I woke up in the middle of the night and here I’m writing this. Writing because I realized that I haven’t slept in the first place, and was half-awake thinking, analyzing many things. To name a few, for now: people, thought processes, society, etc. Yet, the topic which was overpowering everything else was about, “Silence”. Hence, it compelled me to write my heart out and I vented it all out on paper before it got all heavy in my head.
The way I have looked at silence has been so that I have never looked at it as something disturbingly uncomfortable (at least not for myself).
Silence lets you think and reflect.
Silence helps you to analyze yourself, things, and situations around you better.
Silence eases the process to let your guard down and allows you to be all vulnerable with yourself.
Silence provides a space where you get to be yourself without anyone seeing what are you up to, there ain’t any judgments.
But what compelled me to write was “Deliberate Silence”, something people choose to not speak about. Yes! I mean, you might have guessed it by now.
I spoke about my community,
You chose to be silent.
I spoke about how women can be complicit in propagating caste and violence,
You couldn’t help but choose to remain silent.
I spoke about how we shouldn’t be always viewed as all vulnerable and helpless and there are several other ways that we could be looked at.
For instance, when we reclaim our, Rights and Dignity.
I questioned the matter of ‘Gaze’ but you chose to remain silent.
Your mindful othering of me and my people and at times, unconsciously done; when I questioned it all, you chose to be silent.
When I chose to speak about microaggressions, you chose to be silent.
Now what I mean here is, not that you never uttered any words. Of course! You did.
But it was more of an effort to make me silent,
To make me somehow feel that I’m driven by emotions,
That how I’m not talking logic,
How there are many other ways to look at things,
That somehow your ‘gaze’ matters the most in the room than my livid experiences.
Later, you also spoke that you do realize that how social location shapes one’s social realities, about atrocities, about privilege, diversity and inclusivity, equality and justice etc., in some fancy superficial language without it coming from a deep conviction,
but to me, it was a mere ‘Silence’.
Silence because you ain’t letting it all go from within yourself, silence because you were playing safe! You wouldn’t challenge caste in your respective caste location, you wouldn’t talk about the annihilation of it; even if you do talk about it, it was not genuine to me since your silence and discomfort was evident and spoke volumes.
Now, not that it was always you who was silent. I was too.
I was silent because I didn’t know who I was before, not that life was all rosy and happy for me, it wasn’t that at all. Since caste society is such that it spared none of us.
I was silent back in school and somehow didn’t want others to ask about my caste,
My identity was a matter of shame to me, I somehow always wanted to get away from that.
Alas! I couldn’t.
My success story, me getting to a certain college or clearing some entrance was often somehow linked with Reservation.
It was a constant effort to make me feel an impostor,
That how I didn’t deserve all of this and I couldn’t help but be silent.
I was silent because I knew nothing about my identity and my history. But now that I know I won’t be silent, but I’ll talk more and more about it unlike you, who chose to be Deliberately Silent!
Abhilasha is an alumna of TISS, Mumbai, and is currently working as a Mental Health professional at Jansahas.