The Sound of Silence

When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues. Be silent like an oyster shell. For that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul.”- Jalal-u-din Rumi

Silence isso fragile even an uttering breaks it. The politics of silence is confusing andhard to decipher. Silence is a controlled communication. Close the door ofwords and turn to see and listen silence of heart. Heart hammers but itsstillness speaks. It arrests the attention. Silence is the best answer if wordsare devalued. We are silenced by circumstances and events unfolding in ourlives. Silence can be possessive. Shouting is the sign of weakness. Revengemakes people restless. Being grounded is peaceful. Silence is the loudeststrike. When shout is responded with silence, it melts the opposite person.

Whateverwe know tumbles out of our tongue, what is unknown goes to silent kitty.Silence is the first dress and address of the genius. In a fit of anger, I haveobserved people levelling wild allegations against acquaintances. The innocentis humiliated but his mute mode haunts and unnerves the perpetrator.  It snatches smiles and sleep from theoffender. People stay silent for a reason. There is always a cause behind everysilent soul. One particular episode kills the chirpy birds inside us. Babblingis the first and murmur, the last stage of language. We are dumbfounded sincewords loose meaning totally. The silent state of mind is the captain of ourearthly fate. Silence invites peaceful and happier moments to control thecontours and antennas. Tranquility and serenity goes off from crowd. Sealedlips is the indicator of growth, a parameter of wisdom. Cursed mind knows theart of shouting. Pursed lips capture what yelling can't.

Everysilence is not a green signal. It has different connotations. In Kashmirimarriages, a lawyer and a witness goes to record the brides consent. They shout'Parwai Nikah' (Should we go ahead with this marriage deed?) She preferssilence. We call it ""bajji kori henz choppe gai aa'nkaar (Mature bride'ssilence means yes). But not always. She may be conveying the reverse. "Pleasedon't. I am not OK with it." But who cares? We celebrate her misery as we throwher in deep stinky trench.

Anauthoritative/dictatorial regime can snatch the right to speak but they can'tfiddle with right to remain silent. This is a privilege provided we know how.When pain crashes and crosses the threshold level, the lakshman rekha, thecarrying capacity, it changes us (within) forever. We break down inhelplessness. Fine. But when we are not allowed to shed silent tears, this isfar worse when the valve to give vent to emotions is ceased. At times, notharsh words, but silence of our own hurts to the hilt. Expectations ruin lives.In post-modern hurried age, organic love is not adored, material talks.Sometimes, the tone of words carries the huge weight and burdens others.

Heartbreaksand mess-ups are inevitable chapters in our lives. Bear good patience. Ournatural pose and posture is body shamed, people make faces and pass crudecomments. Don't give explanations.  Theyare not enough. Just endure it all. Take it in. It makes us strong. The sum andsubstance of silence, as Nimra Ahmed, famed Pakistani novelist writes inMusha'f that "tolerance takes you to unimaginable heights." Silence, ifconceived, eliminates hatred and envy, removes jealousy and cynicism, andwrites off doubt and disbelief. It is an "eternal elixir" which gives life,power and action to the impulse of thought!

From JesusChrist to Sheikh-ul-Alam (r.a), the seasoned genius stayed aloof at a quietspot, far from the maddening crowd. Many a times, we are programmed to breakthe silence for petty gains and attention-seeking. Please don't. The coldshoulders of our near and dear ones submit us into silence and the departure ofour loved ones murders words. We become hollow. Silence rules the roost. Warmtears streaming from the corner of our eyes drifting downwards signify that thesilent prayer is counted by God. Sighs of despair, the silent prayers ofvictims, blast skies and definitely harm the person who troubles the innocent.We pretend to be happy and fake smiles when the silent ordeals chain our innerpeace.

Wordsdon't heal anymore. Random texts don't excite us. We write letters to our lovedones and convey gratitude and express our love but words lose meaning with thepassage of time. The script becomes irrelevant and insignificant. On the otherhand, silence teaches what sermons and lectures fail to. We rarely listen, wejust hear. The gate-keeping of whom to listen and how much is always our owndiscretion.  We can hear anyone butlistening is reserved. Some of us have always something to talk to, think aboutthe aftereffects before vomiting it out. When we talk to whom we feelconnected, we leave our stories with them. They decide to part ways and we feelempty and silent.

RobertBurns was cursed by poverty but he clothed beautiful thoughts in poetry,Beethoven was deaf but greatest music composer, Milton was blind but wrotenatural and organic poetry. Helen Keller became deaf, dumb and blind shortlyafter birth. Despite greatest misfortunes, they silently inked their namesindelibly in the pages of history after heart-breaking struggles. Silentindividuals have terrific and terrible tales to tell. They do whisper thestories but fail to receive patient ears. Once we listen, it helps to createspecial space in their hearts and minds and this magnetic relation cements further.Speech is silver, silence is gold and powerful. Dead air produces ominouseffects. Some spare words, zip the lips and hush as death. People tie tonguesand this grave silence is taken as the quiet before the storm. Time calms us.

We mustthink who is affected by our silence. Is my silence criminal at this point oftime? If Faiz Ahmed Faiz preaches Bol Ki Lab Aazaad hai Tere, rethink beforeyou subscribe to Faiz in trying and testing times when speech can sting. Let'skeep certain secrets In-camera. Bury them. Everything is not supposed to bemade public. It invites wrath. Don't speak for the time-being. Take a pause.Faiz can wait. Words pinch or polish lives, depends on their quality, literaland latent meaning. People may pull you down, don't argue at all. Once we arguewith hot heads, the scholarly pursuits die. When we die, people cry. When ourconscience dies, none cries since it dies a silent death. God created a tongueand a pair of ears. What do we infer from it? Speak less, listen more. It has boundlessbenefits if this philosophy is applied in letter and spirit.

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