The Tango

The silence is unusual and we aren’t entirely sure how to talk about it- not because it is too grave and not because it is too trivial, but because it seems grave one moment and trivial the next. No one could remember such a thing happening to the entire country before. The incident has now lasted for more than two weeks. A few days have passed and it is too grave now.

A stand up comedian performing on one of the late-night talk show is the first to broach the subject. She waits for a moment in his act when the audience has fallen completely still and the halted in mid sentence, raising one of her index fingers in a listening gesture. A smile edges its way onto her lips. She gives the pause perhaps one second too long, just enough time for a trace of self-amusement to show on her face, then continues with the joke. It is the joke on the president’s speech on wall. But some people prefer to stay silent.

The silence has been siphoned out of the city and into our ears, spilling from there into our dreams and beliefs, our memories and expectations. In the wake of each fresh episodes a new feeling flow through us, full of warmth and a lazy equanimity. The truth is we enjoy the silence- sometimes we find ourselves poise in the doorway of our homes in the  morning or on the edge of our car seats as we drive to work. Surya wants to scream,her heart cries out for the people who are suffering because of one person’s demand.

There are many lovely, pensive girls and the landscape is cluttered with them. Most of the time nothing out of the ordinary happens to them and then they get older. In a painting Surya has been gathering wildflowers, though in real life she rarely does anything of the kind. She is more than a little odd-lacks caution or just because she always says that “ love is giving, marriage is buying and selling. You cann’t put love into a contract and there is no marriage in Heaven.”

She keeps herself busy in charity work and she doesn’t care about love or marriage.Shlok,one of her collegue doesn’t care what Surya thinks. He has seen her helping an autistic boy who was provoked to fits of punching by the tone of her doorbell devised an instrument that raplaced the sound with a pulsing light. She says that the autistic boy loves to sit on the floor watching now as she presses the button again and again, a wobbly grin sperading over his face like a pool of molasses.

The silence is plain and rich and deep. It seems infinietly delicate, yet stragely irresistibe. Every so often the character of the silence would change slightly, the way the brightness of a room might alter, and gradually we get used to the stillness.Surya loves it. She doesn’t mind staying alone and doing her own things in the weekends. She settles into the couch and continue reading her novel “ The Baron in the Trees”, holding the pages up to a patch of sunlight. A fire truck begins whirring its siren somewhere, but she barely notices it. She reads the story of an eighteenth century Italina nobleman- Cosimo Piovasco who spends the whole of his adult life in the trees surrounding his village. From the branches of various oaks,elms he is able to educate himself, conduct his long romance with his childhood friend Violante.She carries the book and walks to the dining table and sits on a chair with a cup of hot tea in her hand.

Shlok is determined to break the silence. He takes the oblique route, making a loop through the plant nursery at the west end of the plaza. By the time he reaches the end of the lane, one of his palm is coated with the scent magnolia, the other with the scent of pine. He knows that surya loves the scent of magnolia. A song has broken out on his tongue. It takes a moment to recognize it as “ Somewhere over the Rainbow”, the melody that floats effortlessly. He stands infront of her house and knocks at the door.She doesn’t hear the knock at her door. Shlok opens the side door and walks in, he is determined to break his silence. He finds Surya sitting in the kitchen, at the small round table with a book in her hand.

“What are you doing here?” she asks closing the book.Her voice sounds flat.

Shlok pulls another chair and settles himself. “We need to talk.”

“On what?” She has known him for so long that  she doesn’t have to finish the thought.

Sometimes we become more headstrong, more passionate. Our sentiments are closer to the surface, lives seem no less purposeful than they have during the silence.We come to know ourselves better after the great stillness. A muffled noise of understanding escapes from her throat, just loud enough for him to hear.He nods,laughs and nods again. They both promise to open their mouth and stand strong for the others.

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