The weekend had just began, I wanted to write something, and I asked a friend to give me a letter prompt, and she said ‘Q’.
“Really!? This is what you chose out of 26!!!” I exclaimed, with a straight face.
Nonetheless, in that instant, I had already chosen my word ‘Q’ – “Quiet”. That’s what I wanted to write about. And that’s what I wanted.
The dictionary describes ‘Quiet’ as:
- making little or no noise.
- without being disturbed or interrupted.
- carried out discreetly, secretly, or with moderation.
- absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm.
- freedom from disturbance or interruption by others.
- make or become silent, calm, tranquil, peaceful or still.
And that is how I really wanted to write about this, in quiet. It’d been more than 10 days, and I still couldn’t.
And now I wonder, is Quiet so elusive, so evanescent, or simply not affordable…
I was in the car, contemplating, in the backseat and thought to start writing. Songs of the 90’s played on the radio, and their videos played in my head while I made sense of their lyrics. Several cars were passing by. It started raining.. I could see the raindrops slant-sliding on the window of the speeding car. How pleasant is the sound of rain falling on the ground, or the roof, or the car, or a lake, or anywhere!
Then, at a café, I took my book and a pen out, set again to write . The “Hellos”, the “Good Evenings”, the “What would you like to have s”, the “Here is your sandwich/Coffee s”, the “Thank You s” and “Welcome s” mixed with indistinct chatter, some interesting conversations of people filled the air. The more I tried to NOT hear, the more I heard.
The grinding of the coffee beans, the plates being stacked, the clanking of spoons and forks, mobile phone ringing, the buzz just went on. I was startled at the realization of how easily we all had attuned ourselves to this constant disquiet.
I was then at home, and decided to write, again, while it drizzled soothingly outside. It was so quiet, I could hear the leaves of the trees rustle in the mellow breeze. Everything around was just perfect to let the words flow, but I didn’t know what to write on Quiet. We are so engrossed in this worldly noise, the talks of others and the endless lists of things to do, that most of us have forgotten to listen to our own selves. It is strange that one of the easiest things has become one so difficult. And I instantly remembered a quote I recently read – “An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuos failings of the mankind.” – Walter Bagehot
Give us some alone time, we endlessly scroll through and keep liking pictures on social media, mentally plan our next trip, or remind ourselves of our to-do list and keep working on it. We keep changing channels on the TV and finally settle for a movie/series on Netflix, some of us text/call a loved one, some paint, some exercise, some dance, some sleep, and some of us read or write!
How many of us Do Nothing? There is something on our mind, constantly. They say “Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”
Today, try being quiet for some time, your inner self will thank you for giving it that piece of peace. Contrarily, you might suddenly get overwhelmed by the turmoil of thoughts. Let them come and go, it’s okay! And that is exactly what we are talking about – Quiet your mind. Your soul knows what it needs. Listen to what it speaks, and pay heed to what it seeks. Love, rest, truth, assurance or calmness, give it.
I think “Quiet” is a very underrated word, except for in schools where the teachers ask their students to keep quiet at least a hundred times.
We all need to slowly build that connection with our self, and Quiet is an exclusive way to do it.
The quiet helped me discern that our ephemeral life only yearns happiness. For some, happiness could be a earning millions, for some it could be seeing their child smile, traveling, or meditation for some, it could be the warmth of their loved one’s arms, or a sumptuous meal, a walk by the trees or a pleasant talk, art, a beautiful song, first rain, a dance, or the waves dancing in the moonlight.. whatever you choose, it’s beautiful! And one excuse we readily have to not enjoy these amazing things, is lack of time, and lack of patience. We have all become such slaves to work and chores, that we barely have time to pay a visit to our inner self. It will not be long when we look back at the decades of our lives and only see tasks accomplished rather than moments lived.
Yes, we need sounds, more than the quiet to appreciate the life around us. However, a little bit of quiet, is a color, a flavor, a taste, an essence of goodness that must be added to the food of life. Find some quiet time every day, replenish your mind and soul. Because devotion, love, beauty, confidence, peace and faith are all savored best, in Quiet.
– Mukta Bahrani
September 8, 2017
Picture credits where due.