Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let’s Give Silence A Chance


How many times have you rambled about the weather, when you had nothing better to say? I hear it around me all the time. People who love the sound of their voice, who will drone on and on filling you up with every painful detail of their life (just like my last post), how ungrateful their servants are, what an adorable creature they are. Men who can’t talk beyond their office, women who think their child is a reincarnation of Einstein.

Those of you, who read my posts regularly, might have assumed that I love talking. I was a bubbly, talkative kid, a nightmare for most of my teachers. I still am a people’s person and a sparkling conversation makes my spirit soar. Unfortunately with age and experience, I have become picky. I am quick to pick on vibes and clam up the moment I sense negativity. I can light up like a 100 watt bulb and flicker uncertainly - I can sit in a crowded room and still feel alone.

Have you noticed people who talk too much are mostly poor listeners? A family acquaintance who can talk non-stop detailing his experience with the carpenter and the intricacies of his new door, a friend who uses you as a sounding board to vent her miseries, a colleague who loves giving minute to minute details of her latest shopping expedition. And the moment you open your mouth to say something about your inconsequential life, their eyes glaze over. And I can’t help but think of this classic line from Jab We Met...”Mein apni sabse favourite hoon”. But even if many of us have a lifelong affair with ourselves, we are terribly afraid of our own company. So afraid to sit alone in a cafe, uncomfortable at the thought of going out for a movie alone. What will people think? Will they feel sorry for me? At home alone, we are afraid at the prospect of having nothing to do. Emptiness scares us, loneliness intimidates us. Is it why we are terrified of old age?

It is during these times our avocations come to our rescue. Remember that rainy day, when you were forced to stay indoors. How you took shook off dust from your long forgotten stamp collection album and smiled wistfully as you leafed through the pages. Running your hands lovingly over the stamps, each with its own unique story. Pulling out that musty smelling book from the shelf and reliving your first flush of romance. That’s why it’s so important to have hobbies ; it is the best gift you can give yourself. Unfortunately we have too many distractions vying for our attention. The television, the internet, the DVD player, the phone you can’t live without. It’s as if we dread being alone with our thoughts.



Unfortunately a lot of us equate silence with attitude. Silence is often misconstrued with snobbishness. Who does she think she is! Hey, am quiet because I have nothing better to say.

But I have seen silence that is deafening. A couple at a restaurant with a cold wall of silence between them. After an argument, a silence full of misgivings. A silence that accuses. It is then we need words to soothe, a warm gesture to heal your festering words. Unfortunately during these times, we chose silence. Ironical isn’t it?

So the next time you meet a friend and in 20 minutes you manage to run out of conversation – give silence a chance. Sit back, relax, hear the tinkle of the spoon as you stir the coffee, soak in the atmosphere, hum a long forgotten tune. And maybe you will finally see that girl alone with her book. Smile at her. Who knows, you might just end up making a new friend.
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52 comments:

  1. I'm here first! :)

    I've been working on being very quiet lately. It solves so many things sometimes, specially when you're in a confused relationship.

    :) Lovely post Purba. Its only made my resolve stronger.

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  2. Ah!! Silence is what I felt all around. Revisited my memories— cherished them silently. Silence is what that takes me when I am in a company unlike me and I think I'll give a chance to silence when I'm amidst my favorites. Ironically, I don't run out of conversation when I am with them and in my best mood.

    Post was indeed lovely. :)

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  3. Hobby is now a fade. Almost all my younger generation known people have no hobbies except going to Mall,chat shop or chatting. They lack creativity and reading habit a far cry.Some exceptions are there who are
    extraordinary.

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  4. Well, there are times in my office when colleagues would come to me and tell Punton tell us a story and I oblige duly... however there will be times when I feel bored and try to tell them something.. the retort comes Shut up!!...

    One of my bosses hates me to the core, with him I realised Silence is my bestest friend..

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  5. It takes an extra-ordinary strength in ordinary human being to accept silence as truth of life, believe me.

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  6. let silence prevail right? a very good post and yes the times like shaking the dust off the old albums is a good one to remember the silence of the times. and isn't it also a time to give us some "me" time?

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  7. Priyanka...Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not :)

    Prateek... What a lovely comment. True, with your cherished ones you never run out of things to say.

    Ayyangar Sir..Too many distractions vying for our time. It's dumbing us down.

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  8. Being more of a listener I get to hear a lot from those around. Tell me about the glazing over when you mention something from your own life/experience! :)
    I love solitude. But any time I am sitting by myself, people rush over, 'Why are you sitting alone??' as if I am brooding or something! :P

    BTW, why don't you do away with word verification?? Makes commenting easier. :)

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  9. Puntonpiper...The silence that kills??

    Vishal...Yes, most of us find silence intimidating.

    Paulomi... There's so much of undiscovered me and the self-discovery is always a pleasant surprise.
    You would know, you write beautiful poetry.

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  10. Hi Purba,
    Very nice post. People close to me would know me better as a listener. Always conscious of what I may say wrong. Took me this long to figure out, who cares.
    I do love being quite and being alone..but, right now, my life demands more than that with 4 kids who always want to talk and talked too (not complaining, I love it).
    Always had friends, close ones, who love to talk more. They find it comfortable with me and vice versa. Maybe that's why Pavan and me clicked. We've complemented each other well and now he trying to become a better listener and me, trying to express more.

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  11. The last line, that's interesting! But yes, silence is blissful and sometimes killing just like you wrote.
    Silence of a friend after a fight, it kills. This post reminds me of a friend and a funny incident, didn't experience that little sweet moments cling on to us just like that. Thank you for that reminder.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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  12. Shail...We need more listeners and intelligent conversationalists. They are almost becoming extinct now.

    Some embarrassing spams had surfaced on my blog...so the word verification. Removed it now :)

    Gayatri...Sounds like a beautiful relationship and your kids look adorable!!!!

    B A ...Hopefully you are smiling for all the right reasons :P

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  13. Loved it:), esp the last para. Silence can be very soothing at times between two people, if they know how to enjoy it. But when you're talking about everyday life, it is often not so. "Why do we need to to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable!!" (Pulp Fiction)

    Here's something on the awkwardness of a different kind of silence, find out:)

    http://sushant-shekhar.blogspot.com/2010/06/uncomfortable-silences.html

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  14. All so very true! Hope the people concerned take a hint :-)

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  15. Sushant..."Why do we need to to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable!!" Somebody actually wrote that!! LOL

    And loved your post :)

    Giribala....Sigh no...they don't read my blog...they don't read at all ;)

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  16. Wonderful post Purba!!

    Loved the way you brought out the contrast between the two kinds of silences.

    I've always been more of the silent kind (unless it's company I'm very comfortable in), and definitely it has been misinterpreted often.

    But I'm not afraid of being left alone, with just silence.

    Main aur meri tanhayi aksar yeh baatein kiya karte hai... :-)

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  17. Silence can indeed be wonderful! There are times when silence is far more productive too.

    I love my own company too :) I have plenty of things to amuse myself with. So I find it difficult to understand when people say that they are bored. As you say, a hobby can make so much of a difference.

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  18. I like this post and I enjoy silence. Have watched movie and/or eaten out alone many times. Yeah, people look at you differently but who gives a damn.
    I enjoy being a solitary animal. Far from the maddening crowd ;)

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  19. I talk a lot, yet I am labelled as a snoot! I need a cure for my talkativeness. But I have had my long and painful moments of eating alone, sitting by the window alone, and gaping at people talk. So for now, let me just talk, stop me if I ramble. Okay?

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  20. ..reminded me of the song 'sounds of silence'. Have you heard the song? Beautiful song and a beautiful post, Purba :)

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  21. Lovely post !! Very thoughtful !!
    Funny thing is that I have been to restaurants alone ( I am a gobbler ) and if I am craving for something, I just go get it... I have been shopping alone and I have also been to a movie alone... Its nice being in your own company. Can't describe the feeling but its nice :-)

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  22. no other blog post has ever made me think and associate with something thats written in there more.. lovely.. keep 'em coming..

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  23. Vijitha...Wasn't that a classic line from "Silsila"!

    Smitha...That's why I love the sea. I can sit for hours, just staring at the sea. It has a calming effect on me.

    Prats...It's only in our country people give you strange looks, if you are on your own. And god forbid if you are a woman.

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  24. Pree..I can talk a lot too but only with people I am comfortable with :)

    S...The Simon and Garfunkel classic number.....Hello, darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again :))

    Enchanta...Only a self assured person can do that :)

    Akshay...Aww thanks so much :))

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  25. "Hello darkness, my old friend
    I've come to talk with you again
    Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains
    Within the sound of silence

    In restless dreams I walked alone
    Narrow streets of cobblestone
    'Neath the halo of a street lamp
    I turn my collar to the cold and damp
    When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
    That split the night
    And touched the sound of silence

    And in the naked light I saw
    Ten thousand people maybe more
    People talking without speaking
    People hearing without listening
    People writing songs that voices never shared
    No one dared
    Disturb the sound of silence

    "Fools," said I, "you do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you"
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence

    And the people bowed and prayed
    To the neon god they made
    And the sign flashed out its warning
    In the words that it was forming
    And the sign said "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
    And tenement halls
    And whispered in the sound of silence."


    Thus spake Paul Simon.
    The rest is silence.

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  26. beautiful post expressing the need for silence to discover oneself..
    like the way you are exploring various life topics.. keep it up!

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  27. :-) Thanks for "promoting" my post on Indiblogger. :-D I've lurked on your blog - simply because the title is half mine's namesake! :-D You've got a great blog here! Would be nice to keep in touch! (okay..that's a few exclamatory marks too many, right?)

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  28. umashankar...I am imagining the strum of a guitar....
    It's a beautiful song and such depth in the lyrics.

    magiceye...I need to otherwise I"ll stagnate.

    Vidya...I had no idea I had a name sake! And just when I was patting myself on the back....damn!!!

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  29. "On the blue shores of Silence... I came to the very edge-
    where nothing at all needs saying,
    everything is absorbed..."

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  30. I read the post twice...Beautiful, insightful and one of your best I have read.

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  31. Lovely post Purba and much of what I have always thought of..have however overcome my fear of silences and being alone ( though I do enjoy company) been to the cinemas alone and done the coffee bit too..cause after a while U need to love yourself cause you cannot love another before U love yrself crazy.

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  32. Varsha...That's beautiful!

    Alka...Really? Thanks :D

    Maitreyee...And it's only from people who don't love themselves enough, you get those vibes of negativity!

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  33. @ Purba - Yes! Sorry, I missed putting in the quotes. :-)

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  34. I am the kind of person who talks a lot.. Its only recently that I've learnt to live with myself, because I had no other option and now, I'm beginning to enjoy this phase..:)

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  35. Very beautifully written.....and this happens with everyone at some point of their life.....thts y its said that "make urself the most interesting person, coz with them u have to live forever ".........Thts the secret to enjoy lovely life i guess... :-) !!!

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  36. Hi Purba,
    Beautiful post as usual. :-)
    Someone told me, "Silence is the language of God."... that Nature talks to us but we are so much preoccupied in the clamors of our life that we cannot listen to the inner voice.

    Also, I came across a beautiful quotation "The only thing which cannot be misquoted is SILENCE."

    Ur post reminds me of, Words, I wrote sometime back.

    Waiting for ur next post :)

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  37. Wow the ending sounded like a rom-com in the making! :D
    For some reason I get this uncomfortable feeling of awkwardness when the other party falls silent all of a sudden. And then I am tempted to say something and steer the conversation ahead. Should I not do that?
    This happens more so with members of the opposite sex. For some reason many of them seem to forget how to make their voice-boxes work when I'm around.
    Am I that scary or intimidating? :(
    Who knows!

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  38. Well said! I loved this post! Maybe because I am the kind who loves and appreciates silence. Really, people should learn to give silence a chance :)

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  39. Nice post... A silent read... Never thought of old age.. now that you mentioned i better start thinking... coz i love SILENCE...

    My Last Post On 'THE SILENT WORDS ' - The Mystery

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  40. I liked the advice in the last line. Should try it once. ;)

    I love solitude. Probably, thats the best way to be silent or may be I talk to myself.

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  41. *claps*- Purba,it's almost like you took my thoughts and penned them, albeit, better.:)I'm just like this- can't ramble on if there's nothing to talk about-and,if someone's boring,i can't stifle a yawn now and then.
    ---
    And,I do find my hobby to be intensely gratifying-whether it's blogging, or, writing letters to editors..(or,as planned-writing some articles for mags in the coming days).
    ---
    Lastly,regarding people (mis)construing silence with snobbishness, I just think one thing'What people think of me is none of my business.'..it's more important that I'm comfy with my own self and not behave like a pseudo human.:)
    ---
    Cheerio.(PS The few people I can really communicate with are mostly bloggers..hahaha)

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  42. Bikram...ROFL...was expecting that. I hear you my boy!

    Vijitha...Ah no..you needn't be.

    Ana-treek...It's take time to figure "you" out.

    Raisa...Nodding my head vigorously :)

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  43. Satyakam...Am getting to read some beautiful thoughts. So glad I wrote this post.

    Samadtrita..You are the mistress of "spinning a yarn" - write one?

    And have you tried asking the boys?

    Vinitha..Think it comes with age and maturity. Not that age has anything to do with maturity.

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  44. Nikhil...Will be reading your post soon.

    Aditya...Talk to thee and uncover mysteries?

    Amit...Long time :) Writing is a cathartic experience. It's as if you are talking to yourself.

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  45. No wonder, U left me without words.
    A deep,mesmerizing and well written post buddy.
    and yup, There are times when silence speaks with the loudest voice and carries the heaviest impact.
    Keep writing friend. Do stop by. Comments awaited over a new story ;)
    Take care :)

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  46. yayyyyyyy you got it THANK YOU THANK YOU :)

    it say it all silence :)

    Bikram's

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  47. very beautifully written post....!!!


    Jai HO Mangalmay HO

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  48. Mani...Read and commented on your story. Nice one btw.

    Bikramjit..:))

    Vivek..Thank you.

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  49. where silence is respected thoughts,words and actions are best emjoyed.

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  50. "I can be alone, oh yes, but I can never be lonely. I always have myself" - said a wise friend of mine. This past year has made me my own best friend (might be the lack of other human beings, but let's pretend not). Life's so much easier when you don't care if anyone's judging you for sipping a solitary coffee or traveling solo with just your backpack for company. Why would I think foisting my company on someone is a good idea, if even I can't bear to be with myself?

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  51. "We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox."
    — Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook)

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