Symphony of the Chelonian Steam Engine

The mater has the unfortunate habit of behaving like a speeding steam engine.

The pater holds his side of the matrimonial agreement by acting like certain chelonian species fond of using foghorns. He is not a turtle or tortoise – far from it. I do not know the voices of turtles, but I am sure they differ drastically from the fathers. The similarity ends with the hearing alone.

Let me explain.

The mother, though the decades in between have slowed the steam engine somewhat, still retains that shrill whistle that characterizes a good steam engine.

Her tracks change quickly as she steams about the place letting out steam and words as she moves. She charges about saying a million things and if you happen to be in the vicinity, you can pick up about 30% of what was delivered and what Mr Christian Doppler thought you should hear depending on the speed of the train and the distance and all that lark. This steam engine type of behavior is most trying when you have good hearing.

Doppler Effect : Wiki Link


The father, unfortunately, partially lost his powers of hearing about 3 decades ago, and relies on the sound waves that directly hit his hearing aid from a certain angle, a delicate  reading of facial cues, and leaves the rest to the benign deities of the universe assuming that mankind is in general good and kind.

Good violinists have been known to fiddle about with their pesky instruments – they can be seen on and off stage twisting, turning, pulling and tuning, to get that delicate balance that produces beautiful sounds. The father, though not a violinist, treats his hearing aid with the same delicate charm. The precious hearing aid whistles, squeaks, and sometimes amplifies the sounds in the vicinity. Between these squeaks and blurbs, he reconstructs what he can and astounds those watching with coherent answers.

If you were to google for animals that cannot hear too well, you will come upon a link similar to this one: Animal Planet.

“Certain turtles and tortoises lack an ear opening. It’s true that chelonians can’t hear anywhere near as well as humans and many other species can. But they can detect certain types of sounds. “

The father can certainly detect the annoyed shriek amidst the chaos in the home.

Therefore their lives exist in a delicate balance where the Laws of Physics are trying their best to hold their own. The sound waves bounce along with the moving mater train, the pater looks bewildered, and then realizes ten minutes later that he is being given a dressing down for not listening to whatever she said over the past 10 minutes. In response, the pater cracks a joke, which grates the mater like ginger in their evening tea.

Standing amidst this chaos one evening, I felt a surge of affection for the pair of them steadily marching on in years, their sounds of love producing sounds of a somewhat haphazard orchestra – sometimes discordant, yet when you skate over these spots, harmonic.

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