The sound of silenced world

(Abid Latif, )

Areesha Latif
“If a tree falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

If I scream in the silence, will anyone be around to hear it?”

I think of it as I sit there in the waiting room for my dentist’s appointment. Tossing the phone between my hands, succumbing to the surge of rising unrest until the door knocks and I am informed, it was my turn.

Going to the dentist’s and waiting in the ‘waiting room’ has always been my favorite part, I would usually find myself seeking out for human interactions. The scene of five to six women, sitting around a well carved wooden table covered with magazines and scattered newspapers, a spherical clock that hung on the top of the door fringe that seemed dull of life but savior of all those women who sit there and eye it in utter awe with the hope of being called any minute for the appointment. Interestingly, all of them craved human interaction as much as I did, for making an escape from the tiresome wait but none would make the first move and would delve into their mobile screens or would plug in the hand free, instead. Frown on the face too obvious to be noticed and the eyes reeling a little left and a little right in order to see what the next person is onto. I would often observe and laugh over this occurrence. On each appointment I experienced almost the same scenario but just with different women,every time. For numerous times I planned to make the first move in conversing but each time I would find myself carrying a book along or staring at my blank phone-screen, probably emanating a different vibe of ignorance or introverted or maybe just not interested, to others, reason why we don’t interact with each other on such public gatherings, anymore? Our gestures and body language plays as the agents of limiting our social circle and defining our definition of social reality.

What changed my conventionally knitted ideas of human bonding and initiative of interaction was the sight of vulnerability covered with instant happiness. It was my last follow-up appointment and maybe the last time to experience the air of a dentist’s waiting room. I entered the waiting room, this time with no phone in hand or cradling any book in my arm. I sat on one of the well cushioned chairs, after about 15 minutes an elderly woman came in finding a place right beside me. Without actually planning an interaction beforehand or without thinking about the age gap in-between she started talking to me. We exchanged some sentences, traded some words till I could feel the other women taking interest in what we were talking, smiling at us as an attempt to be a part of our communication, vulnerable to be a part of a social interaction. Within few minutes the waiting room was full of chatters and giggles ranging from high pitched to low pitched voices. Nobody cared who initiated, all wanted to join in. I realized it wasn’t any sort of special interaction or it wasn’t a debate over some particular topic but simple daily chores related discussion that had us all absorbed in glee and immersed by the sense of being full, complete and being socially heard.

We all experience such realizations every now and then that we don’t take heed on. These realizations aren’t just your social fears laced with insecurities but your soul striving for communication. We live in haphazard of 21st century, where a man’s best ornament is his branded gadgets and maybe the only companion, as well. We run a race against our natural instincts for material luring.The reason why we find ourselves alone and detached for all the days we are to live. We’ve build a set pattern to follow, a set of external criteria to live our life according to underlying a hard set of rules to follow in communication, too, Just like animals, humans have deep impulses as well . But unlike animals, humans give up on their impulses following these external set criteria’s and strident rules. Discovering these impulses and their process of manifestation is discovering the long forgotten self. Just like that, naturally, since birth we cater a strong impulse for communication and interaction but by involving external patterns and criteria’s we call forth self-harm and under nourishment of our personality which resultin a struggle to acquire more knowledge that would calm the upheaval within, we only expand the horizons of the unknown, creating a vertigo.
(The author is a freelance writer, based in Lahore)


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