds in our life. In our background.

I remember a brief interaction with the famous film personality, Gulzar. I was at a 5-day feature film script writing workshop in Noida, and Gulzar had come in as a guest faculty. He was talking about a writer describing the rising sun, in great detail. In response, I asked him a kind of stupid question. About how in our busy world, we barely get time to look up into the sky, or even notice that the sun is out. In that case, how can we write in this kind of detail, that he was talking about.

And he gave me a blunt, yet straightforward answer. That in that case, why am I even thinking of writing!!

That’s stayed with me. Do I have the time or the luxury to watch life around me? Do I “listen” to things nearby?

If I think about it, all the listening that happens in a typical day – and which I assure you, is nearly NOT noticed, in spite of it being loud and around – is the clicking away of the keyboard, the screeching of tyres on the road, honking of horns, shouting expletives on cell phones, and the like.

Are there more sounds about us? Have we tried to listen?

With my new found regime of sleeping earlier, getting up earlier, going out for morning walks, and the like, I also don’t want to crowd my mind, at least that early in the morning, with more music or more podcasts. But rather, try and experience life and nature around me.

Today was a particularly early start as I went out to walk at around 6-15 am. It was still quite dark. Left with not much to see and not much to do, except walk, my other sensory organ picked up. The ear. And the mind chose to focus on the sounds.

And ended up discovering very interesting ones.

– the bhajans at a nearby temple. Loud enough to be heard, but not really decipherable. First the lead person, and later the chorus.

– the crows. Making different sounds. Perhaps like humans, there were few who made a point and shut up. And others who kept going caw, caw, caw.. wonder if the word cacophony came from them..

– the other birds. With better sound. But barely audible, amidst the cacophony of the crows.

– the sudden interruption to the natural sounds coming from a noisy autorickshaw. Oh, believe me, Mumbai is up far earlier than the 6-15 am that I was out for a walk, so rickshaws would be plying a plenty, at that time.

– a loud grunt from one of the senior players who missed a shot, at the adjoining flood lit tennis court.

– and again, nature’s sounds disturbed by the aeroplane taking off – one of the many early morning flights leaving from Mumbai airport, at that time.

No, there was no emptiness. All of the above sounds are present right through the day, but we do not hear them, due to the many other noises in our noise polluted world. at 6-15 am, I was at least able to experience some other natural sounds. Perhaps in the middle of the night, say around 2 am or so, there may be yet some other sounds to experience. Or not. Maybe there IS a emptiness. Maybe there is quiet.. ?!

What do you think?

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