FEBRUARY 1, 2010
The night I landed in Melbourne, I was greeted by my friends, my sister and Lolo. We screamed and hugged and created some noise at the airport. My arrival was much awaited . I was happy I'd brought some noise with me. After a cup of coffee at Nats, Lolo and I drove to Rosanna, the suburb I would adopt as home, away from home.
Getting up in the morning, I felt a bit strange. Strange because I found myself in a sea of silence, so quiet that I could hear the birds chirp, the soft breze blowing... I had to feel at home so I yelled, "ka-ba-ree, ka-ba-ree wallah, ees-steel wallah.." into Lolo's ears. Now, these are the sounds I have been waking up to for the past 15 odd years of my life. They are in Lolo's words, the "harry wallahs", the junk and cloth collectors in exchange for some paltry sum of money and steel untensils. We, in India, love collecting steel untensils. We graduate from collecting aluminium to steel. It's a progression chart.
I am now slowly learning to cope with silence. I told my old neighbour Lynn how I love the sound of her grandchildren when they come over sometimes. She lifted an eyebrow. I explained I lived in a place where I could hear my neighbours discuss everything and even smell what they were cooking. I said I miss noise and smell. She is getting slowly used to what I think she would call as my idiosyncrasies. She is nice. She calls me for a tour of her kitchen garden everytime she sees me, never invites me for tea but gives me zuchinni and tomatoes from her garden. I called her for tea and I discussed sports netball, golf and tennis - with a 75-year old woman. We did not discuss her daughters-in-law.
I tell myself, this is orientation time. I have to bear the silence of the place and get used to missing every detail of my life in Netaji Nagar - and the abundance of noise and neighbours.