Sound of si­lence..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

IT’S been two weeks since I’ve stopped car­ry­ing my cell phone. My friends think I’m crazy. “Bob!” they cry, “we re­mem­ber when hands free mouth piece used to be clipped to beard. It was part of your face!”

I smile, I do re­mem­ber. There was narry a mo­ment when I was not on the phone, call­ing some­body or other, or sit­ting in car, talk­ing to friends, or ca­sual ac­quain­tances as my driver drove me around. We passed the sea, we passed mag­nif­i­cent hills but my mouth firmly fixed on se­duc­tive mouth­piece and my mind on need­less con­ver­sa­tion hardly no­ticed rolling waves or sooth­ing hills.

To­day I look and lis­ten and in the si­lence that sur­rounds me, I hear more beau­ti­ful thoughts than ever be­fore. Its been es­ti­mated that a talk­a­tive per­son speaks around thirty thou­sand words a day! But the im­por­tant ques­tion is, how do my words, whether many or few af­fect those around me?

A Greek philoso­pher asked his ser­vant to cook the best dish pos­si­ble. The ser­vant who was very wise, pre­pared a dish of tongue say­ing, “It’s the best of all dishes, for it re­minds us that we may use the tongue to bless and ex­press hap­pi­ness, dis­pel sor­row, re­move de­spair and spread cheer.”

The philoso­pher was quite in­trigued by his ser­vant’s phi­los­o­phy and later asked him to cook the worst dish pos­si­ble. Again he pre­pared a dish of tongue, say­ing, “It’s the worst dish for it re­minds us that we may use the tongue to curse and break hearts, de­stroy rep­u­ta­tions, cre­ate strife, and set fam­i­lies and na­tions at war.”

I didn’t have to eat tongue to grasp that ser­vant’s point, but I cer­tainly have had to eat my own words quite of­ten be­fore I’ve learnt to avoid say­ing things I’ve had to re­tract later. Which is why I be­lieve now, the less said the bet­ter. King Solomon wrote: “The tongue of the wise pro­motes health.” The key word here is not tongue but ‘wise.’ The tongue is not in con­trol but the per­son be­hind it is. Like I said it’s been two weeks since I stopped car­ry­ing a mo­bile and my friends are cu­ri­ous. “What do you do with your talk time now?” “I lis­ten.” “You lis­ten?” they ask look­ing at each other with an ‘I told you so’ ex­pres­sion. “Yes,” I say, “I lis­ten.” “With­out a phone?” “What I lis­ten to, “I say, “are the sounds your phones have spoilt: The sound of the waves, of the breeze through the trees, of laugh­ter; even the sound of si­lence!”

But the fam­ily in­sisted yes­ter­day that I get a phone, so they could know where I was and with that my old sounds have re­ceded once more, wait­ing pa­tiently for me to hear them again. I know they’re there, just be­hind the aw­ful ring­ing..! —Email: bob­s­ban­ter@gmail.com

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