There’s something about Simon&Garfunkel that makes you think think think. Here’s a story.
Saturday evening. An exercise addict who had decided that this was going to be a day of rest has ventured out. The grey clouds covered the setting sun and a cool breeze rustled the leaves. The dogs in the park barked playfully and children cooed and shrieked with glee. She did not want to listen to them; she plugged her ear phones and started walking. The radio was playing songs that didn’t mean much. She was restless, flipping through the radio, skipping to the walk. Suddenly, she heard a familiar tune. “Hello darkness my old friend,” and she stopped for a minute. The line just connected with her. The sound of silence breezed through her mind.
‘Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence’
Sang the duo to the arpeggios in the background, just as a huge group of women passed her, their lips moving frantically, but the girl heard only the sounds of silence. She looked up at the swishing trees and the numerous ongoing cricket games on the ground. She wanted to be alone. She turned into a lonely street and walked in the sound of silence.
‘In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
’neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence’
The light nearly blinded her and reminded her she wasn’t alone. She couldn’t be alone in this city, bustling with people at all hours. Solitude is a luxury here. And yet, people surrounded by people are lonely within, helpless and lonely. They have forgotten how to long for a friend or a companion. Friends are people who might help you in your career. Every relationship is a result of a vested interest. And yet, you are never alone.
‘And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence’
But she felt a fierce need to belong somewhere. The fancy cars, with fancy lights failed to excite her. She pitied the guys flashing the fancy mobiles and gizmos. She can’t belong here, so she seeked Silence. Solitude. Sobreity.
She walked alone, locking herself away from the world. She ignored the calls flashing on her mobile. She wanted to catch the sounds of silence.
‘Fools said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
In the wells of silence’
She jacks up the volume on her ear-piece, and drowns herself in the song. She only wants to listen to more of it. For a moment, she closes her eyes to see what the sound of silence feels like.
In the world outside her earphones a loud screech and a honk, and she falls to the ground, the headphones separated from the phone, it continues to play the song she was engulfed in and a mob gathers around her.
‘And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.’
And she’s still listening to the sound of silence…