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👀 Where's the sound of Silence?
#205 | Quietness has officially gone missing
Last night, I went to a local restaurant with some friends to celebrate their first home! After months and months and months of paperwork, running around government offices and banks, and being scammed by shady lawyers and agents, they FINALLY got the keys to their delightful buttercup-yellow-walled apartment in the suburbs of Kolkata.
As they signed the last round of papers, I looked up where to buy red plastic cups for their housewarming party (yes, I'm that friend).
We went to a Chilli's when they were done, planning to munch on nachos and down a glass or two. But doubt took over the moment we stepped in.
The music - some kind of techno-electronic beat masquerading as ambient music - was deafening.
We moved tables, hoping to get away from the monotonous thumping of it all, but alas. Their sound guy left no corner speaker free.
Our requests to staff fell on deaf ears - their (non) answer: "This is how it is in every Chilli's" [Editor - Not all Chilli's]
Determined to power through, we browsed the menu, halting at the 'boneless chicken wings' (which I misread as "bottomless" chicken wings) and the LIITs.
And then... the "music" stopped. Our relief was misplaced and shortlived because THE. NOISE. JUST. STARTED. UP. AGAIN.
The seconds of quiet made us realise we couldn't take it, and went off in search of another eatery. All's well that ends well.
Except there's no end to sound pollution in sight. Second only to air pollution in terms of negative impacts on public health, sound pollution is a rising problem across the globe, especially in urban areas.
While we can walk out of a restaurant that plays ambient music at headache-inducing levels, it's harder to avoid the noise we're exposed to on our way to and from work and other places. Anyone who lives on arterial roads in a big city has had to make peace with the 24-7 lack of quiet.
Today's thing is Commute, a visual and sonic representation of the noise pollution we're exposed to on our daily commutes. Think of it as a poetic depiction of all the annoying sounds you're forced to listen to on the metro. Through the use of an algorithm that matches gathered decibels with harmonic frequencies, Commute generates melodies based on data collected from metro stations in Paris.
As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.