The sounds of silence . . !


A wise old bird sat on an oak, The more he saw, the less he spoke, The less he spoke, the more he heard, Lord make me like that wise old bird.-Anon. For two weeks I’d stopped carrying my phone.

My friends thought I was crazy. “Bob!” they cried, “we remember when hands free mouth piece used to be clipped to your beard. It was part of your face!”

I smiled, I did remember. There was narry a moment when I was not on the phone, calling somebody or other, or sitting in my car, talking to friends, or casual acquaintances as my driver patiently heard the boring drone of my voice.

It’s been estimated that a talkative person speaks around thirty thousand words a day! But the important question is, how do my words, whether many or few affect those around me?

A Greek philosopher asked his servant to cook the best dish possible. The servant who was very wise, prepared a dish of tongue saying, “It’s the best of all dishes, for it reminds us that we may use the tongue to bless and express happiness, dispel sorrow, remove despair and spread cheer.”

The philosopher was quite intrigued by his servant’s philosophy and later asked him to cook the worst dish possible.

Again he prepared a dish of tongue, saying, “It’s the worst dish for it reminds us that we may use the tongue to curse and break hearts, destroy reputations, create strife, and set families and nations at war.”

I didn’t have to eat tongue to grasp that servant’s point, but I certainly have had to eat my own words quite often before I’ve learnt to avoid saying things I’ve had to retract later. Which is why I believe now, the less said the better.

King Solomon wrote: “The tongue of the wise promotes health.” The key word here is not tongue but ‘wise.’ The tongue is not in control but the person behind it is. Like I said it was two full weeks I stopped carrying a mobile and my friends were curious. “What do you do with your talk time now?” “I listen.”

“You listen?” they asked looking at each other with an ‘I told you so’ expression. “Yes,” I said, “I listen.” “Without a phone?” “What I listen to, “I told them, “are the sounds your phones have spoilt: The sound of the waves, of the breeze through the trees, of laughter; even the sound of silence!”

But my family insisted after those two weeks that I start carrying it again, so they could know where I was, but I’ve put it on ‘silent’ mode and reply to texts and messages when I’ve stopped listening to the beautiful sounds of silence! And how do I reply? Well, aided with those peaceful intervals of the sounds of silence I try to prudently use my tongue in a wiser way..!

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