Mar 2, 2014

The Mocking Bird

A couple of years ago, on a lazy evening, I was watching KBC with some close friends in Gurgaon. Amitabh was shooting questions to a contestant in his unique style - with humor, poise and command. The contestant was fun as well which made the watch entertaining.

Somewhere between the easy and tough set of questions, Amitabh handed over a cheque to the contestant, as he usually does at certain stages of the game - when the background sounds go up, audience applaud and contestants decide whether to face the next set of questions or call it quits.

The contestant chose to move ahead. Background sounds mellowed. Amitabh prepared for asking the next set of questions.

My friends and I were chatting along while watching the show. I asked them if they could hear the birds chirping in the neighborhood. They denied and added that they don't hear a lot of bird chirping in Gurgaon. But I insisted as I could hear it faintly.

Amitabh shot the next question: What is Bharatpur famous for?

"Guys, It's coming from the TV," I said. 

It was probably a part of the sound design - a faint background bird chirping sound to boost the aura of a question related to birds. My friends acknowledged and we wondered if it actually made any difference in the entertainment value.


A few months later, I was at the Bangalore Airport. It was an early morning flight. I was half-asleep. While moving out of the airport, I felt like having a coffee. I spotted a Cafe Coffee Day.

There wasn't much rush in the airport that day. It was decently calm. With weary eyes and a tired body language, I started walking towards the coffee shop.

I heard it then, the bird chirping.

"Oh! They use it at the airports too," I thought. "Probably to sooth the tired travelers," I pampered the logic. "There can't be birds inside the airport anyway," the pampering continued.

I ordered a Cafe Mocha, paid for it and waited at the counter while the coffee was getting ready. It was a neat stall with nice interiors. The coffee arrived after a few minutes. I held the tray and started turning towards a chair. And then I turned back towards the stall.

There it was. A sparrow sitting at the corner of the coffee stall.

Facing away from me. Chirping. Creating an echo of it's sound in the huge airport ambiance.

Mocking me and my unregulated lateral thinking.