Loudspeakers And Other Lethal Things

You would hardly believe it, but loudspeakers are lethal instruments of mass destruction.

Yes, they are. I’ll tell you why.

Because they incite harmless, mild people like yours truly to murderous rage. Once the rage has been stoked, one never knows where it would stop, if ever.

Result: Mass Destruction.

QED.

The event triggering this homicidal train of thought is ostensibly harmless. Ostensibly, mind you. Not really.

Actually, it cannot be called an event. As in, it IS an event. But it happens every day. Every. Single. Day.

Hence the word event wouldn’t cover it. One needs something a lot more substantial than that. However, I digress, as always.

There is a temple in the colony where I live. A temple to Ma Durga, no less. A very simple temple but one with palpable, powerful energy. I remember feeling magnetically drawn within the first time I went there.

Promptly at seven in the evening, when all one wants is to wipe the day’s sweat from one’s brow and take off one’s grimy overalls and feed one’s soul with some balming peace, the aforementioned loudspeaker crackles to life.

What emerges from that thing would attract a verdict of ‘justifiable homicide’ from any jury of self-respecting people. I have no clue who leads the prayer at the temple nowadays. Whoever he is, he definitely has cracked-gramophone-record blood in his veins. And a deep, pathological hatred for all things musical.

The Devi Stuti that blares forth from that PA system must render Ma Durga’s ears jangling for hours. Yet, the love of the mother desists from striking the offender down with one sweep of her trident!

Mortals don’t share the mother’s equanimity though. So we, gnash our teeth to powder and write bristling rants to our blogs. For ire, bottled up, doesn’t do you any good. It is best to decant and throw your ire into the vast void. 

The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have never appreciated or understood the desire for loud worship. When the said worship is not only high decibel but also possessed of the grating tunelessness of a steel comb being dragged across a glass plate (did you wince? Ha!), the thing turns from annoying to downright lethal. 

What purpose do they hope to serve by their loud worship? People who want to pray, know where to go. Those who don’t aren’t going to move off their behinds if you blared from ten PA systems! Moreover, the gods aren’t deaf, for crying out loud! Pun not intended. 

I remember a neighbour who lived in a flat right above mine. Her kitchen was directly above my bedroom. At four am on the dot, she would begin her LOUD worship, ringing the hand-held brass bell furiously, murdering one beautiful bhajan after another. After a few months of it, I’d had enough of it. As tactfully as I know how, I suggested to her that she might turn (off) down the volume a bit.

Mightily offended, she declared, “You should be thankful that a few words of a bhajan fall into your ears first thing in the morning! I know that YOU don’t pray!”

With their backs to the sunrise, they worship the night.

~ Robert G. Ingersoll

Needless to say, the chastisement was delivered to me in her most holier-than-thou voice. I don’t know about you, but it annoys me intensely when people presume to decide what my relationship to my God will be. Where the hell do they get off? What makes them think I am in need of their directions? I know how to find God, thank you very much. 

You do what you want to do with your life. But the moment you get into my face with it, you’re going to hear my voice. There’s no polite way to say this. In any case, I’ve never been good at political correctness!

I remember a retired old gentleman I hired as an office manager for my institute. He had retired from a government department where he had worked as a clerk. Within three days I knew I had made a huge mistake foisting that inedible mushroom onto my fledgeling academy.

In the first place, the man lost no opportunity in submitting inflated and falsified bills for the most commonplace items. Stationery, tea-leaves, milk… all were grist to his mills.

On the second day, he decided that we were a bunch of godless people who ought to be brought— duly kicking and screaming— to God. He declared that all of us will not only begin our day with prayers but will also have a loooooong prayer of thankfulness intoned at the beginning of lunch.  The total time both prayers took was twenty-seven minutes. The lunch got stone cold by the time the prayer ended.

Let My worship be in the

heart that rejoices, for behold,

all acts of love and pleasure

are My rituals.

~ Doreen Valiente

I asked the gentleman to leave us sinners to our sinful ways that very evening. I couldn’t bear the piety of the man. But I had underestimated the leech. He clung to us as wet clay clings to boots in inclement weather. As one takes to a knife to scrape a boot, so also I took to it now. But it was a painful process since I no longer possessed my trusted Rampuri. I literally had to tell him to scrape himself off my office floor or I might let him have a taste of my dainty shoe! He could even say a prayer before consuming it. 

I wonder what it is with people. As my late mother often said, people have the strongest sense of other people’s business! They don’t have any idea what’s happening in their own nose, it must be shoved in the affairs of other people willy-nilly. It’s downright ugly, to my sensible, sensitive sensibilities. Yes, that’s my own tongue-twister. Bet you can’t say that ten times, quick.

Meanwhile, the loudspeaker blares on lethally!

 

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