• Bidisha Bhattacharya

The Sound Of Silence

“The Sound of Silence”, originally “The Sounds of Silence” has gone on to become a great song, and remains relevant till date. However, the song can have different interpretations depending upon the individual. The writer shares her view of the song based on how she sees finds it relevant in today’s time.

Sunday Morning, these two words have consistently managed to prove themselves delectable over the years for me. My Sundays are usually spent in a cafe, where I rush to after gulping down my breakfast for a wonderful cup of coffee which takes me no hurry to finish. And as I sip through, I travel to the 90s sailing right up from Bob Dylan to Celine Dion. With a very similar approach, I tuned into the old radio station this morning only to come across the words that provoked my thought into numerous directions

‘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 Still remains Within the sound of silence’

Paul Simon had written this first verse in the darkness of a bathroom where he sat with the lights out, enjoying the acoustics with the doo-wop reverb sound. I closed my eyes and the same space appeared to me. It was indeed dark, but this time with ignorance, silence, and acceptance of the status quo. The lights didn’t seem turned down, but the bulbs detached; much like the voices that tried to speak up against the accepted norm. Just then it dawned upon me, how relevant this song might be for today’s world we are presently witnessing.

So let me tell you the picture I see through my eyes.

Imagine yourself walking into a narrow path when the cold night is suddenly lit up by the flash of a neon light whose glare instigates a trickle-down fear effect and makes you feel unnatural. This light is the present ‘artificial’ daylight of the modern industrial society which lacks the warmth: the warmth of togetherness. It hits you in the eye and fails to sooth you from within.

‘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’

The humanity around doesn’t seem to act normal, their actions are void of significance. They look disempowered and feel alienated. Ten thousand people seem to oxymoronically speak to each other without really communicating their true feelings, instead of resorting to carefully chosen expressions that won’t etch deep. Think about how rare it is to have a deep, heartfelt conversation with another person; how excitingly strange it is to really connect with someone, to be able to exchange experiences and opinions without falling into cliche,

The situation of having no one to share the voice with, the unexplained fear of non-acceptance and mortification eventually perishes art. The industry that promotes the so-called ‘trend’ has billowed into such proportions that creative talent struggles to make its opinion heard. This, unfortunately, gives birth to desensitization; indifference to the wrong around us as a voice against injustice gets lost amidst the noise.

‘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 And echoed in the wells, of silence’

Silence now seems like a malignant tumor, spreading across society with the intention of devouring it eventually. But all efforts look futile, the cry remains unheard in the deafening silence.

‘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 sign said: “The words of the prophets are Written on the subway walls And tenement halls And whispered in the sound of silence’

The modern-day world has unapologetically developed a Neon God for themselves As the song concluded, so did my thoughts and the puzzle seemed bizarre. Were we really born to worship this Neon God? Was anyone of us ever introduced to such an Avatar who preaches the above teachings? As our society grows more and more divided and chooses to remain passive, let’s rediscover these songs not only for their artistic value but also for their powerful meaning, which teaches us a great deal about the world we live in.

Note: The lyrics of the song have been taken by the writer from AZLyrics! website.

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