I’m a musicaholic. I’m probably exaggerating, but you get the idea; I love listening to music. But then again, who doesn’t, right?
But, I ditch my ear phones — when I walk home.
I’m always plugged in at work — makes it easier to ignore a lot of people; all I have to do is stare at the screen like I’m too involved to talk or hear others talking. Drowns out a lot of disturbances too.
Anyway, I don’t plug in when I’m walking home. No, it’s not like a walk in the park, it’s not peaceful, not quiet and it surely isn’t enjoyable. And no, I don’t have company.
Walking in Chennai streets (during peak hours, with the vehicles racing by honking and blaring their headlight into your eyes) is like walking towards death. Not only in terms of accidents, but there’s the risk of hyper tension — which leads to a more painful death.
When I first started using the iPod, I was so excited to walk with my favourite music ringing in my ears. It was funny, to look at people’s faces as they rush to and from buildings with painful expressions. It was a kind of entertaining to watch them all in mute. Sounds a little evil? Well, the music was only self defence — it greatly improved my mood.
But soon enough, things changed. I saw a lot of girls, all plugged in and walking rigidly. They didn’t seem to be enjoying the music, their faces were filled every emotions but joy. It was odd. Perhaps they were afraid to smile when their favourite song played, scared because poeple would judge — that happens quite often, people are always looking for reasons to make others feel like shit.
And then it happened to me too. I don’t care about what others think of me, it happens to me all the time that I’m used to it now.
It bothered me more that I was getting distracted. I was always plugged in; at work, at the gym, and while walking home, soon after. The result: I had stopped actually listening to the music.
I never wanted that.
My mind was filled with other thoughts — general feelings, conversation replays, dinner, family, work, people, more people and people I hate being around.
Practically everything but the music that played in my ears. That hardly happened before, I used to be able to sit at length without thinking of anything. But the music broke that.
It was freedom — like never before. My earphones drowned the rest of the world, and suddenly reality was gone. I didn’t need to make conscious effort to ignore the world, it was easier to get into my own thoughts.
It mightn’t sound so bad, but it made no sense. I plugged in for the pleasure of music, and suddenly I couldn’t enjoy it. What’s the point?
So I decided to ditch the earphones. Now I can enjoy the music for what it is, and still drift away from reality whenever I want to — without using music as a distraction.