We talk about our work, the mundane occurrences of the day,
And before long we get silent, running out of things to say,
You have your share of problems, and I have my share,
Exhausted, we just give each other an understanding stare.
We talk about our plans, the life and events beyond today,
And soon enough we get silent, stuck at whatif and may,
Consensus is the answer, and we still ask the why,
Distracted, we just give each other an expectant sigh.
We talk about our dreams, the ocean’s bottom and mountain peak,
And right away we get silent, having nothing left to speak,
Dreaming was never our thing, just cold coffee and a warm hug,
Confounded, we just give each other an imaginary shrug.
We talk about our fears, the ones still waiting for their turn,
And we get so silent, we can hear the air around start to burn,
Courting fear was stupid, and yet we didn’t stop to consider,
Scared, we just give each other a frightened shudder.
Like a shadow conversing with its own reflection,
Using light as their language and instruction,
We talk without the need to ever stop and listen,
Because every word is its own freedom and prison.
To comprehend the torture of words, listen to someone talk,
Every attempt to communicate, they seem to secretly mock,
Every sentence, a string of notes in a wastrel’s lullaby,
When all of language can be expressed in just monosyllabi.
This one is for a long pending Beacon, Swanand Kirkire. The exquisite choice of words in his song Tere Mere Darmiyaan are perfectly evocative and reflective at the same time about the nature of language and purpose words serve in a relationship. We think relationships are about talking and communicating, which is partly true and false. It is about communicating, but not necessarily talking. Ever observe how you sit someone down for a chat, and the initial torrent drains away, and within minutes, you’re left with nothing to say. We all have things we want to say, but not enough people who want to listen. There’s a reason for that, we’re the only ones in love with our voice. So everyone else would also rather talk than listen.
The problem with words, is that they require hearing. Feelings require understanding. Words are chosen to express feelings, and they land in the ground between hearing and understanding, listening. You can tell how long people have known each other by how much they talk, and how long people have understood each other by how little they talk. People who have spent decades with each other, are the most silent. Words just get in the way. They take away the essence of emotion, and throw it away during translation. Don’t get me wrong. It is not the word’s fault. Our vocabulary is limited, and when we try to write the square of infinity in a notebook, we lose most of infinity.