Exam setting; one can distinctly hear the subtle crackling of papers as the students turn the pages of the exam question. The room is filled to the brim with silence. Exam rooms are tense.Comical even, you see the scratching of ‘poor’ heads and further the movement of heads to the sound of imaginary head music; well that, but mainly to probe and see if there is a lecturer around before they could inquire about a question. Most interesting though is the fear in their eyes once they get caught. I tend to believe NO ONE is fearless. Even the people who act all brave, cocky like nothing can touch them have a ticking point, a weakness that ultimately makes life interesting. It’s amazing at how much you can observe when there is silence.

It is even more astonishing at what silence results in. It has the power that I love. It does not have the manly act of trying to prove everything. They say the most powerful man is the one who has the most influence. Silence has a certain influence that you don’t know when it hits you. Take an example of the holiest places, churches, monasteries where silence is considered holy and pure. No one explained why there is a need for silence, why it is alarming when a kid screams in church and why the African mother would not dare hit him or her in the Lord’s presence. Well, God allows her to but she knows there is a whole lot of purity and holiness in this silence. And don’t come up with the bull of she can’t do it because there are people watching. Am sure you have met the real African mums. If you haven’t, go to the supermarket. You can shop and window shop for anything in the supermarket, even a mother’s beating.

Silence can result in the best and worst of ideas. People who come up with the best art, musical, scientific compositions do it while they were probably too low and all miserable (not necessarily) and they did not want people around and then voila, the idea pops. Now, the idea might also be the worst. People commit suicide not when there is too much noise but when there is silence or too much noise in their heads!

Silence is golden. Its stillness helps you find yourself, rediscover yourself, it helps you listen to the things you could not even notice when there is too much chaos. Most people associate such people who love silence as lonely, psychotic even, queer, weird. What they don’t understand is humans are naturally lone creatures. We just find it hard to accept that. Think about this, you are born alone, you will die alone and will be judged when the day of the Lord comes, alone. We are all lone creatures who crave companionship. That is why God created Eve to help Adam. It did not mean Adam could not live alone. He did just fine but could do better with Eve. Well, ‘better’ is relative in this case considering they were all chased out of the garden after Eve was created.

Silence is attractive, well, relatively. Not relatively, but let’s face it, “empty debes make the most noise”. Okay, relatively. We are all different especially when findings our Adams and Eves. You know the usual saying, the older you get, the wiser you become but the wiser you get, the more silent you become. Am sure you have seen those old married folks who sit together, one is crocheting her granddaughter sock while the other is reading an old newspaper all the while quiet as if they miraculously cannot see each other. I always think they are bored together and sometimes am scared of getting to that place. But, what if it’s the opposite? What if they are the happiest that way? What if for once in their lifetime, they are actually satisfied? What if, they all look at us and think about how naïve we are in believing what happiness entails. Sometimes I wish I could fast-forward my life and then come back and relive it but I guess I would be underestimating the beauty suspense prides on.

If you still have a tinge of doubt about how silence could be fulfilling, the next time you are up at 2 a.m, find an open quiet space preferably at a higher viewpoint with a refreshing breeze and just listen to the distant fading sounds of the night with its overpowering therapeutic silence. You’ll realise why it was important for people to sleep. But most importantly, you’ll see the beauty of silence!

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