A great man once remarked that he regretted his speech but never his silences. Perhaps, he has never faced the kind of silences that I am going to write about in this post. Well, the awkward silence that hangs heavy after a few minutes after being introduced to someone and having completed initial pleasantries; the silence that hovers when you have finished what you want to say but the listener at the other end does not hang up. These silences are something that I am not very comfortable with. And almost every time the person with whom these ‘silent’ episodes occur are people whom we either know very well or people whom we don’t know at all. Let me illustrate.
You attend a lecture by a very eminent person. While reading that person’s work, you feel that you have a lot to ask him/her but when you get the chance and get introduced to that person; you are unable to talk any further than the initial usual pleasantries. Your Professor, with whom you have good relations with, calls you up for asking some information about the timings of the local library. You give her the required information but she does not hang up . . . she expects that you would like to talk something to her and vice-versa. Silence. It is very difficult for me to pick up courage and say, ‘Okay, then, I will speak to you later’ because you think it is impolite to hang up when someone of that position calls you. Well, one has to wait patiently till the person at the other end gets impatient and says, ‘Okay, then, I will speak to you later.’ Relief. Now, this has to be the most interesting. You go to a social gathering and spot your friend. The friend who is extra social would like you to meet all his friends. And so, he decides to introduce you to his most exciting buddy. Well, the exciting buddy smiles after being introduced and does not even attempt to make a conversation while you are bursting with enthusiasm to answer his questions. Silence. Help comes in the form of spotting another friend and excusing oneself. Well, you might think that I could have started a conversation . . . Sometimes one is content with the social circle one has and so it becomes a bit boring to initiate these kinds of conversations. After all, don’t I have enough friends!!! (Is there something as enough when it comes to friends?) Another awkward silence is when I write in someone’s blog and the blogger is oblivious to my presence in her/his blog and is ‘silent.’ The blogger at the other end does not make any effort to acknowledge me by either visiting me or even replying to my comment on his/her blog. Well, I am not complaining for I know that time is always the constraining factor! Dear reader, how do you tackle silences that are not meditative and reflective?