January 14, 2015


Have you ever heard the sound of silence?

People who know me know how mentally stimulating I find conversation. I like to stay amidst talking people, in noisy places, amidst friendly chatter. It makes me feel alive. Being a part of the crowd offers a strange kind of security, a solace that everyone is moving along with you. The only time I appreciate some quiet is either when I am having a splitting headache or when I am reading a book.

However, last weekend I experienced something unique. I was talking to a group of friends, and all of a sudden, I felt this need to separate myself from the incessant banter. I wanted to focus on something far away. It was not that the conversation wasn't interesting. Our conversations are always fun.  But there was a part of my mind that was trying to focus on something else...a clock ticking on a wall at the far end corner of the cafe, the sound of the blades of the whirring fan above us, the swish swooshing made by opening and closing movements of the door. What felt absurd was that these were sounds that I hardly paid any attention to in the past...noises that are drowned out in the din at a common place setting.
However yesterday I was straining to notice them. It was as if I had enough of the obvious and now wanted to explore the ignored...as if my ears were craving to hear the sounds of silence.

Perhaps my friends noticed my distracted behavior and we called it wraps earlier than usual. On the way home, I was ruminating over this unnatural reaction of mine, but still couldn't place any reason to it. Maybe I'm just turning old and senile, I humored myself. But there was another part of me that was still trying to detach myself from thinking too hard.
It was around 9 pm by the time I got home. I headed straight to my room. A half read novel was lying on the bed. As habit would have it, I was tempted to pick it up. But I refrained. I switched off my cell phone, turned off the TV, opened the windows to my room and waited, eyes closed. How long since I had last done that? How long since I had tried to drive away all the clutter that occupied my mind?
How long since I had stopped to appreciate the sound of silence?
I flinched with the realization. Could it be that my mind was trying to tell me something? Did a mental freeze mean that my brain, my body was asking me to slow down?

Are we not acquainted so much to the superficiality that we forget to notice the deeper essentials? If we peel back the superficial layers of  our life---the frenzy, the confusion----a calm stillness awaits.
A cold breeze brushed against my face. I tried to distract myself from the occasional sound of traffic on the street in front of my house. It took me some time to adjust myself.
As I stood there, chafing the pristine silence from the chaos, I heard the rustling of leaves, the faint mewing of our neighbour's cat (I wasn't even aware they had a cat until then), a faint familiar tune playing on a radio station in some parked car somewhere in the distance----soft signs of satisfaction that the mind searches for every once in a while. It was breath taking, this experience. 
I wanted to explore the beauty of that stillness.
I wanted to be one with this magic of silence!

The moment felt so fragile that I wanted to preserve it for eternity. But letting it go was necessary...for me to experience it all over again.
And so let go I did, with the promise of a visit soon...very soon.

For words are a powerful addiction,
and silence a complicated affair...
Each in company and in solitude,
 a magic one dare not share...

So discover your learning moment,
a time freeze or wrap...
But don't you dare stay too long there,
It could be a terrible love trap...

For it's not my duty to warn you,
But it's indeed yours to learn...
Celebrate, revel and flirt with these,
Or fester, perish and burn...

It's a powerful thing, this magic,
to know how far to go...
To either from a safe distance watch,
or keep coming back for more...

So pick carefully and wisely,
your words and silence too...
Used right, your days it can fill with bliss,
when wrong, your hearts with rue...


Adisha said...

You had me hooked till you went abstract and then too I could understand what you meant. Very well captured essence of the moment. I know where you are coming from. ONce upon a time I wanted to be with friends. Now I treasure my solitary moments as much as the sounds of laughter.

Though maybe it's coz most of the noisy moments now I filled by SHRIEKING kids ...lolzzz... Well well written and I loved your poem.

My website - http://aditi.ws/outlook

CRD said...

I usually find conversations exhausting. Most of the time i prefer hanging around people who like their quiet moments. But there are those rare times when I think the silence is killing. I guess it depends on moods.

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

For me, it is more of an alternating spell of 'bring in the noises' and 'let everything be quiet'. Safe to say, I need one in the day, the other in the night. The latter, for a major part albeit.

Blasphemous Aesthete

Pri said...

@ Adisha
I am so glad you cracked the silence between us and shared your views on this. :)
Thanks for dropping by. And I totally get you...we all need some time on our own. Silence is as important & beautiful as is conversation.

Stay blessed!

Pri said...

True! It depends much on the frame of mind we are in.
You are lucky to have friends who are comfortable even with your silence. :)

Pri said...

@ Blasphemous Aesthete
Different strokes for different folks.
Conversation can bring about a great exchange of ideas. I see desiring too much of silence as quite a narcissistic trait! :)