We all have heard this question: How was your day?
Irrespective of the vast differences that characterise our daily routines, we always answer the question in the same manner – We describe our daily lives through an amalgamation of narrative devices: we list out our chores, recreate our movements, recall our to-do lists and describe the people who were a part of our day. Interesting as these stories might be, I wanted to give a different answer. Therefore, I chose to reconstruct my day using merely the various sounds I had heard:
The bed creaked as I reluctantly parted from it. I could hear the clap-clap-clap of my mother’s slippers slapping against her feet. The relaxed pace at which she walked; slow and energetic; created a rhythm, the rhythm of authority. From the hallway, metal cylinders of the wind chimes rubbed against each other, tinkling joyfully in the swaying breeze. The newspaper landed on the table with a distinctive thud. The newly-hatched sparrows were twittering from their nest. The father sparrow’s wings thrashed against the wind in a glorious flutter. As he took flight, the twigs under his feet cracked. These soft sounds, like the sound of a child’s breathing, were engulfed by the clash and clamour of vessels tumbling over each other, as the kitchen drawers were opened. Running water from the tap gurgled and roared as it hit the sink with a crash. As the stove was lit, the quivering flame came to life with a heavy gasp. The doors moaned, as they painfully battled with the rusty edges. The washing machine began its slow rumble, the rumble of mountains when echoes hit them.
Like the carvings on a wooden dagger, the afternoon libretto is extremely intricate- the annoyed hiss of the oil, the sizzle of onions and the endless crackle of spices. The sound of cutlery; of spoons, forks and plates, symbolic of a satisfying lunch. The low, reverberating humming of the water filter. My mother’s gentle snoring, with its rhythmic rise and fall, not unlike notes played on a bamboo flute. The stillness of the afternoon is a treble clef in itself; its sound is peaceful. The quiet schliff, schliff, schliff of pages being flipped in a book.
The graceful rippling of tea poured through the strainer. The crunch of sugar just before it melts in the mouth. The crumple of chocolate and their wrappers. The systematic click of light switches being turned on. The cheerful singing of home-bound parrots, as they shoot across the sky. The quick sound of a matchstick being chafed against the box. The ringing laughter of children playing on the streets, reminiscent of raindrops pitter-pattering on the window. The stridulation of crickets, the squealing shriek of lizards perched upon tube lights. The slamming shut of windows, and the frantic murmur of the wind as it escapes through gaps in the wall.
Night is an embodiment of the Moonlight Sonata. The noise from the television bounces off the walls. As people retire to their rooms, I hear sighs of relief, the lent of Beethoven that sounds like violin music. I can hear the twinkle of the stars and the shining of the moon. The ding-ding-ding of the watchman’s cycle bell, as he arrives for his shift. I can hear the coins jingle in my father’s purse, as he lays it down on the table. The shuffle of tins, jars and cans as they are restored to their places. The sound of marbles rolling across the floor in the house above mine. The deep and proud bark of a German Shepherd. The dedicated humming of the ceiling fan. The sound of unfolding bed sheets. Eventually, these symphonies die out, like the embers of a fire. But, despite the silent abyss of the night, I still hear the wild thumping of the heart against my chest, screaming, shouting, roaring, like the waves of an ocean destined to stay raging forever.
The symphony of humankind is not a single note. Listen to the world around you; there moves a collection of diverse beats, changing, throbbing and evolving, in likeness only to the symphonies that make up an orchestra.