Monday, July 30, 2012

India: loving it or hating it?

I have heard from a large number of people that, you either end up loving or hating India. My husband likes to say, he is different because he does not love or hate it here. I have my days, some days I enjoy India and some days I want to scream…I think you can guess why I want to scream.

Last night tipped the balance for me. India is loud and in your face, all the time, at all hours of the day and night. Most of the time I don’t mind, although I tend to be somewhat of a quiet and gentle person, I really don’t mind in your face India during the day. During the night I put in ear-plugs, something I have been doing since I have lived in big and loud cities such as New York, DC, Budapest, Tel Aviv, and Damascus. Earplugs work, for the most part. 

In every city you will have obnoxious neighbors, garbage pick-up at odd hours, street vendors, guys that knock on your door to wake you up for your breakfast before sunrise (during Ramadan), church bells and call of the muezzin, and oh those parents that think their kid is truly talented and therefore encourage him to practice his/her drums and off key singing at 7 AM on a given Saturday or Sunday morning.  I usually roll with the punches on the above mentioned aspects of city life.

However, the following situations tip the balance and make me want to scream (listed in order of scream factor):

  1.        Having one’s neighbors have parties in the yard with drums, really bad but nevertheless loud sound amplifying equipment, electric key board, and awful pitch from 9:30 PM – 12:30 AM
  2.       Having one’s neighbors do the same as in 1. at 3 – 6 AM

Number 2 makes me want to scream, literally. If we lived next to a religious establishment, that would be one thing. In Damascus, I lived in a house adjacent to the Sayyidah Ruqayya mosque and heard the call to prayer every morning at 4 AM. The difference is that the call to prayer is beautiful, and as far as I know, people with no sense of music and pitch are not allowed to perform it. The call to prayer is rhythmic, which does not disturb your sense of internal balance and does not last very long, therefore you are able to fall asleep again. 

We live in a residential neighborhood with neighbors that think its perfectly fine to fire up their amplifiers and sing their hearts out for the neighborhood to enjoy at 3 AM in the morning. I found out today after attempting to complain that, yes there are zoning laws that prohibit noise from 10PM – 6 AM and no, even if I call the cops, I will not be able to prevent this event from taking place whenever my neighbors feel like firing up their awful sound system, electric keyboard, drums and not particularly talented lungs.  

So, I guess this post is about the pendulum swinging to the dark side. I hope to swing the other way soon.