Friday, September 28, 2007

Loudspeakers and the police.

So it is that time of the year when Ganesha pandals are put up and a lot of ruckus is made in his name.

As usual, a function is going on about a kilometer from my parents' home, where I am staying now. The music was so loud that I could not hear myself speak.

As usual, calls were made to the police. Not one, not two, but a dozen. And not just by us, by many of our neighbours.

As usual, it was of no use. [Ok, this is slightly unfair of me. There have been times when the police have gone and switched off the music or lowered the volume].

Anyway, today, this is what happened:

7:30 pm - Call made to local police station, they say they would dispatch a Cheetah (police patrol mobike) immediately.

7:45 pm - No change in situation, another call made. Policeman says that the association has already taken permission and they cannot do anything. When asked whether the permission includes blaring loudspeakers at unspeakable decibels, there is no satisfactory answer. They say that the Cheetah has gone elsewhere, they would dispatch it as soon as it gets back.

8:00 pm - No change in situation. My dad personally goes to where the function is going on, and makes a request to the organizers to lower the volume. They say they will, and dad comes back.

8:05 pm - No change in situation. Just as I put my baby down on the crib, Himesh starts howling, and my baby wakes up bawling.

8:10 pm - My parents decide to call 1-0-0. It is busy. Yes. 100. Busy. This wasn't an emergency, so it is okay. What if there had been a burglar in the backyard? What would I do? "Please wait, Burglar Uncle, 1-0-0 is busy. Let me search the directory for other emergency numbers". How on earth can 100 be busy? Are they nuts? Shouldn't they have enough lines to cover any and all calls originating in this burgeoning city?

8:15 pm - My parents call the DG's office. Policeman answers politely, says he understands, and that permissions don't mean that they can play music so loudly, and says that he will dispatch a Hoysala (Police Patrol 4-wheeler) immediately.

8:45 pm - No change in situation.

9:00 pm - My baby still bawling, I call the local police station. As I start to complain, the policeman says, "Some people are having some entertainment, why should so many of you call and complain". My BP rises. "Can you hear a baby crying? She cannot fall asleep because of the noise. If some people want entertainment, why should others suffer? What are you police for? Please do something!" Policeman's tone changes. "Oh baby not sleeping? Tch Tch... will dispatch a Cheetah immediately". I recognize the tone. Indulgent. I hang up, without much hope.

9:15 pm - No change in situation. Call again to the local police station. Same reply. Wonder how many Cheetahs are bounding about this area, if they are to be believed.

9:45 pm - Put on loud, soothing music to cover the other noise. The baby falls asleep, more out of exhaustion than anything else.

10:00 pm - No change in situation. Another call to police station. Aren't loudspeakers banned after 10 pm? Ah yes, madam, we will dispatch a Cheetah right away.

10:30 pm - Volume slightly lessened.

11:00 pm - Function concluded, and then silence. Golden, golden silence.

Please draw your own conclusions. I'm off to bed.


M said...

well yeah! Nothing new on this one!

We have been victims of loudspeakers in our area either during Aiyappa season. Last Dec, people played loudspeakers at very high volumes. We (a few of us) went and requested the authorities to play in low volumes and not really stop it altogether. At first they did not agree, but subsequently they did. Surprisingly, this Dec they did not play loud music at all. To be precise they would stop all activities after 7pm and during the day too it wasnt one bit disturbing to us! We went again to the authorities to thank them for their understanding.

You get lucky only 'sometimes' but mostly you land up yelling at the police and other 'authorities'. Its a pity!

M said...

I think I forgot to add a few words in between (whats with me!) our area either during Aiyappa season or Ganesh Chaturthi...

read on :-)))

(Am I getting old?!)

sunshine said...

Oh goodness, this was horrible. Incredibly sad. So much for the Little One, and for all of you to take. Sometimes, it all boils down to power play. So much in the name of puja.

Devaki said...

Oh Shruthi, I feel so sorry for the lil one, and poor you, trying to make her sleep! How can people be so insensitive?

We had a major loudspeaker problem in Bombay too. These people would usually find some weird festival in the middle of our exams to play their loud music! If there was no festival for a while, they'd hold a satyanarayan pooja, just to get their periodical fix of loud music.

Even more irritatingly, the music would start with a few token devotional songs (I have all the Sai Baba songs memorized thanks to them), and end up with raunchy filmi music that had no connection to the festival whatsoever!

I don't know about Bangalore, but the people in charge of the loudspeakers in Bombay were pucca goons, useless to reason with them or to expect any help from the police.

Sorry to hog your comment space, but as you can see, this issue really fires me up.

Kadalabal said...

It is pity and there will be no change collections for these functions are made by demand and these functions with loudspeakers may fulfill stomach of some orchestra people. u r lucky it is over at 11 PM may be call for the organisers/team was elsewhere and u r escaped.
sufferers are poor citizens and worst hit are with baby's elderly people
people with illness etc.,
public awareness post good one

Manav said...

Nice one. Im sure this is not only limited to bangalore.

btw, see this, one of my friends. Writes well

Chitra said...

I perfectly agree.....Rajyostava tops my list cause that is when the loudspeakers go on and on for 3 days near my place.....

Ganesh Chathurthi is much more bearable cause the loud speakers go on only for a day.....

But I must admit that the so called organisers have the basic courtesy to switch it off by 10pm.....thanks to the almighty himself for such small mercies.....

Chaitanya Ram said...

Few other reasons of unbearable noise:
- Uncontrolled honking of vehicles in residential areas, especially the call center vehicles at un-earthly hours.
- borewell drilling, through out the night!
- house construction, roof moulding, wood work etc.
- loud speakers on top of religious buildings.
- even the garbage collection vehicle these days sports a speaker playing high-volumne FM songs
- the pandals and the processions.

Solution that won't work: Police
Solution that might work; build sound-proof houses!

Rahul... in City of Dreamz said...

this is so so horrible.. and that times like these u really feel frustrated at what little you can do about it...

well... hope the little one sleeps peacefully now that the visarjan is over...

shark said...

This is simply too much!
And that too playing Himesh's song for Ganesha's aarti is unbearable!

It's going on near my house also for the past 1 week... but thankfully it's 4 roads that side.. so we can hear a faint noise..
But I surely pity the people who live closeby..

Few years back there was a strict rule that they should STOP the program within 10pm and also the decibel levels were supposed to be low unless they conducted the whole fair in an open ground.. I don't remember who was the commisioner then...but it was implemented strictly.

Sandesh said...

OooooooooH Huzooooooooorrrr! on Ganesh Chaturthi?? Hehe! Thats a contradiction!

All they want is collect some money in the name of Ganesha(Dunno how much goes exactly for him!) Rest goes into the organizers pockets.

One idiotic idea yet something to try at that instant was to put on some light music(which the little one likes or can bear) and make her listen to it through an earphone! Make sure that the intensity of this music is audible. Stupid yeah?

When one can't change things, he/she should be ready to change himself is what i feel.

One more thing, if you dont mind, please mention the name of the little one so that we can refer her through name. A shorter one( a nick name would also do, other than little one of course)

Timepass said...

Our old residence was close to a junction where four roads meet and was a frequent host to election and political meetings..You can well imagine the situation when loudspeakers are kept under every single building on the road and keep blaring out songs right from the morning whereas the actual meeting would start only in late evening..On top of that, political rivalry led to frequent meetings being staged so imagine the plight of elderly and sick people and ofcourse little babies..Something needs to be done in this matter.

Rohit said...

One conclusion that I can draw is, you are very diligent time-keeper :)
Anyways, reading you post reminded me of "Welcome to India, Sue" from Rang De Basanti....

rajk said...

In Bombay another major noise-making festival is Navratri. Though I'm a big fan of the dandia- raas and garba, it's a pain when the loudspeakers blare the loud music late in the night...And of course, while on the subject, what about the ear-splitting, heart-stopping fire-crackers during Diwali? They've made Diwali a festival of Noise, not lights!

Shruthi said...

All, thanks for your views! I see that the problem is universal! What can we do about this, any suggestions?

Viky said...

:) Ganesha?
What about Mari Habba? And Diwali crackers? And yes, ayyappa season?

And what about those God-songs in Film-song tunes??

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