As I walked down the street on a bitterly cold day, I puffed a white cloud of vapour from the depths of my body, with the wind-shield flap of my jacket tightly buttoned up and my hand resting in the cosy warm pockets, as if the chill outside was gasping for my body's warmth. Along the walk, the honking of vehicles never stopped and was about to make me cover my ears at one of the roundabouts. But then I dropped the idea because my hands refused to leave the place of comfort and face the brunt of intermittent brushes of ice-cold breeze. In the evening, the cacophony is more intense than ever since everyone wants to rest from the day's long chores and, yes, from the teeth-cluttering chill at this phase of the year. The vendors call the customers at their highest tones to have maximum profits by the end of the day. Some even made roadside fireplaces, using used and damaged jute cartons as fuel, to keep warm in the bitter cold. The bus conductors shriek in their characteristic tones and sing the names of the places so as to attract the hurrying home-goers. Mothers slapped the backs of their crying children because their wish for a toy had gone unfulfilled.
Students were also rushing towards their hostels, discussing the lecture they attended in their classes. More than that, mimic the teacher’s way of teaching and blast their frustration. Policemen were struggling to give way to the vehicles that were jammed on the roads by this circus of life. They were using their own authoritative voices, which fit these kinds of situations. And within minutes, the ruckus had diffused into a normal street, with vehicles plying like an egg rolling on the surface. The drizzle added its own music to this scene, making one witness to the song nature sings all by itself without worrying about pitch or volume.
I decided to take a cab home to get away from this hullabaloo. As the ride neared my home, the hustle and bustle started to lose its intensity, and a lively observation caught one’s attention. Everyone is preoccupied with their respective means of survival: preoccupied with sustaining their lives; preoccupied with obtaining a living; preoccupied with moving forward and striving to be the best among all. Each of the passengers gets out of the cab at their respective destinations one by one, until the last one, and the cycle continues each day and every hour without any halt. This routine may be tiresome for many, but more than being wearisome, it has its reason as well.
No sooner did I reach home than I realised the subtle noise in my head. This noise was neither from a vendor nor from a bus conductor; it also was not from the rain, but yes, it was like that of the kid whom I saw crying because he was kept devoid of his favourite toy. A sobbing cry when you don’t get the desired thing; a heart-breaking sigh when, despite working hard to achieve, you don’t succeed in the same way the others did, although others get through without much toil. It had a different waveform and couldn’t be heard by our ears; it was just felt. It could not be avoided by wearing earplugs, nor could it be suppressed. For a few minutes, this type of stirring disrupts the hard-earned peace, and one longs for it with even more agitation.
No matter how much one tries to suppress his or her distraction, worries, questions, fears, aspirations, and distress, it will show its presence in one form or another. No matter how much one tries to avoid and block the noise, one can’t suppress the inner noise that we listen to all the time we are awake. And noise is not always bad, be it of any type, as introduced in the preceding lines—a natural phenomenon that has its own connotations. But, yes, it is also true that everything in excess is bad. A threshold breach of anything can be inconvenient and even make us think negatively about it. At that time, it may need some corrective measures to mitigate its unwanted effects.
The hubbub we all witness in city centres, public places, and offices on a daily basis can be irritating sometimes, but it is the laterality of the human mind that thinks only of that aspect of a thing or happening that fits its choice and reason. Market clamour and tumult are a reason and way of life for many people, their means of subsistence, whether they like it or not, and whether it suits us or not. The Almighty has enclosed the livelihood of many in the din of markets and other such places. The only difference is that we turn a blind eye to the design behind the way things happen around us and only focus on their relevance to us.
Similarly, while the constant stir and storm of thoughts in our minds may appear to be a symptom of restlessness, it is this storm that keeps us from doing evil and bad; it drives us to work harder and harder every day in order to achieve our goals, improve our lives, be aware of impending dangers ahead, and strive hard in finding answers to our curiosity questions. The label of "troubling" we have given to the noise we are always cognizant of is a misnomer and doesn't always infer the same meaning, at least not in its subtle and extensive connotations. Just as a betrayal does not always provide a negative sense when viewed from a broad perspective, it also has positives that redefine the person's journey in a more refined and mature way.
The crux of the matter remains the simple truth that we are far too unaware of the abyssal background of things and how they work. We only apprise ourselves of the things that fit our choice and taste, rejecting others with our cunning elaborations without thinking about their usefulness and relevance to others. It may satisfy our logic and relieve us of nature's compounded inter-relationships, as well as soothe the agony of understanding the composite nature of life affairs, but it also robs us of the meaning of life, which is to accept things as they are and try to steer it between systole and diastole effectively without straining our mind muscle fruitlessly because we know there are some convolutions we can't comprehend. May the Almighty bless us all!
(Author is a Columnist and can be reached at: email@example.com)