We celebrated Holi, the festival of colours, on the 2nd of this month. Students in our university town enjoyed themselves with exuberance. We saw many of them drenched in colours. From behind our home we heard music. It was gala time for them, but for us that music was noise. We thought it was unbearably loud and could not appreciate it. We remember the music of earlier days when the lyrics were beautiful and the music touched the heart and has remained there till now.
On the night of the 3rd a Yakshagana prasanga (a dance drama) was performed in the ground just opposite our house. It was a night-long programme. It started at 9.30 and ended at 5 AM the next morning. We did not think of this as noise but for many it might have been so. The music in Yakshagana is not a subdued one. For two whole days there was ‘music’ all around us!! I woke up on Sunday morning to a silent world. There was a stillness around us with not even the chirping of birds. The silence was welcome. It reminded me of those moments when we would sit on the western side of our hill and watch the sun set on the Arabian sea far away. The setting sun and the gentle breeze created a peaceful atmosphere.
But there is a different type of stillness which is something I would never like to experience. Some years ago I used to go to the cancer ward of the children’s hospital and spend some time with the children and their mothers. It was a different world. There was a little girl who sat very still. She never talked, and that silence hurt me. She must have been suffering great pain in silence. I waited long to see some emotion in her face, but in vain. That stillness seemed very unnatural in a person so young. Then that cancer ward closed as the Oncologist left. I don’t know what happened to that child, but that silence still haunts me.
But of many kinds,
And they speak a language,
We have to listen with open hearts,
To understand not only the black and white but all its colours.” (Sidlak poetry)