View from the Bottom
The plague of the Plugged Ears
The only son of my friend Surat Ali Golondaj came to my office the other day with thin electric wires going all around his head, neck, ears and chest. I was horrified. What was wrong with him? Did he need batteries to function? Had he turned into a Robocop or something? Then I noticed that his ears were totally plugged with small plastic objects and his head kept swaying from side to side as he sat there waiting for his father's gift packet I was to hand over to him. He kept his eyes closed and even smiled occasionally. Was he in some kind of a trance? Failing to keep my curiosity under control for long I asked him why his ears were plugged in and why he was all wired up. Obviously he did not hear me until I waved a piece of paper before his eyes as soon as he had opened them.
The boy pulled the plastic objects out of his ears and scared the life out of me by looking straight into my eyes and grinning like a monster! My friend is not a good looking man but this brat was even uglier! “I am listening to music, uncle. This small thing is a radio I have here in my chest pocket. And these are ear-phones through which the sound goes into my ears. Want to listen to some music? It's really cool.” The brat shook his head like a puppet as he explained the functions of the gadget.
I felt like throwing the paperweight at him but controlled my impulses. “No, no, I do not have the time to listen to your music, I mean your kind of music. I listen to music at home with my ears wide open and not plugged in with some objects that look like dead bugs. Besides, I do not like music to be poured so deep into my ears. I like it coming from a nearby source and entering ever so gently with all its sweetness and mellowness. Do you understand any of this?” I threw up a challenge. Without bothering to give a reply the young brat shrugged his shoulders and sauntered out of the room. I picked up the paperweight but on second thoughts put it back on the table.
So, that was the mystery of the plague of the plugged ears! Ah! I could solve it without having to go to Sherlock Holmes! Everyone I see on the road, inside classrooms, in a shopping mall, on a dentist's chair, in newspaper office, inside cars or C&Gs or taxis, with wires coming out of their ears, are actually listening to music, their kind of music! And it seems to me as if their lives depended on it! It seems as if the music is going away so they must listen to it now, right there, while walking down the pavement! The other day I almost shrieked when I saw this young man crossing a busy road…ears plugged in…eyes closed…head swaying…!!
Music is taking on a totally new dimension on a fast note. I see too much of experimentation with the beautiful tunes that are so close to my heart. Some impudent brats are ripping apart the all time great songs of Bengal and making a mess of it in the name of 'remixing'. But that's altogether a different story. Today we are talking about new gadgets that keep popping up on a regular interval and take us by surprise. It is the era of the wires and our young generation is hooked up very badly.
What more do we have to see in the coming days, I wonder! Maybe babies will be born with all sorts of built in gadgets and they will start singing and dancing instead of wailing and throwing their hands and legs around soon after birth! The era of the built in gadgets!
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