Imagine this: Lush greenery all around, a road snaking through the mountains, deep valleys, varieties of flowers and trees that you have never seen before; clean air, beautiful silence, birds chirping, slightly chilly and no traffic. Bliss isn’t it.
And suddenly to pierce your bliss a nasal snaky voice starts crooning in the background “suroooor appka…” instantly tripping you out of your reverie. No I was not dreaming, our taxi driver had decided that this was the perfect time to regale us with his music collection. And there ended my much planned, much sought after trip to Arunachal Pradesh, just in that instant. Has that ever happened to you before?
It has happened to me every single time that I have travelled.
In the second part of my observations as a travelling woman, I am going to write about a topic very very close to my heart: the music of my cab.
The only other grouse I have on an otherwise healthy travelling passion is the drivers choice of music. Yes, on a long distance drive these erstwhile keepers of our luck and wellbeing need to be kept happy but I see no reason why my ears have to be subjected to himesh reshammiya and salman khan and their versions. I mean already in my city life I have a cacophony of sounds surrounding me. I go out for some peace and quiet, as well as to hear the birds, and silence, but no the driver has an agenda of his own.
Of course one has to stay awake and stay alive but why oh why himesh! And that also at 9 in the morning. And then begins the tussle: “bhaiya thoda volume kam karna” kya 8? Vol volume ?
Oh and then on the next speed breaker the volume would go up like the stereo has a life of its own refusing to be silenced! On top of it when the frustration of having an otherwise serene holiday shattered, becomes unmanagable, you get the advice “earplugs laga lo” aargh .
And so on it goes. Maybe, there should be a compulsory, music appreciation course for long distance drivers. But then again, since the music changes according to the state, how will we manage it. Someone going from Haryana to Jaipur could be subjected to haryanvi folk music or rustic punjabi. Or better still a man bent on making an impression might just switch on the latest salman song, to english music which makes you question your own understanding of the language.
Anyway, resigned to my fate I listen to himesh kroon in his nasal voice. Least somewhere he is a success and I know the reason now.
But it also made me reflect. What is music? How is one man’s joy another’s cacophony? How music can unite people across borders, state, nationalities and supposed distinctions of class. And it also made me wonder, do cabs in other South Asian countries have the same problem? I know in Europe people hire cars and drive themselves. Or do some countries have the same experience? Would need to find out…