What happens when in an argument you chose to stay quiet and not express what you feel? Either the argument ends or the relationship…right?
What happens when your spouse treats you bad and you chose to remain silent. Either the matter gets solved or reoccurs every now and then…right?
What happens when you chose to leave without saying a word. Either you never get to see the person or he holds you so tight that you never manage to leave…right?
What happens when you know you are right but you chose not to speak up for yourself? Either the other person realizes what wrong they did or they never do…right?
All above instances are perfect examples of the great power and price that comes with SILENCE. We live in a society where we (females) are taught to pay the price of silence by giving its power in the hands of others in our lives. Be it the brother, the father, the husband or the son.
We teach our daughters to endure and our sons to stand up for their rights consequently building a societal imbalance where 52% of the population believes hardships are a part and parcel of their lives and the other 48% turn into egoistic monsters.
Have you ever thought what do you to the brains of your daughters when you tell them; “yeh shadi k baad ker laina”,“woh shadi k bad ker laina”,“aglay ghar jaa k saaray armaan pooray ker laina”.You are actually programming their brains to believe in a fairy tale. That someday all their hopes and desires are going to come true only upon the arrival of the prince charming. I am not against the institution of marriage but I find it ugly to associate the freedom of thought and the ability to follow their hearts with the mere presence or approval of a man.
And to you my dear young beautiful ladies, stop programming your brains to remain locked and silent and wait for approvals to be happy, to follow your dreams, to take the path of your choice. Remember besides being a daughter, a wife, a mother or even a friend you are a HUMAN. With an individual opinion and a stance in life. With an unstoppable spirit and with a rock solid belief in your abilities.
I ain’t no feminist but I realized the price and power of silence at McDonald’s. O yes no kidding. Just last Sunday I was in the queue waiting to place my order. Beside me was a young gentleman in his twenties buying stuff for his mother who was standing behind him clueless of what the son was ordering for HER TO EAT.
Meanwhile she glanced at the menu and tried to pick and choose upon which she was asked by her son to remain SILENT. He said and I quote; “o ami jee tusi rehn do tuaanu ki pata bus tusi othay kharay ho jao jaa k main hooni aya”. (Oh mom! Leave it to me, you don’t know much so just go and stand there um coming). The woman did what was asked. Moments later they picked up their order from the counter and sat on their table to EAT…but there was only one person eating on the table and that was not her. Apparently the oh so fabulously cool son had picked beef for her which she NEVER liked.
That’s not the worst part, me as a stranger could see the disappointment on the lady’s face but her son was completely ignorant, instead he pretty shamelessly said “agli waari chicken lay laingay” (next time we’ll have chicken). Now where does this “cold” attitude come from? Yes from years of years of silence that that old lady had preserved.
And guess what she is not alone. All of us have preserved silence at some point of time and we have either been proud of it or have practiced in solitude what could have been said. We as kids especially in Asian countries are often asked to reserve silence in the name of respect…which is good and true in some cases, while in others has build-up layers of frustration and discomfort. A lot remains in the hearts and minds of our children and they keep shut just for the sake of not being misunderstood for being manner less.
You know respect has nothing to do with coercion, I mean this is my personal belief and I might as well be wrong. Respect forced is like someone asking you to come down to your knees before them without feeling like. Respect as they say is something earned. You should respect your parents, your elders, your teachers, your colleagues, your mentors and everyone and anyone who helps you become a better person. But this certainly doesn’t make them Gods. They too are humans, just as imperfect as you and I. now the game is to know how to speak instead of maintaining a forced silence eventually exploding into a massive mess of profanity and everything but etiquettes.
The point is not to frustrate, neither yourself nor others. Learn the art of communication, the art of speaking up for the right in a tone that is neither aggressive nor offensive. And it all comes down to actually having feelings of respect.
Respect again is unconditional, you can’t put conditions on respect. You cannot simply say that if my father would do this this this and won’t do that that that, only then would I respect him truly otherwise I won’t say anything but only wish he had been better.
I don’t mean to confuse the readers so I’ll tell you an incident from real life. One of my dearest friends had to tell something very important and personal to his family. Yes you guessed it right he liked a girl in high school and he had to admit it to his parents that he is truly deeply madly in love. He couldn’t do it for quiet sometime so much so that the girl had given him an ultimatum; either talk to your family or let me get married to the one my parents have chosen (I still wonder had they chosen someone or she was just trying to put some sense of urgency into my ever lazy friend lol) but anyways, he asked me to tell him of a way he could do this without having to go through the reaction expected from his dad i-e wrath of an Asian Father over love marriage. Lol
Well I just asked him what made him presume his father would be angry at it? He said that I do not have a job yet, I am not independent, my dad had an arranged marriage, doesn’t like independent outgoing ladies (his gf was of that sort) and is always nagging about me not paying much attention to my studies.
I said well there you have it. Have you ever spoken to your gf about not being ready to take that plunge and he was like nooooo I love her. And I said no sweet heart you don’t. what made you tell her you will marry her when you aren’t even certain on how to convince your folks at home? He kept looking at me and said; “dude I am here for help…can you help?” I gave him two options number 1 go tell your gf you are not independent enough to get married and ask her to wait and work it out till you both are financially and emotionally independent enough to start a family. Option 2 go talk to your dad tell him that you love this girl and she will get married so have you engaged to her and you promise to become an independent and determined individual and then marry her.
He looked at me sarcastically and said; “it’s not some American tv show’s dad we are talking about it is my dad, someone with years and years of experience and a no nonsense attitude. He will not think twice before kicking me out of home for even being so disrespectful to him” and I was like what’s so disrespectful about it at all.
He then explained the scenario that is the case is 90% of our homes. He told me his dad never likes to talk. He maintains this certain silence most of the day and only speaks when he has something to profess or when he has to inquire something we did most often some or the other blunder over which he feels the need to shower his anger upon us.
I was listening to him silently, just wondering he was so concerned about being disrespectful to his father a moment ago while this is what he feels truly but hasn’t been able to say for so long. I am sorry dear reader I don’t mean to judge but he did not sound respectful due to his tone that reflected years and years of frustration.
I had to stop him as he was at the verge of crying. I asked him what kind of relationship he has with his mother. He told me he could share anything and everything with his mom and I was like bingo!!! So we have whom you can talk to. And his face became all the more frustrated and with a frown he said; “mama nay kya ker laina unki kahan chalti ghar main” and I was like a lady who gave birth to my friend and three of his siblings, raised them up as well-mannered youngsters, took care of them, nourished their souls and considered her own being secondary to that of her family has no hold over the decision of whom her son should marry….just because she is not the man of the house or is not considered the head of the family…..
It was sad, painful, excruciating to see that disparity. Not that this was the first time I had seen it but this was the first time I actually observed how ugly the family system in most Asian countries is.
I had nothing to say to my friend who after leaving that day met me a week earlier and explained how he totally got over that girl who was cheating with one of his own friend lol so much so for the eternal love saga he was narrating that day. Lol
Anyways what I was trying to say is that silence can be a medium to express most emotions that cannot be put together in the perfect words. Like for instance it is difficult to express the magnitude of hurt someone’s actions have caused. However, sometimes it becomes essential to voice it up. To say it out loud just to make sure it is heard.
You have to understand that when you don’t speak up you intentionally or unintentionally provide power to the other person. In cases where the oppressed preserves silence the oppressor gains the power and everyone loses. In cases where a mother keeps shut despite knowing the father of her kid is wrong she gives him this satisfactory power that what he is doing is right.
And again like I said I ain’t a feminist, it goes for both the genders, all walks of lives, every single relationship that we have. When a father keeps shut when he sees his son disrespecting him he is encouraging and empowering him to continue the very behavior, when a lady preserves silence even when she is uncomfortable being harassed at work she is actually telling the very dog at work to continue being a slave to his lust. When we as a nation choose to remain silent despite experiencing corruption, misconduct, fraudulent activities and what not, we are actually empowering the corrupts and culprits to feel ok in doing so since we are so not bothered.
I read Charlie Chaplin quoted somewhere; “you only need power when you want to do something wrong for everything else love alone is enough.”
We must understand where the disparity comes from and we need to take notice of our faulty definition of equality.
In our society we do not give space to women rather we define the very space for them. We create molds and we ask women to fit in. if they do, good enough if they don’t they are entitled to be judged, rejected, harassed or be considered a doormat.
I need not to explain much I know anyone who has been living here knows what I am talking about. This chapter is actually to encourage everyone irrespective of their sex, cast, creed or culture to speak up. Speak up for themselves. Speak up for the right. Speak up before they are expected to take shit at all instances. Speak up for who you are. Speak up to break the mold. Speak up to help others who do not know their power. Speak up to be understood. Speak up for the lady in your locality who is abused by that grumpy husband she has, speak up for the homosexual kid bullied in the park by the guard, speak up for the maid who is into secret forced prostitution just to stay with her drug addict husband, speak up for the father being disrespected by his own kids, speak up for the spineless man using your friend in the name of true love and no intention of marrying her, speak up my dear reader speak up!!
This article originally appeared at LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission