Asia can be a sensory cacophony… Mumbai means living with an everyday decibel level that you just come to accept. Even the background sounds that fade from consciousness are ever present – crows, pigeons, hawkers, traffic, construction, music or TVs blaring, animated conversations at all hours… there is always something day or night.
Average noise levels of our city are at least triple that of your normal North American city. Throw in a festival or two and you can see decibel levels of 140 and above (let’s just say that far worse than jumbo jets taking off!)
If in doubt, check out some of the articles in AcuosticBlok on the Rising Noise Pollution in Mumbai.
Or take a tour with the Sounds of Mumbai for a sampling of our city’s everyday sounds.
Which is what makes our travels so remarkable… my partner and I both are struggling with the silence!
Our first stop in London was straight to a friend’s home, dinner and then a deep sleep in their beautiful home. We were immediately struck by the silence of their backyard with just a few birds calling and the laughter of their kids playing.
Whereas what greeted us on landing in Vancouver was a defeaning silence. We were staying right downtown – typically the noisiest part of most cities. Not so for us!
Our host’s home had sound-proof glass windows so the construction across the street was barely audible until one opened the balcony door. Even their wee dog was quiet 99% of the time – except when someone new entered the room when she declared her primacy over her domain in a few short sharp yaps.
Next up was Winnipeg where we could hear the road construction from some 10 blocks away, someone was mowing the grass a few blocks away and it seemed like it was happening in our back yard! Even the light tap of my keyboards seemed terribly loud… each small activity amplified.
When we landed at my partner’s sisters home… you could already see the sonic ‘desi’ influence as both the radio and TV were on at the same time – one merrily pumping out pop music and the other having the ping pong sounds of the tennis match. Overlaying this was the happy chirp of their two pet budgies.
I begin to realise why folks find places like India a sensory overload if you are accustomed to such quiet environs versus the average decible levels found in Mumbai…
And appreciate I’ve definitely become more accustomed to the noisiness of India than the peace and quiet of Canada.
Does anyone else notice how the sounds of places differ?