August 25 to 28, 2021: The Sounds of the night

August 25 to 28, 2021: The Sounds of the night. Tells you where you are. Tells your life story, because where one is at any moment is the product of story of the person’s life and that moment will be a part of the story a moment later. Where I am is a part of the story of my life and that story is why I am here now. And the sounds of the night become a part of the story, and as the sounds change the story changes. Or is it the other way around? The sound of the story now is the different constant drone of traffic not far from where I am. Cut through by the crickets that are kicking up a racket. A distant voice of a child in play with others. The sounds of accelerating motorcycles. The dogs near and far. This is the sound where I am now. This is the sound where I was a few weeks ago. Another story from the past. That story has different sounds of the night. All of the ones listed and the additional sound of a night guard of the community night patrol. Clanking of cutlery as someone was finishing up the cleaning of the dishes after dinner. And the sounds of phones ringing. What is fascinating is the fact how little the sounds of my life have changed over the years. Other than the sound of the phone ringing, everything has stayed stable, perhaps the whirr of the fan been replaced by the hum of an air conditioner. Yet, even if the sounds are similar and have not changed, there are subtle differences in how one hears the sounds based on other stories of one’s life. Is there a special happiness in one sound, in one story? Specially when the stories run in parallel. The sound of the crickets in one story is a sweet sound and in another brings aversion. The sound of the nightwatchman in one story merely wakes you up and in another brings joy in knowing where you are. The sounds of the night have become a part of my life. The pandemic seems to have sharpened the senses. When some sounds disappeared from some stories. No sound of traffic after 9 pm. A sound of silence. It tells a story. The sound of trees falling violently and loudly as the evening thunder continues. It tells a story. Sometimes expensive. To me in the end the sounds all disappear, but the story remains, a story that is still going on. A story amongst numerous others whose stories are intertwined with my story. A perturbation in one story casts a ripple through the network of stories that surround mine, or yours. And we are in the time of perturbations. Unknown risks. The stories change with the perturbations. Those sounds change. Some sounds become more pleasing. The sounds of laughter remain the same, but you ask who are you laughing with? This is why I find sounds endearing and terrifying, at the same time. Some sounds foretell a new story. The sound of the workmen hacking through the walls, late into the evening to finish the job on the schedule, or the sound of masonry as the bricklayer closed off an opening in my house. The beginning of a new story. The end of another. Those are the sounds of the night that give us the restfulness of sleep comforted by the sounds. And in those sounds lives the welcoming beckons from the bondhus as WhatsApp notifies, I have a message. At those moments time disappears, and the sounds of the night become the sounds of the morning of new stories. And in the sounds and stories I try to remember what Phil Collins said, that there are “Both sides of the story


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