India is in the middle of a day-long “Janta Curfew” or “People’s Curfew”.
All over the country, everything is closed down.
As in everything.
No one is out on the streets.
It is quite extraordinary.
There are photos galore on social media – from authorised journalists, from people filming from their balconies – of a totally quiet country, of a country of empty streets.
Mumbai’s Marine Drive – empty.
The Worli SeaLink – empty.
Delhi’s Connaught Place – empty.
For such a phenomenally noisy country like India, where there is hardly ever silence, where there are people on the go 24/7, where there is non-stop traffic…these are truly amazing scenes.
What is even more remarkable in my ‘hood is that it is TOTALLY SILENT.
No sounds from TVs blaring out, no conversations from open windows.
No loud music playing.
All I have heard all day is birdsong:
It is so strange, borderline unnerving, that I could a-l-m-o-s-t do with a little noise, to ground me, as it were.
To reassure me that I am, after all, in one of the noisiest, most crowded cities on earth.
Remind me of these words, will you at 5pm?
When he addressed the nation on Friday night, Mr. Modi asked for noise at 5pm today.
“The prime minister then called on Indians to come to their windows and balconies at 5pm on Sunday to display their support for healthcare workers. “We will clap our hands, beat our plates, ring our bells to boost their morale and salute their service,” he added.”
This is SO derivative of the scenes we have seen in Italy and Spain, where the crisis has been raging for weeks. Such a Made-for-Social-Media 5 minutes.
Our health care workers don’t need noise.
They need hospital beds, they need ventilators, they need masks.
But India will give them noise, I’m sure.
For the record, I have loved the sound of silence all day long.
Stay safe, everyone.