I stared out of the rain-marked window as my father repeatedly switched between one horrific Indo-Pak radio station to another. I was trying to stay serene, I focused on my breathing, and attempted to block out the racket by letting my mind whisk me away.
Unfortunately, my mind wasn’t intriguing enough and I began to hone in on the crackle and static of the radio stations. The constant jabbering of older Indians and Pakistanis trying to be “cool” by hosting the show in English was slowly chipping away at my sanity. As if the lack of pronouns and mispronunciation weren’t enough, they had to sing-a-long to the one song that they played . . . over and over and over again.
The shows weren’t simply peppered with commercials; for the most part, the show was a continuous stream of commercials. An electric ad came on, it tried to affiliate the stars with its capacity to provide you with electricity; grocery stores and doctor’s offices and politicians attempted their seduction through the white noise of the stations. Occasionally, there would be silence because the people at the station weren’t fluid in their transitions from callers to songs to commercials.
I began to glare at the dial, hoping that it would self-destruct. Alas, nothing. A sly look at my father indicated that he was in a semi-good mood. I decided to do it. I leaned over and pushed the silver knob in with my finger.
The anger-packed eruption that gushed forth from my father was more than I could handle. Wide-eyed I slowly reached over and with a shaking finger gently pressed the silver knob again. The white noise took over the rest of our car ride and continues to do so anytime I am in the car with my father.
This experience, and many others have pushed me to vow to always prefer music over white noise. To always look towards progress instead of shove against it. My father’s radio station choices reflect on his need to cling to things-past, even if their caliber isn’t very good; I will be different. I will be open to newness, no matter my age.
I will soon be going to Seoul, South Korea (fingers crossed) to begin this expansion of the mind. I think the more open your thinking, the bigger the acceptance in your heart. Maybe this makes you a better person, maybe not. Time will tell. As for now, my Korea application process has just begun; although lackluster at this point, I have high hopes.
Also, a special thanks to Kiran Wali, my care bear, for coming up with the name and for all of her help in getting me in contact with her friends in Korea. It’s exactly what I was looking for.