It is 9am on 2 April, and it is an absolutely stunning Delhi morning.
Ever since lockdown, the skies have been a tantalising, deep piercing blue. Day after day, we have these gorgeous clear skies.
Ever since lockdown, and the resultant drop in traffic, you can hardly make yourself heard, what with all that continuous, joyous sound of birdsong – and yes indeed, how wonderful is THAT statement, in this otherwise mindlessly noisy city?!
I have railed over the years, here in this blog and to anyone who cares to listen, about noise pollution in India, and in Delhi in particular.
Take traffic for example – here, at least in the part of Delhi where I live, people sound their horns, as though it is a required, integral part of driving.
Noise is everywhere.
I live a couple of houses away from DPS (Delhi Public School) whose parents/staff not only completely block the traffic at school opening & closing, but they park on all the pavements with impunity.
The school also broadcasts assemblies and sports days through loud speakers, deafening the neighbourhood.
On one occasion when I called (for the nth time) to ask them to lower the volume of their loudspeakers, I was put straight through to the Principal.
“Sorry, my dear” she said, “let me just close my door so I can hear you over the noise.”
She had the grace to turn down the loud speakers.
So, yes, back to the here & now. To this locked down Covid-19 world of ours.
The pin drop silence – other than those crazy noisy birds! – is a joy to be savoured.
It is relaxing, and it definitely lowers the stress of living in this city.
Like so many people, I am enjoying the photos from around the globe, of nature quickly reclaiming the streets of our cities.
There are goats wandering through the Welsh city of Llandudno.
Fish are back in the canals of Venice.
Coyotes are wandering through San Francisco.
We have seen civets and nilgai on Indian city streets, and today there was footage of a peacock strutting its stuff on Mumbai’s Hughes Road, which, even when we lived close by there, over 20 years ago, was crazy busy.
Love, love, love the fact that nature has moved in to reclaim the streets in such a short time.
Delhi’s toxic pollution levels have plummeted, our air is actually clean and safe to breathe. I guess that means traffic and construction are more to blame, than those Punjabi farmers and their stubble burning?
I feel that there is SUCH a chance here for us all, across the globe, to realign and recalibrate, but will this opportunity be taken?
From all the social media chatter, one hopes so.
Everyone else appears to love the quiet, and the clean air, and the birds and the animals wandering around the cities.
But when I hear a lone car or bike roaring down my empty street, horn blaring away, I begin to doubt whether habits really can change, at least here in Delhi.
I realise that our civic fathers truly have a lot on their plate, life and death stuff, but if only this down time could also be used to start sensitising people for the eventual return to normality.
Wouldn’t it be great to see a campaign, urging us all to extract the positives from this horrible mess?
So that we all restart our lives with a quieter, more balanced world?