The night is yet to be over, the morning just on the coast. A banshee cry screeches through the silent dawn. Neither an Irish folklore nor an urban legend, but an invocation of the gods where we ordinary mortals are the collateral damage. The portly aging priest of the neighbourhood temple unleashing his croaking vocals over the loudspeakers (only treble, no bass), followed by religious remixes of item numbers making any effort of early morning sleep an extremely difficult proposition.

Last Saturday the Hindu world celebrated the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. Every lane in my locality in a show of one-upmanship made it a point to host individual celebrations. My midnight the area was one cacophonous cauldron. Even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s lilting voice on the headphones could not come to my rescue.

Religion as I understand it is a very personal thing – a relation between a mortal and the power supreme. Religious occasions act as social get-togethers and used to be solemn affairs. But now entertainment has adulterated it (like so many other aspects of our lives). This obscene display of religiosity gives the noble thought and practice a bad name.

There are laws in place restricting the decibels in public ceremonies. But religion is a force more potent than manmade laws; after all it is the votes in the name of religion that send the lawmakers to the legislatures.

And I believe heaven has excellent soundproofing.

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