I took the vow of silence for a day | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 04, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:47 AM, February 04, 2021

I took the vow of silence for a day

How important are words to you? With all the noise and chaos around me, I decided to go on silent mode for a day. Here's how it went.

The rule was simple. Don't utter a single word the whole day. My initial plan was to cease all communication which meant no texting, no eye contact, and no gestures but I had to bend the rules a little.

9 AM: I didn't plan to go all cold turkey on this specific day so my family and friends had no prior notice of my act. As soon as I woke up, my hands went straight to autopilot mode and I texted in bed. In consequence, I unintentionally broke the rule of not texting.

10 AM: By this time I let my mom know I was not going to be talking all day. I found myself getting more animated in conveying messages than I would if I had talked. The idea was to communicate as little as possible, ergo I had to do all my tasks by myself avoiding assistance from anyone around me.

12:30 PM: I was going strong as ever. I tried my best to keep away from my phone as much as possible and text only when needed.

3 PM: At around this time I realised that I was thinking a lot. Since one of my senses was diminished the others were heightened. Although I felt the urge to talk back when someone tried to strike up a conversation around me, I managed to suppress that desire.

5 PM: This is where my progress faltered. I got a call on my cell and without thinking, I picked up and said "Hello." My voice sounded alien to me and just then I handed over the phone to my dad. I was dreading my mistake but my family encouraged me to continue with the task.

6:30 PM: After that little hiccup, things got more real. I was more determined to finish this without any more obstacles. For some reason, I felt emotionally exhausted. My mind was going a million miles an hour. I was afraid that I was going to think out loud.

8 PM: Eating helps. It certainly does. Subconsciously I was forcing my jaws shut which resulted in a weird tightness around my mouth. Chewing helped ease the tension a little.

10:30 PM: I got used to not speaking but it still wasn't fun.

12 AM: All my effort built up to this very moment. It was the last stretch of my journey and I couldn't be more excited to get my speech back. So, I talked. Not because I had to but I wanted to.

Here's my takeaway. Words are definitely important. When you are stripped of the privilege of something, you understand how much value it holds. Through this experiment, I realised that listening is important too. Sometimes it's necessary to avoid indulging in topics that won't do you any good. While it was very hard to keep up, the task calmed my mind and helped me think about what's going on with myself and around me.

Would I do it again? Maybe. But from now on I'll celebrate silence more meaningfully.

The F in Farnaz stands for "Farnaz can't write a blurb". Reach her at farnazfawadhasan@gmail.com


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