Grabbed earphones, stuffed my bag with a wrapped sandwich and a packet of salt chips for lunch, snapped few pictures of the day’s outfit, left some parting messages and a stream of flowing jazz for my girl and rushed out of the house and into the car; parked right in front of the main gate with my dad hurling sweet epithets of “Get into the damn car! It’s 8:20, you moron!” reaching partially into my ears as I plug my headsets (after untangling them for a decade) into them and tucked it deep into the ear lobes and pull ed out my phone; thwarted with my careless lashes and heavy drop downs and open the car door, slam it close, also shutting the strong winds that has destroyed my hair completely. Perfect.
Now, adjusting the seat to fit in my long hairy legs, exposed in my shorts, I play the song that I have been playing on loop ever since it has come out, and waiting for it to give me a ride on to an escape land before my dad takes this glorious opportunity to acquaint me with how unprivileged I am of his services and how internet banking can never be as safe as his ‘Get your ass up and wait till you die’ services of a manual banking.
Finally the song croons into my ears. The soft voice, the overwhelmingly ethereal music, and the the lyrics that makes me want to spread my arms wide open and dance as roses and sunflowers drop down from the sky and….wait. What is my dad doing in my land at the foot of the chocolate pond? Why can I still hear my dad muttering from my side? Hold on. What? No no no no. Not now. My right headset isn’t working. No no no no. My left one is working perfectly. No no no no no!
I plug out my right headset and smash it against my hands, rub it on my thighs, hoping some friction will heat my headset back to life but all I get instead is gentle creeks from the vocals of the artist.
After a minute of mental breakdown and 30 seconds of existential crisis, I put myself together and I decide to continue battling, like a soldier who lost his leg or hand. The right leg or hand.
A new song plays now, the beautiful melody thrusted into my ears, very underwhelming now as it is overpowered by the clamours of the people, the incessant honks from the frustrated bike drivers under the hot sun and the drivers in the AC like the one beside me. Tch. Tch. The chants of the protesters filling my ears and bursting my head. The howling of a pack of dogs being taken away in a GHMC truck. The clangor of bangles of the lady carrying her baby outside the window, begging. The road rage of the biker with two children on his scooter over the auto wala filled the busy road with his loud voice, shouting “LB nagar, Kothapet, Chaitanyapuri!” A retro Hindi song playing from an old radio owned by a Muslim man sitting at the pavement and selling the books for second hand. The chatters and giggles of a group of girls trying to cross the road with much excitement. The wailing of the child, neatly dressed in his school uniform in front of the ‘School Ahead’ sign board. A thud from the sandbags being dumped at the construction site…….
A moment of lull, as we passed through the tunnel and before my brain could adjust to the hush…
“Did the sound of your music get lost in the noises of the masses, kanna?” whispered my dad with a sarcastic tone and a smile on his face as I looked down on my lap to find my headsets lying there since 20 minutes as I was caught up in gazing and listening to the noises I was too occupied to listen, the visuals I was too lost to observe, the reality I was too foreign to live. But meh, I like my world of roses and sunflowers, chocolate pond and candy mountains and everything my escape land harboured. So, I got out of the car swinging my bag and putting my broken headsets back to the place it belonged; in my damn ears.