Bitter-Sweet Symphony of Speech

Being a participant to one of the very regular conversations, I was asked by a gentleman, “What do you do ?”, to which i replied, “I write for a magazine as a journalist.” Aghast, was the reaction which i received from this gentleman, which he portrayed using an interrogative pronoun “What ?” which was further fine tuned with an adverb followed by a latent exclamation sign ” Really ! “I knew this reaction, since I had been a victim or in decent words, a witness to such reactions for quite a time now. I also knew what would be the appending statement, which to my instinct came in less than a minute. “But you are so soft spoken”, and as my unvarying  pragmatic and prudent response, I responded with a smile and a “Yes”.

But this specific mention of the compliment  convolved with an element of astonishment  has always disappointed me. Being soft spoken and a writer is like making a judgement on an actor’s skill based on the looks of the person, or how dramatic they are in their everyday life or judging the intelligence of a scientist by the width of her glass frames. Journalism somehow has draped itself in the layer of maligns, but it is not the only component. It is also about showcasing the positives which are there. It is not just about defaming someone or the system, It is also about bringing the system closer to the population. It is not just about pointing at the scams, it is also about letting people know what is rightfully theirs and how can they access it. Media, is indeed a medium to connect not just a detractor. 

Walking on the streets, driving on the roads, and even hiking at some 3000 m above sea level mountains, there is no dearth of acerbic tongues in the country. The ideals and teachings of people like Buddha, Vivekanada and Gandhi are more than required on this land, than ever before. Turning the yellow and tainted pages of my history books, I adore Bal Gangadar tilak, Gandhi, M M Malviya, and Dadabhai Naroji and many more, who worked with the utmost levity and the sense of all responsibilities. To them showing the dissatisfaction through the pitch of their voice was not an option, they were supposed to enlighten the un-lit illiterate population as well as challenge the authority which had access to superior resources in all manner possible. 

Howsoever you deny the fact, being soft spoken births the thought in another person’s mind, that perhaps the person is gullible, not smart enough or may be under-confident or is lacking something. Because until you raise the pitch of your voice, your argument does not seem plausible enough. The shouting leaders, annoyed desk-men, the drivers stuck in traffic are all exposed to this idea but this idea is explicitly tainted. Communication is one of the austere elements of a civilised human, and that has to have a filter of situation and is supposed to be cladded with tint of respect, understanding and modesty at all times, no matter with whom one is communicating and what authority the person holds. 

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