Silence is the most underrated of all emotions. It sometimes conveys feelings which a spoken word cannot. Silly as it may sound, even a silent environment communicates thoughts to us with a clarity that cannot be found in oral and written communication. Communication may not necessarily be between two people. If you tuned your ears a little bit, you could feel your surroundings communicate to you. I don't mean the walls saying "Hello, how are you?", I just mean that a calm and quiet environment clears your mind and makes you think better, it gives you a clarity which the hustle and bustle of a crowded environment does not. We, in our everyday lives are surrounded by noises, both external and internal. We commute in crowded buses, trains, and traffic engulfed with issues of our own, that more often than not we end up overlooking the little doses of happiness that comes with the smallest of things. We are so busy on our search for the bigger things in life that we end up ignoring those little moments of happiness and satisfaction which we encounter.
I have lived two decades of my life in a small town. I have grown up in that small town where I have made quite a few friends during my school years. There were places where I used to hang out with my friends where I spent my evenings indulging in the shenanigans and gossip that only adolescents do. As I walk past our old haunts on my way to work I seldom get the time to reminisce about the good times I had. It takes me two hours to commute from work and another two hours back home, so needless to say I am always in a hurry with an irritation written large over my face and my mind clouded with thoughts on how bad my day at work would be.When asked why I don't move to the city by friends and colleagues, I give a rehearsed emotionless response much like a schoolboy reciting the multiplication tables - "I have been there all my life, I will move to the city maybe when the time comes". Deep within I loathe the facilities that the city dwellers enjoy. Pizza delivery in less than thirty minutes, less frequent power cuts, a mall in every corner, the facility of having tickets booked for a movie delivered right at your doorstep, good schools and hospitals, a service center for every electrical appliance and gadget just a stone's throw away from home, supermarkets where you get everything you want. Who would not want to move into the city that offered such privileges? I always made myself believe that I was giving the right answer, but sometimes the right answers are there in front of us. All we need to do is to walk the distance to find it.
I return home from a tough day at work wherein I rub shoulders, figuratively, with passengers in crowded trains and buses. The noise, the chaos, the lethargic pace at which the buses and trains move, and the urge to reach home early does me no good as I end up cursing everyone in my breath. By the time I reach home, all I want to do is to slouch on my couch and watch some sitcoms and then curl up in bed dreading another long day of travel and misery. But sometimes all our plans go for a toss when we are asked to get off our couch and do a chore much to our disliking. That may have been an event we may not have planned for, but it is in the unplanned events that we end up finding what we were all the while looking for.
It had been a long time since I had walked the streets at night. My everyday routine included home->work->home, while the weekends were mostly spent catching up on lost sleep. So when I stepped out of the door with the Incredible Sulk on my face that would be a trending topic on twitter only next to #pontingface, little did I realize that the sulk on my face would be replaced with a look of content when I walked back in. I walked the first few meters muttering under my breath for the gross injustice that was meted out to a "working class hero" like me. I may not ask for a bottle of cold beer after a hard day's work, but I do need a little bit of T.V time to watch sitcoms that were laced with pre-recorded laughter, and reruns of yesteryear's cricket matches to make me feel better. As I walked past the secluded streets that night, I could feel the cool air hit my face and erase the smug look that it had been wearing. The streets seemed completely inhabited with people, there were the occasional walkers who were returning back home after a tiring day, the shutter of the last few shops that were opened was being bought down.
It was a moonlit sky that seemed to complement the silence of the night. Slowly all my complaints against my small little town seemed to have vanished. I finally had some time to reminisce the good old times I had spent while growing up, as I walked past my old haunts at a leisurely pace. I realized that while I was busy living my life in a hurry complaining about everything that I had, I had failed to acknowledge everything that I had been blessed with. I live in a neighborhood that may not have a Pizza Corner or a McDonald's, where potholes may be more in number than speed breakers, where power-cuts are as frequent planes flying in and out of Heathrow. Yet it was a walk on a silent and moonlit night that made me realize that Home is where the Heart is.
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