Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the sound of silence

experiment: no talking today.

i started at 9 am. then realised i should have started at 9.30. because how on earth was i going to tell the maid what to cook for lunch and dinner.

so after ten minutes of hand wringing and pointing to all the food in the fridge, i decided to write in hindi. voila... she understands hindi. managed to convey what to cook. then realised i hadn't cross checked with other members of the family, one of whom is down with a bad cold. the other one is 85 and loves eating junk food. getting her to agree to eat what i had suggested for lunch, that too by way of furious scribbling and gesticulating...whew. it took me about 15 minutes.

finally out of the house. no byes for a change. just a hug for everyone. in the car. no yakking on the phone. felt strange, but nice.

then i got to work. carrying a notebook. the first page of which said - I'm experimenting with silence. Can't talk. Can write.

Needless to say, it caused much amusement in office. I, strangely was enjoying not talking. I listened to everyone talk stuff, crib, discuss - without interrupting.

But here's the funny part. Most people when they'd talk to me in my silent state, would use broken sentences. It's like they could not use complete sentences when talking to someone who would not talk back.

At least three people spoke loudly to me. It's as if I was suddenly dumb...and deaf!

Then people tried rushing up to me and saying, " what happened to your car. Oh my god!" Maybe they were hoping I'd screech and go hysterical. Maybe they were hoping to win the beer that was being promised if you could get me to talk.

Finally at 1 pm, I broke my silence. Because it was making everyone focus too much on it. The thing is I enjoyed it. My head felt lighter. Things just skimmed over me. I still don't think I'm cut out for a ten day vipasanna retreat as yet.

But a little silence once in a while, it's nice. Like rearranging the furniture in your head.

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