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Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk, don't speak

Journalism makes philophers out of ordinary beings. After a whole day of frantic news gathering, page making and nearly succumbing to deadline pressure, I often wonder how people manage to still exercise their grey cells. But my colleague does. Yesterday, he told me, "We don't live, we just exist." That set me thinking...

A week back I had taken one of my friends to Shivaji Park. It was my friend's first trip there. You guessed it right. He's not from Mumbai though he has lived here for two years. My friend was too taken in by the beauty of the place - yes, it does look good after two months of rain, with its overgrown grass and few peddlars of chana. But more than that, he was surprised to see people idling around on the parapet, chatting mindlessly till the sun went down and 'the day melted into the night'. It was something he hadn't experienced before in this city. And he was amazed that he could do something like this in the heart of Mumbai.
I didn't even know my friend could talk. Now, people say I can make even a rock talk, but my friend was a tough nut to crack. At work, he rarely spoke. And when he did - he freakishly spoke more about others than he did about himself. But strangely, that Saturday evening at Shivaji Park, my friend displayed his communication skills to the fullest. This was the first real conversation I had with him and I can't really get over the fact that I had earlier dismissed him as a poor talker. By the end of the day, I asked him why a person like him wouldn't talk much. He said, "I don't feel the need to."
Later, another friend told me the same thing. He was known as one of the quiet ones in college and most people were surprised that somebody like him could befriend a chatterbox like me. Little did they know about El's fabulous sense of humour and the art of maaroing PJs. When one of the bosses in the organisation called him 'quiet', I couldn't really digest it. But then again, El talks only to some people. And I am among the privileged few.
Most of us in the city (yes, it's an urban trait) spend our waking hours chasing all the things that we think would make us happy when all we need is a simple conversation. Deep - isn't it? But think of it. With all the technology we have at our disposal - cellphones, communicators, emails, voicemails, etc but all we do is speak. We don't talk anymore. Talking requires more interpersonal interaction than speaking does. And somewhere in the midst of this so call media and communications boom, we have lost the basic art of conversation. We all speak but rarely do we talk.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

all I can say is:
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

and this...

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;

life is beautiful said...

speak, don't talk.