Noise. Of differing frequencies, pitches and oscillations. From different sources. Everywhere.
On the street. People shouting, screaming, straining to make themselves heard in the din. Vehicles honking, asking other vehicles to make way, or just announcing their presence.
In our homes. The TV on all day- especially the specter of news anchors moderating shouting matches on live TV, in the garb of 'debate'. The laptops or stereo systems blaring full blast.
On the 'social scene'. People talking out loud everywhere. Laughing, crying, bitching, mocking.
Sitting in the living room of my home, on the top floor of an ONGC colony apartment building, all I can hear is the sound emitted by vehicles passing on the road outside the colony, disturbing my mental peace. Since Goregaon is a posh suburb, I don't see that situation ending anytime soon.
That was vehicles. Let's move on to people.
Why are we so loud as a species?
Why do we need to be making noise all the time?
Why do we feel the need to create a cacophony, a constant babble of sounds in which not one person can get in a comprehensive word in sideways?
Why do we detest people who like to remain silent most of the time?
Why do we treat people who speak less with suspicion?
Why do we need for everyone around us to open their mouths and keep yapping all day...even if most of what comes out of our mouth is inane, frivolous stuff?
Why do we chuck people of few words out of our social circles, and treat them like outcasts?
Why don't we aspire to become better listeners, rather than better orators?
Why do we want to stress our vocal cords to more than necessary?
Why do we need, in hospitals and libraries, signs that say 'SILENCE PLEASE'?
Why on earth can't we respect this thing called 'SILENCE'?
Silence is a state of being, in which your mouth remains shut and your mind speaks.
Silence is a phase of introspection, of spending some quite time with yourself, all by yourself. Of discovering who you are, of thinking about life, about things.
Silence is a meditation in itself. A time for thoughts, for enriching ourselves mentally, and even spiritually.
Even as an atheist, I like to go and sit in a church. Why? Because of the complete, pin-drop silence they have over there. The only sound being made when the chorus of people singing hymns.
I love libraries and bookstores for the same reason. They are places of complete, blissful silence. Where I'm not afraid of loud chatter bursting my eardrums and distracting me from my work.
From my study, or writing or reading.
Introverts are known to be mostly silent people. I have always been an introvert, staying lost in my books and laptop and music most of the time.
I talk very less, as compared to the extroverts around me, who are much more voluble and create, in certain cases, what I call 'noise pollution'.
I talk only to people I really like; the rest, I courtesy with formal greetings and leave it at that ( but there are people with whom I hit it off, such that, even though we meet after long periods of time, I can talk to them for hours on end).
I like to sit quietly and observe, or listen to people when they talk to me or among themselves.
A lot of my material for writing comes from this observation thing.
Does that make me quirky?
Yes, maybe a little.
But I respect my silence. I stake claim to one of my fundamental birthrights: THE RIGHT TO SILENCE.
I expect others to respect that right.
There is this place I like to go to, within the recesses of my mind. The Temple of Silence, I call it.
It is a place where I can think, ruminate, analyze, have epiphanies, collate information I have absorbed like a sponge, create poems, stories and novels.
To enrich myself intellectually. To use my tongue only when it is needed, to speak good of others and to say the right things when needed.
To give my time only to people whose mental wavelength matches with mine.
It is better to be in silence and read a good book, produce a piece of poetry or prose or article, or read a good magazine or science journal or watch a good movie/serial...rather than waste my precious time talking to people I don't even like.
The point of this LoNG lecture is to say: We must respect silence. We must respect it within us, and we must respect those within others too.
Silence is a virtue we must value in others...because we must learn to be better listeners, both to other people and to the language of our subconscious.
So, when are you observing your rite of silence? Do you have your own Temple of Silence you escape to when you feel the need to? How does it enrich you? How do you plan on cutting down the noise from your lives?