A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

To traumatise

Posted by Pepper on August 29, 2014

My sister has been rather ill for a week now. It all started with a bout of nausea in the local train. We were on the way to her college to complete the admission formalities for the new course she’s begun. Before we could fully asses her condition, she began throwing up. Fellow passengers were kind enough to help us out by giving us a bottle of water, a plastic bag for her to throw up in and some valuable suggestions on how to counter the nausea. Unfortunately, nothing worked and she puked the entire day. In the train, in the cab, in her college. That was a bad day.

Anyway, we attributed it to indigestion and since she seemed to be getting back to her usual self by evening, we didn’t think it necessary to check with a doctor. Then it happened again. I got a call from her college day before yesterday. They told me the sister was throwing up violently and I had to go and pick her up because they didn’t think she was fit enough to travel all by herself. Thankfully, her college is not too far from my office. I found myself in a cab within minutes. When I saw her, I realised she was extremely weak and dehydrated. She was having a hard time even taking a few steps.

We took her to a doctor immediately. Her BP was very low! The doctor asked her to take complete rest for the next 4 days. Along with that, she gave the sister a round of medicines that she asked her to take quite vigilantly. Despite the medicines, she developed a high fever by night. And it has been there ever since.

Yesterday was her birthday. My little baby sister turned 22! But due to her spells of dizziness, vomiting, low BP, fever and weakness, we had to cancel all our grand celebratory plans. Nevertheless, we sneaked her out for dinner, ignoring everybody who objected to the idea. Unfortunately, I regretted the decision as soon as the sister complained of stomach ache after ingesting just a little bit of food. We were in a restaurant in the mall. The restroom was on the other end of the mall. She said she wanted to throw up all of a sudden and we had to run all the way across the mall to get to the loo. Quite a harrowing experience.

We got home as soon as we could. By then she had such a high temperature, she was burning. When we reached, we found out that my dad was not very well either. He was quite feverish himself. And today was the day my mom was not home. Sigh. Anyway, we tucked the two sick people in bed. I have realised one thing about myself. When people around me are sick, I am overcome by this desire to soothe them. I do all I can to comfort them, be it sponging them with an ice pack, stroking their hair or settling them in bed.

The sister was unable to sleep because of a bad headache. So I sat beside her, massaging her temples with Vicks Vaporub and alternately sponging her body with a cold piece of cloth. She fell asleep with great difficulty. It was past midnight by the time I turned in for the night.

And then it began. At 1.10 am to be precise. A *LOUD* noisy procession with a *BLARING* musical band. It took my just asleep brain a few minutes to register the source of the noise. What the hell was it? And then I realised. Ganpati. It was the first day of the festival and they were bringing in the idol.

I was livid. It was past 1 am. And these fuckers were passing through an entirely residential lane. (Yes. For the first time ever, I am not going to watch my language on the blog. I am *that* angry.) How dare they subject all the sleeping residents to this blasting music? Did they have to screech and dance at this hour? Did they have to bring the idol at this time? Did they have to have such a noisy band? Did they have to pass through residential lanes? DID THEY?

I walked in to the other room, and as suspected, my sister was in acute discomfort. She was clutching her temples and twisting in pain. My father was tossing in bed. I have two sick people in the house who had just managed to fall asleep with great difficulty. This was so not done.

I waited for five minutes, hoping the procession will pass. It didn’t. I continued pacing back and forth in our living room for a good twenty minutes. Finally, I stepped out in the balcony to see what was going on. There they were. Dancing in front of the cart that carried the Ganesh idol. The procession didn’t seem to be in any rush to pass. They were dancing in the same spot, barely inching forward. If you insist on disturbing me and passing through my lane at this hour, can’t you atleast be considerate enough to leave fast? Do you have to dance and stay rooted to the same spot for a bleddy hour? From my balcony, I could see other residents waiting angrily by their windows, hoping this would end soon.

When I had had enough, I twisted my dishaveled hair into a ponytail and slipped into my flip flops. I decided I was going downstairs and confronting the assholes. Just as I was stepping out of the door, Mint grabbed hold of my hand. He told me it was a large mob. How many people would I single-handedly take on? What if they were linked to a political part? What if they were dangerous? What was I planning on telling them anyway? How would I accomplish anything? I had no answers to his questions.

So I stepped back in and thought some more. I decided to contact the police. This was something I have never done in my life, so I was a little apprehensive. I pulled out my laptop and googled for the right numbers. I found this page that dealt with ‘Noise Pollution Complaint in Mumbai’. There was an option to send an SMS, but I wanted speedy action and I wasn’t sure that was the best way to go about it. So I called the Police control room directly.

The lady at the other end was very helpful, but since my surrounding was so ridiculously noisy, I could barely hear what she was saying. I blurted out to her my problem in the best Hindi I know. I was so angry at that time, I wasn’t sure if my blabber made any sense. I just remember saying words like ‘too much noise’, ‘loud band’ ,’almost 2 am’, ‘sick people at home’.

She asked me my exact address. I had a tough time explaining to her where exactly the procession was. The lane they were passing from has no name. Not that I know of. So I gave her my apartment address and told her they were exactly below my building since almost an hour. She said she would send a Police vehicle in less than 20 minutes.

I hoped the miscreants would have to deal with the police. The band and the loud beat of drums continued to pierce through the night. Twenty minutes were up and the noise showed no signs of abating. I was wondering if my call to the police would have any effect at all. Finally, after 35 minutes of making the phone call, the band came to an abrupt stop.

I rushed to the balcony to find out what had caused them to stop. I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that the cops were here and were giving the jerks a hard time. Unfortunately by then, the procession had moved further ahead and I didn’t have a clear view of what was going on. I would have to live without knowing how it ended.

I walked back to bed, thankful for the precious silence that had crept on so suddenly. While I have always loved the spirit of the Ganpati festival, to say I am disappointed with the way some people treat it is an understatement. How many laws can you break in the name of religion? How inhuman and inconsiderate can you be to people who are aged and sick? How much more can you harm the environment? I am too scared to find out.

54 Responses to “To traumatise”

  1. Santulan said

    Ganpati processions, and then Garba.. They just go on and on with those big speakers without caring for how much trouble they create for people.. particularly in cases like this when you have ailing people, or people who just want to sleep on time

    • Pepper said

      Will you be surprised to know that I actually defend Ganpati and Garba celebrations? But in my entire stay in this city (23 yrs), I have never experienced such ruckus at 1 am.

  2. radha said

    welcome to mumbai and ganapathy πŸ™‚ I dont know if anything can be done. If at all possible leave the city for 10 days . We have a house with a wall and a gate and a watch man and yet its a pain. we celebrate puja on day one at home and then simply lock up and leave. schedule our vacations for these 10 days.
    But i heard nowadays the cops are responsive and .rules are tight about how long they can play music etc.,
    I just thank ganesh baghwan that he has graced us with the capacity to avoid this mess.

    • Pepper said

      It’s so sad. Though like I said, I like the 10 day celebrations. Even the bands! But I wish they avoided residential lanes and stuck to celebrating within permissible limits. And oh yes, I wish they didn’t immerse those toxic idols either.

  3. I hope they both get better soon! For good measure, get your sister’s bloodwork or path lab tests done. Just to rule out infections. It is the monsoon after all.
    I hate those idiots who totally spoil ganpati by such loud and indecent nonsense. I am not sure why Ganpati was being brought in at 1 am! Unless they are following PST. :-/

  4. Bhavani said

    Sorry to hear Pepper. I totally agree with you on this. There was absolutely no need to create so much noise in the middle of the night in the name of celebrating. Sometimes I wonder who are these people who are so insensitive to people’s needs and comforts. And I am so glad Mint stopped you….sometimes things done on impulse especially when you are angry might not always be right though your intentions were….I hope this is controlled peacefully by the Police by giving some strict Timings for the noise levels…

    Hope your sister and Dad get better soon…wishing them a very speedy recovery..

    Take care..


  5. aisha said

    Did Drs do blood tests for your sis & dad ?
    I hope they feel better soon , they shd be in hospital taken care of by professionals, who can monitor their vital signs give them medicine , rather then at home ,which would only stress the caregivers like you more:-)
    You could also stay over there with them in the hospital , you would know help is just around the corner or in this case just a button away πŸ™‚

  6. Ten said

    Sorry to hear about your sister’s and Dad’s illness. Hope they feel better soon. My sister has migraine attacks which cause severe headache and a puky feeling. I can’t bear to see my sister in that state, so I know how you must feel.

    As for the noisy festival celebration, been there in Mumbai, done that. One of the worst times in student life is having exams the next day and not being able to focus on revising for the exams or getting a good night’s sleep because of the loud cacophony of horrible music playing outside through the night, for the entire world to hear. I still do not get why so many Indians equate loud noise with religious festival celebration. Are the gods deaf that they need to hear everything on loudspeakers?

    The lack of civic sense, noise and air pollution and the misogyny – some of the strongest reasons I left the country.

    • Pepper said

      I’ve been there. Had exams and had to face blasting music. It sucks beyond words.

      And well, your last statement. It hit me so hard, I can’t tell you.

  7. I am fuming here. I lost all respect for this festival as I grew older. I still remember that day. The idol was a ganpati on a bajaj scooter wearing sunglasses. The traffic wouldn’t move for hours. The procession was full of drunk idiots. The priests and organisers were manhandling people who wanted to bow. The song blaring was sarkaylo khatiya jaada lage.
    This cannot be devotion.

    How is your sister now? Is it food poisoning? Pass on my hugs please! Hope she recovers soon…

  8. D said

    oh man..I can completely relate to it. I have experienced this several times especially since the time K has come in our lives. I spend one crazy hour putting her to sleep and then some random religious procession would pass by, and my baby is all up and wailing. I can understand how annoying it must have been for you….In Delhi there is a rule at least for residential areas. There cannot be loud music after 11 pm …infact now you cannot have wedding arrangements done in residential areas….however, suburbs like Gurgaon are still oblivious to such laws…Hope your sis and dad are better now…

  9. Smitha said

    I can never understand why people like to make so much noise and commotion, all in the name of religion? Which god would condone troubling others? And yet in the frenzy of celebration, values like consideration for others is completely overlooked.

    How is your sis and father now? I hope they recover soon. Hope this is not a regular feature through the festival days. Hugs!

    • Pepper said

      Sis and dad are okay now. Since it is religion, they believe they have a right to break all laws. How can you stop somebody who is only being religious? Bah!

  10. I agree 100% with you! People break too many laws in the name of religion. Sadly, all the noise pollution is created not out of devotion, but out of a desire to provoke people, especially those belonging to other religious groups.

  11. Ruzbeh said

    Hi, Glad to know that you used the information on lawgic.info to complain and that your call did have some effect.

    I would like to know:
    1. Did you ask for a complaint number? Were you given one?
    2. What area of Mumbai is this?

    This data is being used to map out chronic noise pollution areas.


    • Pepper said

      Are you associated with Lawgic in anyway? Just curious.
      Nope, I didn’t ask for a complaint number and I am not sure if the lady on the other end tried giving me one. Like I said, I could barely hear her because of the crazy noise in the background.
      These are the western suburbs. I am not sure I’d want to reveal the exact area on the blog, but if this data helps you in anyway, I don’t mind sending you a mail on the id you’ve mentioned.

  12. Jazz said

    That sucks, I’m praying your sister and father feel better soon.

  13. Totally agree. I have the same complaints with Diwali. All the noise and air pollution. I think in the last few decades the real meaning behind these festivals have gotten lost somewhere amidst all the pomp & fanfare. It’s very sad indeed.

  14. How are your sister & father now?

  15. Arch said

    All in the name of religion.Annoys me to no end.

    While I sit far away from home wondering why there is no chaos or colour here, stuff like these make me feel much better. Hope your folks are fine now.

  16. Prachee said

    I can so much relate to this issue…they start the blaring music at 9.30 pm and all sort of filthy songs..!! Good that you called the police.

    Can you imagine…sometime back, at one of the mall I n Thane, there was a “campaign against noise pollution” in which YO Yo Honey Singh was going to perform at 10pm, and they started playing his songs at full volume since 7 pm onwards…!!!

    BTW take care of sister, hope she is feeling better now..

  17. R's Mom said

    Aiyo…hope sister is better now..

    And the procession…dont ask Pepper..it was horrid in our lane…horrid!! They got in the Ganpati at 1 in the night…disturbing EVERYONE..and Saturday’s viserjan was even worse..every 3 minutes there was one passing by!!!

    • Pepper said

      Really? I am quite shocked cos I have never experienced this earlier. The noise dies by 11 pm AT MOST. I thought this was a one of case..but now your comment tells me otherwise.

  18. Smita said

    I love the celebrations but I hate that we overdo it.
    I hate that we forget that we are inconveniencing people.
    I hate that we forget that God would never want all this nautanki.
    I hate that in order to appease the God (whose existence we aren ot sure about) we forget humanity and people who really exist.


    Hope sister is better

  19. Deepa said

    Get well soon dear S and same to your Dad pepper. Will write to you soon. What an awful way to be ill with noise blaring in your immediate vicinity and how painful to be unable to really go down and tell the offenders to effing(me being bad here) shut up!

  20. I hope both your Dad and sister are better now!

  21. Deboshree said

    Hope your sister and Dad are doing better now.
    I can understand how irritating it must have been. Some people spoil the entire spirit of the festival by being such inconsiderate pests.

  22. Deepa said

    How are your sister and dad doing?? Please let us know. The symptoms that you shared are worrying.

    • Pepper said

      Thanks for checking. Yes, the symptoms had the doctors worried as well. But the reports show there is nothing very worrisome and they’re both almost fully recovered now.

  23. Ranjini said

    You should have poured a bucket of water on their heads from the comfort of your balcony! πŸ™‚ Some people ‘need’ help waking up.

  24. Kavs said

    Hope your sis and Dad are well and recovering fast. I’d be livid too if I were you. I don’t know what to say – for every good thing I hear about us, there are at least a hundred other stories like yours and I lose all hope for a better tomorrow. And, to say I was a hopeless optimist not a long time ago.

  25. Arrghh!! What all is done in the name of God!
    The irony of it all …even Ganesha would have cringed in the noise.

    Hope your sister feels better very soon. Keep her hydrated ( sipping water/juice always) whatever the case. Take care ( you too).


  26. Rachna said

    I am so tired of this unnecessary noise that we have to tolerate come festivals. I don’t know what these people get by inconveniencing others. A long time ago when my elder son was just a few months old and we were in Ahmedabad, this bunch of morons went berserk early morning around 4ish bursting crackers. They put those mirchi ladis that go on and on. My son was sick and the baby started howling loudly. He anyway had such a tough time sleeping. My husband went and requested those guys but to no avail. They said it was their New Year and no one could stop their celebration. This country is filled with such loons. Hope your sister and dad are better now. And really good on you that you complained. I think next time I will as well.

    • Pepper said

      Goodness! The poor baby. I’d be so, so furious. 4 am? Why do they do such things!
      And yes, you must complain. I was surprised by how helpful the lady was on the phone.

  27. Jack Point said

    Hop your sister and father have recovered.

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