The Stinking Attack of Nostalgia

It was Saturday morning. I was in a Cab traveling to a distant part of the city. The Driver had put the radio On and it was playing songs in Kannada in very low volume. By now, I have developed a mental system of phasing out sounds on the road which I cannot easily comprehend out of my mind. Then the advertisements started, which are sometimes in English which I understand, sometimes in Kannada which I try to understand and sometimes in Hindi which is my mother tongue. And sometimes they’re in a combination of all the 3 languages, which nobody understands.

Then came a public service announcement commercial about Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (Cleanliness Mission by Government of India) which was as ignored as we ignore the heaps of garbage on the road. But the advertisement ended with a small jingle in Hindi. I will put the link to the song at the end of this post.

And that hit me. Let me give some context first:

Back at home, in North India, and I assume it happens everywhere there, we get a garbage truck in the morning. The peculiar thing about this truck is that instead of knocking people’s door and asking them if they have any garbage to dispose of, the truck plays this song in a continuous loop. So, when you are at your home relaxing nonchalantly in the morning, first you hear a faint sound of this song. That hints us to keep relaxing but stay prepared for the truck, as it would be coming towards your house soon. Thanks to Doppler Uncle, this sound keeps increasing as it approaches nearer and nearer. Only when it is 100-200 m from your house, you actually get to hear the words of the song. And only then you need to get up, collect the bins and hand over to the municipal people your precious garbage which you held dear for the whole night. Then the truck goes over to the next street and the song becomes fainter and fainter and eventually diminishes. This has been happening since last 2-3 times of my home visit. So it had become a daily ritual of hearing that song and dumping the garbage till I was home. (At least this much I can do at home, right?)

garbage truck

After coming back down to South India, I forgot this song. Days passed. Months passed. This song went into the recycle bin of my mind. And then yesterday, I heard it again. Even though, I heard only a line. But it hit me. The stinking nostalgia of days at home hit me. Sigh. Weird, but true.

What is the most weird thing that makes you think of your home?

The human mind is an amazing thing of beauty. It creates filters to push irrelevant things out. But it leaves some holes, wide enough to bring your memories of the past back when you least expect. We all have senses which crave the sounds, smells, and colors of our home. Of course, no one wants to remember stinking garbage trucks for that. For me, it was the jingle rather.

Here’s the song by the way: