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No silence please, we're Indians!

Indians have always been averse to silence. No wait, that's an understatement...they have a morbid fear of it! Put two Indians together (well, most of them anyway) and they'll find something to talk about because they are just not programmed to be seated in silence. So, whether it's a doctor's waiting room, a railway station, a bus stop or a box office queue - you'll find lots of yakking. I use that term because people speak about the most absurd things...a liver operation...a broken water tank...the neighbour who parks in front of their house...the good ol' days...you must hand it over to us for filling the air with words.

And my theory is, Indians do this because they fear quietude and silence. To us, silence means something is wrong (Itna sannaata kyun hai bhai? is the perfect example). That's because we are brought up either in a joint family structure or a closed neighbourhood environment. Your house was always full of relatives. their relatives, neighbours, their neighbours and so on. You probably shared your room with a sibling and never had a moment's peace. Even if you were an only child, there are always cousins...you get the drift.

Now, take places like gyms, joggers parks and beauty parlours. These are the places you go to rejuvenate, not talk. In fact, these are the places where you want some peace. Go to any Western country, and these places are fountains of calm. Everybody goes about their business and no one bothers you with their gall bladder story. Take a beauty parlour (and this is from personal experience!)...you go there expecting to relax, but end up between a crossfire of gossip among women of all skin types. Even if there are no customers, the beauticians share their domestic lives over your head as if the fact that you have a face pack on also makes you deaf, and rather non-existent.

Take our movies. Mainstream Bollywood has never really exploited the power of silence to convey the gravity of a scene. Even if there are no dialogues, be sure there will be some heavy 'background' music that nearly deafens you.

I am sure a lot of people enjoy these conversations and count it as one of the better traits of Indians. But I have always savoured silence and I hate speaking just for the sake of it...especially when the subject is yawningly absurd. But like everything else you get used to it...part of being an Indian, you know.
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