He stood there, clueless. After all, this was what his elder brother had been. This was what his father had been. This was what he was “meant” to be. They were in the living room. They seemed so happy. So normal. Should he speak? Or should he just “suck it up and man up”, as they used to say? With these poignant thoughts, he drudged his way back to his room, like he had a hundred times before, to man up and study for his entrance exams, for he was “meant” to be an engineer.
Silence - the unspoken covenant with parents, friends, teachers, and basically everyone. Where your inhibition gets the better of you, and you decide it isn’t worth the effort to speak up. Where you decide to not tell your parents that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t like what you were doing and needed something else. Or you didn’t confess your feelings to that girl, till some other guy did.
Silence. It is an emotional gulf because choosing not to express is not the same as not feeling. Friends get lost, relationships wear out, and gaps increase, when you decide that your silence and ego are worth more to you than what you care about. Be it your fear of rejection, judgment, mockery, or any similar inhibition. And all humans live for love, don’t they? Then why let your silence cast you aside? Think aside from your own self. Every single day, there is a guy littering on the roadside, some ruffian harassing a girl, some guy robbing some poor old lady. Everything that you see, but choose to cast aside, because you are too preoccupied in the meanderings of your own little world. Because you think these things don’t concern you. Sadly, you’re also the first one to let out a long disappointed sigh when some random news flash talks of the bad state of law and order or hygiene in our nation. Such hypocrisy.
Silence - where the stillness is more dynamic than the chaos of the real world. For in that silence lie your deepest secrets, your darkest fears, your most fervent hopes. For that silence could be momentary or all pervasive, the master or the slave, all at your whim. Don’t let it control you. Don’t let it be a gulf.
Go out more often, meet your friends, spend time with them and tell them how much they mean to you. See your parents more often, wherever you might be, for they won’t always be here. Go talk to that pretty girl, or the answer will always be a “no”. Don’t let your silence be the reason you lost out on love and life, because you were too proud or scared. Don’t let the fear of judgment cloud your vision. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back, for you’re always a reject unless you try. Try, and if you fail try harder. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t just because they couldn’t.
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King took the world by a storm with this speech “I have a dream”. As a popular sitcom reference goes, imagine what’d happen if he had said “I have a dream, but I don’t want to talk about it”. Don’t let your silence hold you back. You don’t need to be an eloquent speaker or the president of your debate club. All you need to do is express. Don’t let distances increase because you don’t have the time or courage to speak. It is your life. Make it large. Because at the end of it all, you only regret the chances you didn’t take.
Photography By: Karthik KS