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.