Cry for sur­vival!


ONE pleas­ant evening, I was sit­ting along with my friend at the bal­cony of his apart­ment. We were both im­mersed in deep thought try­ing hard to rec­ol­lect de­tails of cer­tain mat­ter of much im­por­tance. Sud­denly, our rev­erie was bro­ken by the harsh and rau­cous cry of a veg­etable ven­dor pass­ing by on the street be­low. My friend ut­tered few cuss words to ex­press his anger at the sup­posed in­so­lence of the ven­dor. I then rea­soned with my friend to jus­tify the shout­ing by the ven­dor. But for his loud cry, who would know that he has come to sell his goods, since ev­ery­one in­side their houses is busy in one or an­other thing. There is the sound of tele­vi­sion and ra­dios, or some­body talk­ing on phone, or some­body is in much in­te­rior part of the res­i­dence, in undis­turbed calm­ness, and hence the ven­dor has to shout his lungs out to break bar­ri­ers of both sound and si­lence. It is a com­pul­sive cry for sur­vival, since he has to sell his veg­eta­bles to earn liveli­hood and sur­vive.

Yes, the daunt­ing chal­lenge to sur­vive, through earn­ing liveli­hood in ar­du­ous con­di­tion, com­pels many per­sons to shout, scream, shriek and cry while per­form­ing their rou­tine tasks and ac­tiv­i­ties. Their spon­ta­neous vo­cal ex­er­tions may seem ir­ri­tat­ing to oth­ers in vicin­ity, but are a manda­tory habit for their ex­is­tence. In the fruits and veg­eta­bles mar­ket, ven­dors are try­ing to make them­selves heard and seen by out shout­ing oth­ers. The con­struc­tion work­ers are con­tin­u­ously scream­ing at high deci­bels, much above the din cre­ated by the ma­chines, equip­ment and the con­struc­tion work. Porters and labour­ers mov­ing or lift­ing heavy items shout in­ces­santly till com­ple­tion of the task. Boat­men row­ing boats and palan­quin bear­ers in an­cient times used to keep on chat­ter­ing and chant­ing re­peat­edly, ap­par­ently mean­ing­less words just to keep them­selves mo­ti­vated and di­vert the mind from bur­den of tire­some task.

On a hot sum­mer noon when we are tak­ing si­esta with cooler run­ning to give re­lief from heat, sud­denly door­bell rings break­ing the cy­cle of rest. A sales­per­son is stand­ing at the doorstep dis­play­ing some un­wanted stuff which we will never buy in life time. Nat­u­rally, we are prompted to shout and abuse the sales­per­son for hav­ing dis­turbed the tran­quil­lity. But here too, we must un­der­stand that the ped­dler is com­pelled to wan­der in blaz­ing heat for seek­ing sus­te­nance by way of sales in­come. It is again a cry for sur­vival. Sim­i­lar is case of tele­callers who dis­turb us by un­so­licited mar­ket­ing calls at ran­dom hours. While it is most irk­some for us to at­tend to such un­wanted calls, for those at other end, it is to earn their daily bread.

On a more so­phis­ti­cated level, we have many ten­nis play­ers who are grunt­ing or shriek­ing with ev­ery stroke or shot they hit and play. Theirs is again a cry for sur­vival or ex­is­tence, even though it may be of­fend­ing to op­po­nents and crowds wit­ness­ing the match. Play­ers like Mon­ica Se­les, Maria Shara­pova, Ser­e­naWil­liams, Jimmy Con­nors and Rafael Nadal are all known grun­ters. Their vo­cal out­bursts are out­come of their des­per­ate ef­forts to over­time op­po­nents for sur­vival in the game which is their source of earn­ing. So let us pon­der and have some sym­pa­thy and em­pa­thy for all those who have to cry for sur­vival. Let us bear with pa­tience, the im­pact of the cries, how­so­ever harsh and ca­co­phonic they may seem.

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