What Do You Hear?

The first day of college in my first year. Prof. VJ had come in to declare two important things. First, that we had to secure a copy of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and begin reading it, and second, that we had to observe the sounds we hear when we wake up in the morning, and share it with her in our next class.

Today I embarrassingly recall being driven up and down what I now know as Church Street, searching for a place I now know too well- Blossoms Book House. I secured a neat little second hand copy of Llosa’s fine work, the previous owner being a senior of mine. But it was the second task that proved more daunting to me. Staying in a Hotel near college because you haven’t found accommodation yet means you won’t hear typical morning neighborhood sounds. The sound I heard, was ‘Happy’ by Pharell Williams. I remember Prof. VJ’s expression when this observation slithered out of my mouth- she was not so happy.

A few months ago I had managed to ask Prof. VJ what she was trying to make us understand through this hearing activity. She said (and I paraphrase) she just wanted us to realize how often we use words that are not our own. We love to say “chirping birds” without pausing to think that here screeching crows are far more common, and much more audible in the morning.

Three years have passed, and I am almost done with my course. I woke up today and began my coffee concocting ritual when I heard something that made me pause my pouring and swooshing. I had heard a bird. Not your regular bird with it’s regular sound descriptions. This bird was not chirping, it was not screeching, not cawing, not tweeting, not even purring.

This bird sounded like a rusty seesaw in action. That was my first thought.

I think I have learnt something(?)

**(Prof. VJ is a wonderful writer as she is a professor. Her blog is filled with many, many more amusing descriptions.)**