Silent Treatment, Day 1

Ever since I read the Emily Yoffe’s article, I always wanted to try an experimental vow of silence – the “maun vrat”. But just like my every other plan, this too came unplanned. I just saw Abhineet off (who, by the way, seemed to be okay, but I believe in the depths of insider stories rather than ripples of surface courtesy) and was coming back from Madhuban Chowk when I suddenly, inexplicably realised –  the moment had come.

I had always imagined it to be a surreal experience. We people are so used to broadcast ourselves that we have stopped to actually listen to people around us. They have reduced to mere springboards for our own echo. And I didn’t want any of it – I wanted be like a cool, calm, hip Buddha under the tree. So, I thought I’ll be this sponge which will absorb all the knowledge, good or bad, without my own bias filtering through.

But I guess dreams should remain dreams. Ironically and as a separate concern, I had all kinds of (actual) scary dreams even before I could witness the first sun of my “silent” week. In all of them, I was in various places, mostly with Megha and laughing with her how the idea was stupid and how I had broken my vow. Mind you, it was just 4 hours since I tied my tongue.

When I woke up to realise they were silly, funny dreams, I laughed (silently). But then to my utter horror, I realised a bigger truth, that my sub-conscious didn’t believe in me to just shut up. And I have to concede, that part of my brain knows me well enough.

It is very difficult not to talk. You may think to see is far more important but trust me when I tell you one just can’t live without a voice. Even when people don’t have audible voice – they develop a gesture based language; when they can’t be seen, they develop a written language. It is a basic need for humans to communicate. I learned it the hard way.

I was sitting with Mummy in the morning when she was talking about random things. But I couldn’t get myself interested because I was feeling no better than a piece of furniture. And I couldn’t even communicate how her talk was only infuriating rather than exciting me; she blissfully unaware of the turmoil inside me briefed me about the recent Ramdev saga and tabla. I had to finally type her a message (Rulebreak#1). She read, laughed and went on about her business. As she was going out, Surbhi called. I handed the call to Mummy and explained to her in sign language that I couldn’t talk due to Maun Vrat. She passed on the message to Surbhi on the line. When I met Surbhi downstairs, I handed her the things she needed and when finally parting, I had to gesture so that she could know Mummy was not joking. Her eyes went big in surprise and she went away laughing. I came back.

After Mummy and Papa had gone to office I was alone. For the next 7 hours, I was simply feeding myself with recent MS news and Joss. In-between I forgot my silent vow. I instructed Nancy to not irritate me (Rulebreak#2). And then Vishu came to give some prasad from their recent visit. I started chatting (!) and laughing with her, when I just hushed myself (Rulebreak#3). I gestured so she could know I couldn’t speak. I decided to be more careful.

But I had no reason to be. Until about 7 pm, I had no contact whatsoever with the outside world. But then came Mummy and I was doing well when Megha’s SOS message came to fetch her from bus stop. I  asked Mummy, amid the hurry to rush out, to give Rs 100 (Rulebreak#4). In my defense, it was better this time around. I had caught myself mid-sentence. Getting better!

When I reached bus stop Megha was not there. Wow. When a hero goes to the rescue  of a damsel-in-distress who in turn keeps him waiting, disappointment is not the only feeling possible, anger is also imminent. I was burning and imagining all kinds of retorts when after about five minutes I spotted Megha. She was beaming at me and updated me on how her exams went (she has got a surefire bach, by the way). Since she was expecting no kind of feedback she told me about many general things on the way back home. In no time, my anger ebbed away and I was genuinely interested in her ramblings (This served an important lesson to me – the first one from this experiment –  but I’ll serve the results of my experiences as a sum total at the end of the week alongwith many others over the period).

It was on the mobile recharge shop that things got interesting. I had to somehow tell Megha that I wanted a 49 Voda message card without actually telling. But I relaxed the rules for the moment and tried to play sign language with her until she made me type ‘49’ on the cell. And when he asked for my phone number, I fumbled for my cell as I couldn’t tell him my number. He showed sympathy and offered calculator to type in my number. But he remained professional like nothing odd was going on. Nice!

Well, I came home and was helping Mummy with some chores in the kitchen. When she asked me how many chapatis I wanted for dinner, I was already feeling quite guilty and reckless for my behaviour since the afternoon. Thus I simply gestured I don’t know. But she needed a clear number and (rightfully) was irate that I was selfish enough to ask for money just minutes earlier but couldn’t blurt a single letter now. When Megha came to me for my bit on this infuriating oddity of mine, I explained how I beamed a sign of two, but Mummy must have missed it (my gesture for her was a combination of a surprise and a two made by fingers; don’t underestimate the power of sign language). It was enough to cool people down, but the murky details lie with me which I have confessed here so you can see how difficult it is to play by the rules when you are the one who makes them. You just don’t know whether to relax them and when. Anything can go wrong. And thus I made them clearer – no talking, no lipsing, no texting, no communication except rudimentary gestures.

Everyone was settling in their beds by now, and I spent another 2-3 hours searching for more MS news (Xbox just got a Metro update. Yay!). And just now, I was trying to explain to Papa how Nancy found sitting on my bed doesn’t equate my explicit permission but only passive ignorance. I committed a grave mistake in the process, unfortunately (Rulebreak#5).

The pattern here is I’m more prone to my forgetfulness after prolonged periods of being alone. Have to be careful tomorrow!

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Published in: on 7 Jun '11 at 2 pm  Comments (2)  

Am I lucky enough to eat fruits of my (misdirected) labour?

I have known since eternity, I am not certainly a person who can nourish a plant and watch it grow patiently, however much I want. I basically add water, add manure, give shade and fan the seed for a day. Next day I see sprouts. Hey! I run  excitedly to people around me, who look at me back coolly, ‘What?’ I then jump up and down to make them see my new soon-to-be tree. They see disinterested (every crowd behaves eerily the same). I am a little hurt (0k… maybe a little more). Can’t they people see?! It’s a brand new tree! I make a resolve. Not to talk to those people again. They will see the seedling grow into a big, bad tree. And when I’ll be basking in the glory (and shade) of that tree, they will feel jealous they didn’t listen.

I come back to my seed. Oh no! I forgot the water. I run and get the water, the food… but wait shade is not that important. First let me update an FB status how my plant is growing. After a few days of work, I grow restless. Can’t this plant grow faster? But no, this takes time, I reason. But manure is needed now. Which particular brand should I use? And the quantity? I refer to net, experienced people…. whichever source of information I get my hands on. And it mostly is Wikipedia. Now everyone knows how evil that site is. It is a jumbled forest. No one knows why did they enter the forest in the first place. I somehow start discovering why Big Bang is rejected by some cosmologists. In the end, I am tired. And I go to bed. My tree is hungry. There is a guilt. But I’ll make up for it the next day.

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Published in: on 1 Jan '11 at 3 am  Comments (2)  

Diary of a… Diary

Wed, 17 Nov ’10
19:39

Dear Diary (that’s me!),

I was discovered when people started scribbling on caves. Historians have got it all wrong; the cavemen didn’t do those paintings for future generations. They did those paintings for their record. That’s why they were in caves so no one could see them. Duh!Since then, people share with me their deepest secrets. i loved to be the secretkeeper. But it has become a burden for me. So much so that I have to maintain my own diary so I myself don’t go insane.

Moreover, they irritate me with their so-called literature! Excellent works were done 200-300 years back. Since then writing habits have deteriorated to the point that I just have to close my eyes shut and my ears shut but their sights pierce my eyes and their voices pierce my ears; they are actually so much boring. Earlier it was more poetic and euphemistic; nowadays they just need a pen but no brain: just blabber on and on – expletives included – thinking no one will ever gonna read it. I’m reading it, you fool! Put a little more effort. Even they themselves read it again.

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Published in: on 21 Nov '10 at 11 pm  Comments (4)  

Can there be a perfect post?

I don’t remember when I wrote my last post. I got my lappie two weeks back. And since having Windows Live Writer, I always fuss about the formatting and the not the writing itself.

Well it’s not completely true. I fuss just too much on content too. There are a dozen drafts living in my dashboard since eternity. And many have died the cruel and sudden death of a whimsical delete button. After writing two paragraphs I start afresh thinking of a new idea. Even as I write this post, many things pull me away from it. I’m on and off the computer more than the net words I’ve written right now.

So I’ll explain how it all happens. Firstly, I notice I’ve not written my blog for quite some time now. I open it and just drool over  (for approximately 5 minutes) how nice looking the whole interface is and thank wordpress for it. Then I wonder if there exists any soul in the world who sees this beautiful webpage. Bang comes the dashboard and the stats in front of me. If I get a spike in recent views from 2 to jaw-dropping 3, I get excited enough to finally put FB aside and click the ‘new post’.

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Published in: on 17 Nov '10 at 12 am  Comments (1)