Accumulations : Sounds from my Travels (part 2)
written by Sandra Alexander & illustrated by Bharat Hegde
It’s been a long time since I travelled, but here’s a collection of the sounds I brought back from the places I’ve been to:
From Ayodhya, the river Sarayu gurgling in the background as the tinkering of construction workers goes on at the ghats; a city being beautified in half, only for its visitors. When I think of new cities being built over the poverty of its people, I think of Ayodhya; the weak gurgle of a dead river.
In Bijapur’s Gol Gumbaz, a 17th century monument, you can press your ears to the wall on one side of the dome, to hear someone else shout your name. The echo of a friend shouting my name loudly, it getting mixed with a hundred other names. On days when I find it hard to figure myself out, I remember that my name was once shouted loudly in the Gol Gumbaz, and a part of its echo might still be ringing there.
From Turkayamjal, a few feet walking across a college campus amidst posters of protests crinkling – a reminder that when things go wrong, there will always be students to start mutinies. The sound of consolation mixed with courage and hope.
The click of a horse’s heels as I am driven in a horse cart in the busy traffic of Jaipur’s pink markets. Like someone clapping loudly at the end of a childhood singing competition; a hope that someone will always appreciate.
Lastly, from Rishikesh, an audio-less memory. The silence of sitting next to the river and writing, a dog named Tommy barking nearby, and kids playing in the water. All of this wrapped up in images and words, soundless. The irony of writing about sounds is this – it makes a sound a memory, a reminder of something else. The audio transcribed as words, converted into images.
Silence - the sound of writing.
Sandra is an urban researcher and writer living in Delhi, who spends most of her time longing for pineapple squash and thinking about the many definitions of what home can be. She finds both, occasionally, at her grandmother’s house in Kerala.
Bharat is a master of no trades and the jack of none. Writing, illustrations and cooking are things he does a little less poorly than other things in his life.