Far too many times and from far too many people, I have heard this local phrase directed at me: “If you had a wooden mouth, it would have broken a long time ago”. Yes, I am that chatty sometimes. Well all right, most of the times.
I am one of those people who doesn’t let uncomfortable silences exist near them because of the cheery (sometimes, deep and philosophical) talks I fill them with. My ability to incessantly talk about a myriad of topics is congenital; I inherit this seemingly useful skill from my mother, who, believe it or not, talks more than I do. Now, my mother found a very understanding life partner who puts up with her constant jabber. At the same time, he cherishes the fact that age-related hearing loss is hereditary in his family. Hmm… Lucky their marriage is such a win-win for them. I can only cross my fingers and hope I am half as lucky! But I digress.
I have faced many reprimands for my infinite babbling capabilities. That is my one character trait even my distant acquaintances recognise me by. This struck me when I was on a flight to India and a guy from London was my co-passenger sitting beside me. I was travelling alone. So naturally, I struck up a conversation with him. Halfway through the flight though, he was telling me how he always had difficulty in making friends. I said I never seemed to face such a hurdle ever and his response was, “Yeah, you are quite chatty.”
Quite chatty? We were only an hour into the flight and he already deduced that I am quite chatty?! I sank into retrospection then, thinking back on how much I had actually spoken on the flight. By god, it was far less than how much I talk around people I know! And I had already come across as quite chatty to the London School of Economics snob sitting beside me.
I never resolved to change that about me, though. I never do the inane jabber thing; I try not to talk about meaningless topics. It is just that we read and see so many interesting things, it is very satisfactory to share them with someone.
Believe me when I say, this little quirk about me has brought me a long way in life. I have been able to get by quite a few things and then some, because of this ability of mine. Needless to say, it has also been very instrumental in getting me out of sticky situations as well. I have also been able to persuade the occasional shy speaker out of their cocoon and get them to open up. I have my mother to thank for giving me what I consider is a very powerful gift.
There are times, though, when I am quieter than usual. The moment some of my friends discover a marked drop in the number of words I use per minute, they spring on me, saying, “What’s wrong? Is everything all right? Why are you so quiet?” That, with a tone reserved for speaking to someone on their deathbed. My riding buddy to and from my office gets alarmed every time I fall silent while sitting pillion behind him. It is an occupational hazard of talking all the time that people expect you to do exactly that – talk all the time! Well, it is not possible, is it?
I like companionable silence sometimes and hardly anyone gets that. As much as I enjoy having great conversations, I also like sitting or walking with someone without having the urgent need to have words spoken. When I am tuned into some thoughts or tired with the day’s work and not want to talk for some time, I am damned well allowed that!
I do come around after a while though. Quite like how the Dursleys failed to quash the magic out of Harry, nothing can repress the sprightly and chatty side of me. I will always remain sunnyside up and would love to exchange stories. Would like to tell me one of your’s?