Conversations: S & L

S: “You should have stuck to words when you could. That’s your forte. Why did you turn to paintings?”

L: “I don’t know… I think I felt too inadequate.”

S: “Inadequate? “

L: “Yeah.You know like, I couldn’t even express common things properly.Things like love or silence.”

S:“Silence? That’s easy. You could just say ‘pin drop silence’.”

L:“But expressing silence with the word silence doesn’t need much of a writer, right?”

S:“It doesn’t? “

L:“It doesn’t, I guess. Being a guitarist, tell me, how do you explain silence in music?”

S:“By not playing? By not making any music?”

L:“But anything that’s not music isn’t silence. It can be noise too or even awkwardness. It needn’t be silence. Isn’t silence more poetic, a bigger mystery?”

S:“What do you think silence is Leah? What do you think anything is? Poetry or music or your paintings or for that matter, love! What do you think all these are? How do you define it?”

L:“How do I define anything?
How do I perceive this world?
How do I perceive anything?”

S:“By being you?”

L:“By being me…”

S:“There… that’s silence.”


S:“When you paused! Between words… It was silence, solitude. It was all inside your head, your thoughts. You kept me on the edges. There was silence. At least for me!”

L:“Yeah… for you. For me, it was a sea of thoughts.”

S:“What is silence for me isn’t silence for you! So you gave me silence or I perceived it? Did I grab it?”

L:“I think you grabbed it, in that halt between my words.”

S:“If so, isn’t the pauses between my notes silence? Then am I making silence too with my guitar? But how can I make anything but music with my guitar? Can silence be made? Can happiness be made? Isn’t that a normal state of mind, probably the most pristine state of our universe? ”

L:“Silence can’t be made? Silence can be destroyed? But when you play guitar and the audience listen to you in rapt attention, aren’t they in silence? “

S:“Sure. But together we are music, aren’t we?”

L:“No. In the beginning music needed silence. Then music invited silence. In fact, I think you are the music. No. You are the instrument, audience is silence and music flows from the instrument to silence.”

S:“Thus killing silence?”

L:“Killing? That’s a harsh word to use. How can music kill anything? Isn’t it Godly?”

S:“So what does music do to silence?”

L:“Soothes her? Perfects her? But silence is perfect already. Music weaves one silent heart to another in a perfect state of ecstasy.”

S:“Like water flowing from high to low?”

L:“No… No. You can’t say music is high and silence is low or the opposite. They are both ecstasies. They are both God given.”

S:“But then how do they mingle and change?”

L:“Like the lover, the beloved and the fountain of love between them.”


L:“I guess so. And even Bible, I think.”

S:“You are quoting Bible… Hey wait… where did we begin this? Oh! Yes. You quit poetry because of inadequacy and silence. Now that you are in the painting mode, let me guess, so you cracked how to show silence in a painting? Expressions?”

L:“Yes. And something else.”

S:“A sense of serenity?”
Leah shakes her head no.


L:“Those are those. Silence is different.”

S:“So how do you show silence?”

L:“With distances.”

S:“But isn’t that merely physical? Cant that also mean pain and loneliness?”

L:“Not always.”

S:“How can it be so?”

L:“What is love?”

S:“Two people loving each other. An emotion. “

L:“How horrible we are as poets Sayeedh? We describe love with love and silence with silence.”

S:“How else can we describe them? They are what they are. They are that since time immemorial. What is love for you? What is silence for you?”

L:“What is silence?”
(Silence is what precedes a kiss,
Silence is what succeeds true art,
Silence is the fountain of love before it flows,
Silence is the fountain of love after it has emptied.)Leah sighs.

S:“Let’s go to sleep Leah. We are not making much sense today.”

L:“When have we ever?”

S:“True…” (Silence invites love. Love sleeps in silence. Silence prevails. So does love.)

L: (Colours needs a canvas
Music needs silence
Love needs lovers
That’s ecstasy.
Anything opposite
Is yearning; its pain,
It’s attachment.)
Leah felt suffocated inside her sleeping bag.

S:“You haven’t left that thought yet, have you?”

L: “No. Actually it’s a new one.”

And there, they begin again.

Sea waves kept wetting the shore as always. The dark sky looked as lazy as the dying fire. Sayeedh and Leah made and broke silences in circles. The mystic night rang with their talks forever.

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