I wake up with a ringing in my ears. For a moment I wonder if it is that nightmare where that thing in a horned helmet is chasing me while singing “My Heart Will Go On”. But no, it is not. Dreams one can wake up from.
If there happens to be some Buddhist festival or an occasion of some importance the Buddhist temple in my little area of Rajagiriya, where I stay at times, strings up loudspeakers in a kilometer radius. The loudspeakers are placed so that not even a single house will miss the benefit of their service. Then, at 5 o’clock in the morning, before a cock has doodle doo’d, before the birds have woken up, even before sun has rubbed his eyes in readiness for another day, the loudspeakers blare Bana. This is not done quietly mind you. It is not some background sound that I can ignore either. I have slept through a bomb blast, a few minor protests, a devil dance, and several lectures, but this is so loud that you can’t hear yourself think.
I understand that this is a Buddhist country and that the majority are Buddhists, but even they walk around with pained expressions of religious dutifulness on their faces. There are a few houses that play Bana at 5 a.m. regularly, but everyone else is just plain snoring. In the Middle East the call for prayer is regular, but not as loud as this. Even if you live close to the Mosque, the prayer hardly lasts more than five minutes. In Hindu countries, the temples play awful music but it is played inside the temples. Not spread through loudspeakers all over the countryside. Here, it lasts hours. When a small Perahera was taking place, the speakers blared their fare from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. everyday for a week and a half. And morning sessions last over an hour this time.
One should have the freedom to practice one’s religion, but not at the expense of another’s rights. It is really tiresome and I do wish they would stop doing it so early, or so loudly.
It has finally stopped. Oh, how nice it is to be able to hear my own words and the sounds of birds singing. I can stop writing this and have my breakfast finally.