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.)**


As of This Morning,

I woke up early, for the first time in a long time, and gulped down water. I watched the kittens struggling to walk, the brown one hiding behind the black one. Shy, much like me. I read something interesting about the ancient-ness of the Appalachian ranges in the US- Canada border, and wondered how the Earth has seen so many tenants, and like a very successful landlord, has managed to bury them- dead or alive. Instead of waiting for them to ask for their deposit, she made them the deposit.

The kitchen greeted me with the smell of cat food, a smell that I have decided to confess I am not fond of, but tolerate. The stove did not light, so coffee was not made. This broke my heart. But again, was tolerated. I found a cheese bun to warm in the microwave oven, and burnt my tongue out of a greed that rises when one is presented with a soft hot bun to bite into. Ungrateful, buns in the oven. Ungrateful, my mom has called me many times.

I persisted, and took each bite of soft bun with utmost meaning, carefully chewing it, keeping mind of how soft it was. A crumb that fell on my thigh was mistaken for an insect, and a wave of fear distracted me from the soft bun memoir being written in my head. I decided to speed ahead, and gulped the bun down to ensure no other rogue crumbs got any such ideas. Yes, the fallen crumb was devoured too.

In some romantic morning hope, I tried the stove again. It was clear to me that there would be no coffee today. So, I settled for hot water from the kettle instead.