Silence at midnoon and sunshine at midnight!
I alighted at the Ludwigsburg train station around 6.30PM. I had no clue on how big this place is or what it actually had. All that I knew was that the headquarters of my company was located here and I was supposed to be staying at a hotel called Goldener Pflug. As I walked out of the train station complex and the hissing sound of train waned away, all that I was left with was absolute silence. It looked like a deserted town at one shot. No offence but sorts of a scene straight out of movies like ‘I am legend’ or ‘Resident Evil’. It was bright and sunny, there were huge buildings and structures and a taxi stand with few Mercedes parked, it indeed was a huge town as per Indian standards, but all I could see was not more than 25 people around. This place was supposed to be the junction at which both bus & train stations were located and this deserted? There was a tall, majestic building that had numbers 1901 inscribed on it! The streets were paved and clean. Tiny flowers of different colors adorned along the pathway in makeshift pots, making the road look like it had an entire row of flower shops! But the entire place bore the look of a beautiful town that was evacuated due to some emergency. As I pulled my trolley towards the bus station, all the sound that I could hear was my trolley wheels making noise against the rugged, cement ground. Deafening silence at its best! As if some danger is lurking behind that huge building! I looked around to find people! There were some guys sharing a drink at the corner of the road, a lady with her little kitty on a walk, a couple walking away from the bus station, and an old man seeming to wait for bus! Apart from these people and myself there was hardly any soul out there. I felt embarrassed to pull my trolley! For a minute, it seemed I was the one who was making most noise in ten towns around! For somebody who has lived all his life in India this seemed eerie! To be honest, you wouldn’t find such silence even in graveyards back in India. I remember one of the dialogues from a recent movie that I watched, the character played by Judy Dench in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel says “India is an assault on the senses, a riot of noise and color!” For we Indians anything and everything begins and ends with noise or at least sound as we call it! May it be a funeral or be it a family event! There is even a television commercial that says “it isn’t celebration in India, if it isn’t loud!”
I got to my hotel, Goldener Pflug in about ten minutes from the Bahnhauf, freshened up and came out for a walk! It was around 8pm and no clue of dusk! It was still bright as mid noon in India. Only later did I get to know that summer days are longer in Germany. Apparently the Sun would set only around 11pm! I was in sort of a juxtaposed situation! Never in my life had I seen sunlight after 7pm and the thought that it would extend until 11pm was like a scary situation to me! Jet lag was catching upon and after some quick snack, I crashed!
No, I am not sleeping here! It was scarily silent! Back in India, my home is bang beside a national highway and wherever I slept, I was never far away from at least a little sound or noise. Chirping crickets or a hissing fan, one or the other made up to the occasion! There are even times that I was not able to sleep due to the noise around! But here, all I could here was my breath and the church bell that went ringing once every fifteen minutes! The hotel rooms here had no fans too! Probably it never got so hot ever! Rather they have a heater coil spiraled on the wall for the winter days! I had no option but to switch on the TV and play some whatsoever it was, news or music or sport in soft volume! All I needed was some sound to have a sound sleep! What an irony!