Monday, February 6, 2012

The sound of silence

"I'm a man of many words, and choose to remain that way." - Skv
      Friday was hectic. Really tiring. Having spent over 6 hours of my day in meetings, conference calls & training sessions, I was left with a throat as dry as the Sahara (not the one that deserted the BCCI). I had to catch the train home, so there wasn't any time to cater to my throat's demands of hot water with honey, ginger & lemon juice (ah, a shade of brandy would set the thing on fire!).
     My post is not about grand-ma's recipe for cocktails. I wish to reflect on the nuances of our senses (the poems are getting me to rhyme in prose as well). We ideally have 5 senses (the 6th exists in Bollywood & 7th in Kollywood only); sight, touch, hearing, smell & taste. I highly value & appreciate the efficient working of these senses. But, I have always held a greater preference towards speech. I could imagine (disclaimer: imagination has no limits) surviving without one of the other senses, but speech will always be of the highest priority. Let me explain why.
     As a kid, my dad constantly remarked, "Son, if it weren't for your sharp tongue, a crow would have swooped down and taken you off the ground (this is what happens to kids who refuse to eat vegetables)." As i grew up, my vocal prowess held me in good stead. In fact, it was the only thing that allowed me to get into this profession (read Recruitment). Over the years, I have found it extremely hard to sit quiet for more than a couple of minutes.
     In recruitment, I spent the first 4 years bending my 'B's and rolling my 'R's. As my confidence picked up, it reflected in the other facets of my life as well. Speech became my major option for a livelihood. Frustrated people who couldn't withstand the chatter proposed an alternate profession in law. On the sports field, I couldn't keep the sledging far from my game. And, the volume in the bathroom just got higher with my kolaveris.
     All this has been about me. Coming back to Friday. I survived two Meru breakdowns to reach the railway station ahead of time. I wanted to move away from the noisy crowds centered near the busy, tea stalls and so headed towards a pair of empty seats at the far end of the platform. A group of 5 seemed to be right at my tail and I felt bothered. For the next few minutes, I hardly heard a whisper and so turned around to check on them. I held my breath as I watched them converse with the grace of a ballet. Their arms moved in symphony, drawing imaginary castles in the air. A thousand words were spoken, yet none were heard. I tried to keep my breathing down for the fear of intruding their world. Their eyes moved in tandem with their flailing limbs as each one narrated his part of the story.
     Like artists drawing strokes on the canvas, alike an orchestrated symphony, the aura drew me closer. If they had turned, they'd have mistaken me for eavesdropping their conversation. They were in another planet, oblivious to commotion surrounding them. For a moment, I tried convincing myself that a group were playing dumb charades. But, it didn't hold. An initial wave of sympathy was overlapped by one of respect and due admiration. We, who have all our abilities intact are disabled in every phase of our life. We do not push ourselves to achieve beyond the norms expected of us. As the train trudged towards the station, the group disbanded. And I stood still, lost for words.

 “Do not speak unless you can improve the silence”

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