Sound of Silence

Sound of silence:

With the standstill of lockdown we heard something we normally never do

Sound of silence: With the standstill of lockdown we heard something we normally never do

It was something which I knew but couldn’t quite place. It was like seeing a familiar face in unfamiliar surroundings so that for a moment you don’t quite recognise the person.

Then I finally figured out what it was. I had come across it before, in the sea of sand dunes that stretches out beyond Jaisalmer, and in the deep forests of the mountain retreat of Jilling which is run by my friend Steve Lal. But I had seldom, if ever, encountered it in a city, which is why it took me a while to identify what it was: the sound of silence.

It is a sound rarely heard in cities, with their crowded streets, the rush and roar of traffic. But with the lockdown, the roads were deserted, and all that empty space got filled by silence.

Silence doesn’t mean the absence of sound. It has a sound, a resonance or, rather, it has many, almost undetectable sounds which make up a symphony which we feel rather than hear.

In the desert outside Jaisalmer, the silence had been composed of the whispered sigh of sand caressed by the invisible hand of the wind. In Jilling the silence had been different; the gossipy conversation of breeze-ruffled leaves, the deep exhalation of giant trees, and in distant counterpoint the lone call of a jungle fowl.

To such sounds of silence are added the undertones of our own breathing, the murmur of heartbeat, the tidal pulse of blood within us.

There is something called Brownian motion, named after a 19th century Scottish scientist called Robert Brown who first noted it, which consists of molecular interaction and acts as a kind of background static that you get in between channels on a TV set, a faint buzz.

The 20-acre complex where we live in Gurgaon is surrounded by high-rise buildings, with the result that our colony has become a sanctuary for birds and other seekers of refuge from the concrete wasteland.

The aria of birdsong and the scurry and scamper of squirrels has added to the stillness of lockdown, contributing to the sound of silence. A sound that, post-lockdown, will be drowned in a raging tidal wave of noise.


DISCLAIMER: Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Excerpts from a Blog in the Editorial Times of India newspaper


Published by Shobha Iyer

Always be Happy; always wear a Smile, Not because Life is full of reasons to Smile, but because your Smile itself maybe a reason for many others to Smile ;The Greatest Thing In Life Is Love And The Second Is Laughter..

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