Light travels faster than sound. Therefore, we see before we hear. But what we hear breathes life into everything we see and this leaves the final impression; sound becomes the deciding factor of whether we love or hate something. One sees and hears so much everyday that it’s hard to keep track of everything. And yet some sights, some sounds stick in our mind, weaving themselves into our memory and affecting our perceptions.
Certain sounds mean a lot to me because of the images they conjure up in my mind and what they remind me of. I really like the sound of sizzling samosas and kebabs in the kitchen in Ramadan Being a food-lover, naturally, this sound makes me happy. But during Ramadan, it means the nearing of the time for Iftar and that has a magical quality of its own. The gentle crackle and pop when opening crisp bags is another sound that I have grown up with and is a pleasant reminder of little things that make me happy. Then the ice-cream man’s familiar jingle is a sound that has become a part of all of our lives and I often find myself wondering where he is whenever I don’t hear the cheerful little sing echoing in my neighborhood.
When I think of nature, the first sound that I always think of, is the pitter-patter of raindrops on my car’s roof and the deep rumbling of thunder. These could easily be two of my favorite sounds, mainly because they alert me of the coming of the other. Rain to me symbolises rebirth, renewal, a fresh start and another chance. And thunder makes me think of greater forces at work in the Universe – things invisible to our eyes, that are serving an essential purpose. The whooshing sound of the wind in my ears, when I stick my head out of the car window, is another unique sound that humbles me and somehow makes me feel like a bird, and a free bird at that.
Then there are common, everyday sounds, that people either take for granted or think they understand the significance of completely (you know those wanna-be weirdos who think they know all the secrets of the world?) But these sounds mean the world to me. The gentle and solitary plucking and strumming of guitar strings is in close competition with raindrops for the title of my favorite sound. Guitars, violins and pianos all bring to surface images of beauty and sensitivity in the middle of the mess of the modern world.
And this may sound narcissistic – but I love the sound of my own voice at times. Sometimes, some notes, some lyrics, some words, some epigrams – they all just turn out sounding so.. good!
I also love the sound of pencil tips lightly scratching on paper and the gentle, dry rustling of pages when they are turned. They remind me of reading and writing – two of my favorite occupations – and it is the sheer simplicity of them that is so dear to me. The clicking sound keyboards make while I am typing feverishly, caught in some struggle to express a seemingly brilliant idea, is an old favorite of mine. It amuses me how satisfied this sound makes me feel, especially since as a little girl I dreamed of typing up articles to send to well-known magazines and newspapers, and basically being all intellectual-like.
Then there is also the tinkling of a xylophone. It sounds so strange and unearthly to me but it makes me think of simpler times, more innocent times. And ah – the sound of the ocean waves! The beautiful beachy melodies, consisting of crashing waves, the occasional seagull cry and lone voices thrown by the wind. And it excites m; the effect all of it can have on me. Such motion and flurry produces such a sense of calm and serenity in me, making secluded beaches wonderful paces to think.
And to top it all off, I believe there is such a thing, as the sound of silence and it is one of the most unnerving and most wonderful sounds this world of ours has to offer.