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One day I was sitting on the rooftop terrace garden and reading when I heard the sound of water gushing as if from an open faucet, or a broken pipeline.

My hearing, as I have mentioned before is legendary, especially when it comes to water. Even a trickle does not go unnoticed by my ears. This was more than a trickle by the sound of it. Since no one had entered or exited the area, it could not be as if someone had left a tap running. It was definitely a case of a broken pipe or an overflow of some sort. But where was it coming from? I was curious.

“I can hear the sound of water gushing. Wonder where it is coming from!” I said to the person sitting with me.

“Nah! It must be the lapping of water created by the pigeons or crows drinking from the swimming pool” The swimming pool was a few feet above us to our right.

This was a prompt and dismissive reply, not something said after first listening to ascertain if indeed it was true. Why would anyone do that you might wonder. Beats me. It was not as if the person had something invested in the matter. It was not as if I was blaming them for anything!It was just an observation I had shared, which was being summarily dismissed as trivial. Moreover it was also being implied that I did not know the difference between the gentle lapping of water disturbed by birds and that of water gushing/overflowing.

Usually in such situations I get exasperated, and take pains to explain just why it could not be a bird and had to be something else. Yes, fall into the defensive trap. I know. I am much older now and should know better than to fall into any trap. But it happens unknowingly, especially when you have a history of being infantilised, disbelieved, mocked and dismissed most of your growing up years. You are prone to react without thinking, because that’s the only way you knew how to deal with it back then and is still the way you unconsciously react to the same trigger now.

This time though was slightly different. I looked at her, someone who has known me (the ‘known’ is debatable, but you know what I mean) all my life, from the time I was born in fact, being the one who gave me birth, and asked,

“You really do think I am a fool, don’t you?” There was wonder, disappointment, resignation and acceptance, all rolled into one in my voice. “If you think I cannot tell the difference between the gentle lap of water caused by birds, which incidentally is almost soundless, and that of water gushing forth as if from a broken pipe, you must really think of me as stupid.”

Anyway, it didn’t matter. This too was only an observation on my part, a slightly bemused one, no doubt. I went in search of the origin of the sound of water, found the source, informed the concerned people who came and took a look at it and did the needful. All’s well that ends well.

©Shail Mohan 2022