Did you know that just like Facebook, there is a huge worldwide community, bigger than most countries, of annoying people? I’m serious. I’ve seen them in action. In fact sometimes I feel I even belong, but that’s a deeply personal sentiment and out of bounds for this discussion.
Anyway, a common thread of bizarre stupidity binds people of this community, which transcends geographical boundaries, borders, religions and culture. Their primary, sometimes only, purpose of existence is to drive others crazy, through the use of innovative, unusual means. They mostly achieve their aim.
Last week, I bumped into Chaddhaji who’s well qualified to be the regional head of this community. Now, in a cruel joke played by destiny, he happens to be a neighbour and I’ve known him for as long as I’ve known the definition of idiocy. So, I was already prepared for some extraordinarily boring talk. But, this time he had a strange weapon to torture. Something I wasn’t prepared for. Sound. Yes, you got it.
He had developed the art of interspersing an utterly meaningless conversation with the strangest of grunting sounds. And, he made this weird sound after every second sentence. Worse than what Maria Sharapova makes when her life depends on the third set.
A deep guttural sound that would distract you from all things logical and make you want to end lives, your own, or that of the perpetrator. I was very alarmed and asked Chaddhaji if he was unwell, secretly hoping that he’ll attribute this to the starting symptoms of a throat disorder whose only cure is to move to the hills. But he said he was fine.
Well, I wasn’t, and neither were people in the distance of two kilometres. I came back, did some research with a close friend, Google, and lo, he knew before I did that out of all the annoying things in the world, sound comes right at the top. True to my tendency of writing the most meaningful and earth-shatteringly eye opening stuff in this column each week, I decided to put together a list of the most annoying sounds ever.
And no, I’m not including the usual mosquito buzzing in the ear or nails being scratched on the blackboard variety of irritating sounds, here. I’m mentioning the new-age irritants that can cause ear-drums, and brain cells to shatter with simultaneous precision.
1. Car alarms: A few years back, some genius invented the auto-locking, burglar alarm for our precious-than-life cars. We were so impressed that now we could central lock our cars just by bending 178 degrees north from our balcony and pressing a single button.
Just imagine, not long ago was the time when daddies shouted at mummies and the chunnu munnus after every ride and asked them, ‘tune apna door lock kiya?’ No more hassles. Then some genius decided to add ‘features’ to this invention. Soon we had alarms to go off not only when the doors remained unlocked or if someone tried to open them with a key, but also while reversing the car and even when the naughtiest kid in the mohalla decided to perch on the bonnet and strike a pose.
And as if this wasn’t enough, some genius then decided to provide ‘variety’ to the sounds made by these alarms. So now you have a police siren, a musical siren, and the worst — that shrill, non-stop peun peun peun sound that goes off suddenly, mostly without provocation, and refuses to stop till the proud owner rushes out of the shower or wherever else he is, bends at 178 degrees north and presses the remote.
In most cases, the alarm of another nearby car goes off exactly three minutes after this. Conspiracy, you see. And you know what, some buffoons have a reversing alarm that actually speaks. “This car is reversing. Please stay away.” I so want to shout out, “This driver deserves a slap. Please ask him to come out.” Ugh.
2. Whining kid: Dekho yaar, I adore kids. Sometimes even other than mine. And I mostly love all kinds of sounds kids make. So, don’t take me wrong and get all emotional here. It’s not me but science that says that out of all the annoying sounds in the world, that of a whining kid is the worst.
Hell to science. I did not believe it one bit, till a few months back when I travelled to the US. In the seat two rows ahead of mine, was a child who I complimented and called ‘cute’ when we boarded the 23-hour flight. Exactly after One hour 23 minutes, I begged the airhostess to open the emergency exit so that I could end my life for paying that compliment. Because that cute creation of God decided to open his mouth, look out of the window and uttered the weirdest sound that resembled ‘Maaaaamy’ but was not because mommy was right next to him. 267 times. Non-stop. No amount of ear-plugging helped. Mouth plugging, I was told, would be termed a criminal offence.
3. Nothing. Can’t you see? There’s no space left. Are you related to Chaddha ji or what?
Sonal Kalra should stop writing this column. Because she’s started churning out anti-calmness rants.
What do you think?