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What sounds make you smile?

Would horror movies be so scary if not for the background sounds? I think all of you would have the same answer to this... A big NO!..

No! I won't be talking about horror movies or their sounds. I don't watch them. And it's mainly because of the sounds.

Everything we experience, everything we know stems from our sensory perceptions and sound is vital among them. It is vital in communicating with people, sharing information, understanding the environment surrounding us, changing our moods, and in many other aspects of our lives.

As we go through life, we become associated with numerous sounds around us viz., the sounds of nature, sounds associated with food, sounds in an urban setting, sounds in a rural setting, sounds during travels, our bodily sounds, sounds of a baby, sounds of communications, sounds from technological devices, music, and countless others.

Just the other day, I opened a new packet of popcorn kernels and put three handfuls of kernels in the hot oil in the pressure cooker. I anxiously put the cooker lid on top as the sounds that would emanate from the cooker would decide whether the kernels were good or not; whether I'll be able to enjoy a big bowl of salted popcorn with my evening coffee; whether my money was wasted or not. As the popping noise of the corns started in quick succession, it made me break into a smile.... And it made me wonder, how important different sounds are in our lives.

While some sounds evoke fear and anxiety (e.g. unnatural sounds in your backyard in the middle of the night), others soothe us (e.g., the rustling of leaves in the wind); while some sounds make us feel alive (e.g. party music, sounds of nature, the first cry of a newborn), others bring a sense of despair (e.g., stoppage of regular beeping of hospital heart monitor); while some sounds cause distraction (heavy music when studying or doing some work that needs concentration), others bring concentration (e.g. soft instrumental music, prayer chants); while some sounds evoke feelings of happiness and warmth (e.g., the way someone you love calls out to you), others make us sad (e.g., crackling sounds of woods in a funeral pyre); while some sounds trigger happy memories, others make us sad. Also, some auditory memories make us smile while others make us cry.

But it is the happy sounds that we crave in our lives, isn't it?

What sounds or memories of sounds make you happy or make you smile?

Here are some other sounds (some memories and some general) that prompt a smile from me.....

Sounds of nature

I love to recollect some memories related to sounds that always make me smile:

  • I remember an incident from the time when I was probably in the 9th or 10th standard which still makes me laugh to this day. I had a habit of lying on my stomach in bed while studying or reading (I still do that often though it is not good for the spine) and would inevitably doze off. So one evening as I had dozed off while studying, a loud 'ÇROAK' made me wide awake and elevated my heart rate. The sound was too loud to be outside the room. Searching for the source of the sound, I found a tree frog hugging one of the posts (near the open window) of the four-poster bed I was lying down on. I was equally afraid of it (having learnt about poisonous tree frogs by then but couldn't identify it) as it was of me. Having seen me, it made its way back to the coconut tree outside the window taking my drowsiness with it....

  • Long back, the plot beside our home used to be empty and had a shallow depression occupying most of the plot. During the monsoons, this depression would fill up with water and look like a small pond where frogs would thrive and even small fishes. I still remember the nocturnal calls of the frogs during the monsoons. Those sounds remind me of simpler days when our little town (at present it is not so little though) had not yet become an urban jungle and we could still see much greenery around....

And then there are general happy sounds that I love to hear (and I think most of us love these sounds)

  • The chirping of birds (the chuckling of Robins, the cooing of pigeons, sparrows chirping, singing of sunbirds) while sipping my morning coffee in the verandah

  • The sound of the first rain on parched earth after a long dry summer spell

  • The crunching sound of fallen dry leaves beneath our feet

  • The occasional call of a cat tiptoeing around the backyard

  • Sea waves crashing on the beach; the sound of waterfalls and streams;

Food Sounds

As I cook and eat, there are endless sounds associated with food that gives me joy.

  • I have already mentioned the popping of popcorns, though I guess, this sound is loved by all..

  • The sound of tempering of spices

  • The sound the pulses and rice grains make when it is poured in a steel bowl before washing

  • The sound of drying gravy in the oven that gives the indication that the dish is cooked and its time to switch off the oven

  • The sound of boiling eggs jumping in the boiling water

  • The sound of grindstones in my mother's kitchen

  • The crackling sound of 'Aske pithe' in a shallow clay Wok

  • The sound of roasting of brinjal in the oven

  • The sound of simmering chicken curry

  • The sound of sizzlers served in a restaurant

  • The crunching sound of a fresh apple bite

  • The 'mmmmm' sound when someone loves a dish prepared by me

Other Sounds - that make me smile
  • The sound when my niece calls out to me 'boromaniii'...

  • The sound of a ceiling fan starting on a hot summer afternoon after a power outage

  • The memory of my father lovingly calling me 'maa' (mother)

  • Cooing of babies; laughing of toddlers

We often forget how lucky we are to be able to hear!! As I write this, I'll remember to feel lucky as long as I can hear....

What are the sounds that make you smile? What sounds do you love? What auditory memories make you smile? What sounds trigger your happy memories?

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