Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sounds of silence

So I went to see the doctor on Sunday, demanding my voice back. He prescribed a bunch of meds, including antibiotics, and asked me to practise the ancient Indian practice of maun vrat (vow of silence) for the next few days to speed up the process of getting my voice back.

For someone who is second only to Xena when it comes to non-stop chattering, it was really weird not to have a voice. Must have been a real respite for Viv though because Xena and I are constantly talking to him, and sometimes he has to issue a queue number system.

As I was talking less, I realised I was hearing more things around me. For example, I had the opportunity to hear a patient at the clinic ask the nurse, "Before or after food?" when she handed him an ointment and asked him to apply it on his injured foot twice a day. I also had the opportunity to really savour the 'dharti phat jaaye aur main usme samaa jaaun' expression on her face.

We had not fully unpacked so we had all our meals outside. We were at the coffee shop downstairs for breakfast. Viv was in charge of the easier job - standing in the queue to order our food, while I was doing the harder job - keeping Xena on the chairs that we had managed to bag with difficulty. I realised that the sum of all talk in our household is a constant. Because I couldn't talk, Xena was trying her best to maintain the sum. She wanted to go everywhere, talk to everyone, do everything at once. The two elderly ladies seated at the same table were very amused by her and asked her, "You how old ah?" Suddenly, Xena got all shy and refused to answer. Then they concluded, "OH! Cannot speak English lah!" Then they looked at me and said, "Cannot speak English ah?" I smiled and mouthed "Can!" which they interpreted as "Yeah!" and so nodded and repeated, "Ah. No wonder. Cannot speak English." They must be thinking, "Daughter cannot speak English. Mother cannot speak at all!"

Yet another task of mine had also been compromised. Xena's running commentary in the bus is usually controlled by me by either explaining to surprised commuters what she said/meant, or somehow distracting and stopping her before she said something really weird. This time, there was no chance at all, so when she pointed to a lady and said, "LOOK MAMA THAT AUNTY'S BRAID IS REACHING HER BUM-BUM!" I couldn't do anything at all. Except smile apologetically at everyone.

I was slightly panicky because there was a parent-teacher meeting in Xena's school on Monday, which I was supposed to attend. Fortunately, Viv took leave and decided to come along with me as my voice so that I didn't look like a fool miming all the questions I had for her teachers, "Does she finish her lunch? Is she respectful and courteous in class? Is she picking up Singlish from her classmates? Which kid taught her the term 'yucky smelly poo poo'???"

That last one would have been hilarious to mime.


Arun said...


I think the Bewda nation wants to know - I hope I speak on their behalf - will Xena reprimand you if you call us bewdas - or must we be demoted to prim and proper uncles and aunties?

Awaiting the answer with trepidation, sitting on my bum-bum :)

Horizon said...

I almost fell off my chair reading the coffee shop conversation and the one at the hospital really takes the cake, when I was reading it, before oafter food?, that is a normal question we all ask unitl i read further on :)

Hope u get your voice back soon but then we would miss such wonderful insights:)

Zoned Out said...

It's so so good to have you blogging regularly again :)

Your posts always make for the best start of my day...

Coming to Xena... she is hilarious :) I hope she stays this innocent all her childhood...

Kids truly pick up the silliest of phrases and comments from ppl they hear around them...


Sayesha said...

Gosh I totally forgot you have been sitting on your bum-bum waiting for an answer! Sorry sorry. Yes, you guys are propah uncles and aunties.

Thank you. :)

Thank you. :)