In the first week of a long vacation, Iris is back with her weekend post. The laptop is running on battery, Internet connectivity is at its least possible speed. At the moment, there seems to be no trace of electricity, with thunder storms greeting me to the charms of the east. The shadow of bougainvilleas, calmness of the streets, smell of damp earth, and the extreme quietness of the place leads me to turn poetic or philosophical. The hulla of my own world, chaos of my thoughts, and the calmness of this place are so deeply contradicting one another.
It is going to be an erratic one month. Not sure how often will I be able to get in touch with my readers through this month.
Since the mood is philosophical, thought about sharing some of my musings on the ‘unspoken’. What do you think of the unspoken? Recently, a student wrote a lovely line to me: “ whatever we speak, there is still some beauty in the unspoken”. I have been thinking about the unspoken aspects since.
Actually, it is true – we are so literally understood by what we say that what is left unsaid is something that either no one cares to interpret or else we are apprehensive to interpret. A person is usually adjudged by the personality that she/ he projects to the external world through what she/ he says or does – but what remains within is something that the world hardly tries to penetrate. Who has the time or patience? If you have seen the movie Mera Naam Joker you might understand my implication. In that movie, the character of the protagonist (Raj Kapoor) is taken literally, as a ‘joker’, a ‘clown’ and his love which perhaps was more serious than the love of all the other male characters in the movie, is interpreted as a comedy by the ladies. His story remains incomplete because he is seen as a frivolous character, with hardly any show of substance or rationality. The joker’s deep philosophy on the nature of life and love as an experience is misinterpreted as ‘non-seriousness’ and the rest of his actual feelings remain unspoken till his death.
The unsaid has its root in human life and human personality. What we read as ‘history’ is the said aspects of human civilization, but what we take as rumour might be a part of the unspoken aspects of human histories that somehow were swept under the carpet of time. I can recollect such an aspect from the memory of a play that I had once seen during my first year at Performing Arts Festival (PAF) at IIT. The story was about the unspoken aspect of Shahjehan and Mumtaz Mahal’s love story culminating in the Taj Mahal. In that particular PAF play, they had shown that apparently there is a conspiracy theory that the Taj was built with Mumtaz being forced to die in order to give her name to the monument, and to make a great love-story out of her death. I don’t know what were the sources for that play, but they had actually beautifully depicted the unspoken aspects of histories that do not get written in any text-book.
Love-stories and mystery thrillers particularly rest on the trope of the unspoken. They invite you to keep questioning on ‘really?’, ‘what happened next?’ and other such aspects. Real life love stories are heavily dependent on the unspoken. What is said is just a part of the entire gamut of things that remain unsaid. I have seen friends and people whom I know who are in love, keep harping the point that ‘oh there is so much to know about her/him’, there is so much to talk about. Possibly, it is that pull of the unspoken because of which people spend hours over phone (I am against such hour long conversations in principle 🙂 ), trying to know more about the other.
Perhaps, this burden of the unspoken also forms the core reason behind divorces, and break-ups. In the entire lot that has been said, there also remain a lot that goes unsaid – because of communication gaps. How often you think of friends, family, or colleagues who have distanced themselves from you because of the unsaid words that cluttered up between you and them? Have you had a friend or a person whom you really loved a lot but with whom you haven’t spoken for months or years? It is when the unspoken piles up beyond proportion that communication failure occurs. You wish to get in touch or speak to this person for months and years on, but then the weight of words and the weight of that which remains unsaid are so high that finally the necessity of communicating get destroyed. Relationships are so fragile that a few words have the power of destroying or building them beyond imagination.
Not only in love, in professional life too the unspoken has so much of a presence that spoken words get completely interpreted, re-interpreted, and mis-interpreted along the lines of the unspoken. Somewhere you are able to defend the unspoken and at some places, spoken words go defenseless.
The purpose of this brief post was to highlight the necessity of not only the unsaid, but also that which is said. We need sometimes to speak-up our minds, to clear up miscommunication, to talk, and get in touch with people who are important in our lives. Yes, some aspects are better left unsaid, but many more need words and courage. What I feel unfortunate in case of spoken words are, when the character of people, their integrity, their commitment, their dedication towards relationships and life are adjudged along what they speak and what they do not. A joker, or a clown doesn’t necessarily mean to be a joker – it’s just the surface. People choose friends or partners as per their appearances or their outward seriousness of disposition – who assesses the magnitude of what the person is ‘not’ displaying?
With that, I concede that some weeks of Iris may remain unspoken….. Hope to meet you all sometime soon, no idea when exactly, depends on my mood and time. Till then, humming this favourite number of Gulzar saab from the movie Thodi si Bewafai which seem to echo my thoughts on the unspoken:
Unhen yeh zidd ki hum bulaate,
Hamen yeh umeed ke woh pukaare
Hain naam hothon pe ab bhi lekin,
Awwaz mein pad gayi daraare…
Hazaar rahen mudke dekhi,
Kahin se koi sada na aayi..
Badi wafa se nibhayi tumne,
Hamari thodi si bewafaii…
(Rough transl.: They were obstinate to wait for my call, and I had the hope that they will call me first. The names still linger on our lips, but the wall of voices within have now cracked….Thousands of miles I turned back to see if you would call me once, but there has been not a single call through these miles…How faithfully have you abided by my slight unfaithfulness)