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Silence is still golden

chandigarh Updated: Jun 11, 2013 09:21 IST
Rohit Gupta

It definitely rings a bell: A repeated lie said aloud becomes the truth but a truth said against it gently is considered a lie. It might be an adage, a truism or a plain speak but its categorisation would not rob it of its unfair hold on the mindscape of we the people.

No, you need not brace yourself up for a primer in the philosophy of ethics...there are sufficient men of God and early morning SMSes to see us through on that front.

In a time not so long ago, it was not such a vice to speak little. At least you were not an oddball. To behave thus in the present times would subject one to delightful epithets: arrogant, rude, snob, bore, lacks colour, out-of-place, mute spectator etc. The only defence that one can come up with against such a branding is to say, "I am a good listener."

Speakathons are the order of the day and any male worth his salt would vie to beat his lady to it. That's another matter that he would still have the gall to ridicule the second sex (i.e. womenfolk) for their talkative ways. These speakathons exhibit a distinct character, a total absence of conversation.

Whereas a conversation proceeds due to empathy, a speakathon prospers due to a complete lack of it. A typical one would be like this: A says: "I am vacationing in the Netherlands this year." B replies, "Oh come on! I just gifted my wife a Bentley."

Silence is perceived as a sign of meekness and a disease that should not be allowed to surface. In pursuit of the battle against silence, the twittering mankind has another friend in the form of cyber chat rooms whose revellers are unfailingly courteous by welcoming the debutant with a warm 'asl plz?' question. At the peak of a chat room one would be astonished at the noise that written words can generate, so that nothing can be heard (correction read). A food for thought for the environmentalists: invent an index meter for measuring cyber decibel levels and take the fight to the virtual world.

While this battle is on let's not fail to thank our other allies; cellphones, tablets, phablets, Skype, Viber, What's App, telemarketers and spams. It would have been so lonely without them.

Wisdom demands that a person should not cling to prejudices and should be open to new ideas. Therefore, it is important to relearn the connotations of age-old words. 'Verbose' and 'vociferous' should not be understood as adjectives with aggressive or negative imports. The survival of one's expressive and articulate self is contingent on these in the present times.

So seize verbosity and be vociferous and one-upmanship shall be yours. Let you not be inhibited in the use of anything hackneyed. Let originality be damned and subtlety be cursed.

Lest all this be construed as a tirade against the freedom of speech, allow me to clarify: I am a John Milton supporter and I believe that the gift of the gab is a human virtue and oratorical skills are a blessing and I am guilty of having indulged in a speakathon and still lampoon it, but silence is still golden!

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