If I can have the ‘Power of Articulation’ for only three days in my whole life


           Really, it’s been so difficult for me to tolerate these groups of students, standing in the corridor, mocking every soul that doesn’t pass their level, throwing jibes at them, suffocating everyone with their air of haughtiness. I wish I could for once stand up against their remarks. They think they are the coolest people in school, notwithstanding the dumb brain they have. Speaking of dumb, yeah, I’m dumb. I can’t speak. My parents thought I was a late learner. But actually, I can only produce some unintelligible sounds, which is by far the most I can say, so to speak. Devastated as they were, I truly thank god that they didn’t give up their hopes and took their chance with teaching me to sign language. They obviously couldn’t be sure if my brain was as dumb as my voice. But, well, their patience paid off. It’s not that I feel pity for myself as most others already do that job for me, but sometimes, not having a literal voice mars the situation. So, I pass these people, as I have always, ignoring their jeers, choking sounds that imitate my voice, offensive hand movements, wasting away their ability, that could otherwise have been used for a better novel purpose. I wouldn’t say every people I meet are insensitive. Many use their voice only to bring changes in this world, protecting fellow victims, raising a voice for people like us. Disability is not something that many people sympathize with, but rather make fun of because they do not understand the disadvantage it brings. Nonetheless, my other cognitive and physical senses have developed enough to make up for a lost one.

While walking back from my school, I often pass through this little playground, where parents bring their little ones to play. The children run about, giggling and shouting, throwing dirt at one another, sharing their small little toys stuffed in their tiny pockets. There is a huge tree on this ground. I often sit underneath it, listening to the soft chirping of the birds returning from their daily errands, stuffing worms into their baby’s mouth, cozying up in their nests, as the orange sun prepares to go back into his slumber bed. The children keep playing, unaware of the difficulties in life, and truly, just living in the moment. Often, I try to write about them or paint them, so that I don’t miss out on all the fun. Not many people understand me or the way I try to communicate with them. Often my sound worries them and frightens the little children. Most people think besides being mute, I am also deaf. So, they start shouting near my ears. But I can hear it. But my disability has made me an introvert, who doesn’t engage much in activities and keep mostly to myself. How I wish I could speak freely, at least once in life, without being restrained by the constraints of my disability, understood by all, where language would also not pose as a barrier between me and the thoughts always occurring inside my head. I often wonder what it would feel like if one day I suddenly woke up and found myself shouting at the top of my lungs, and instead of some indiscernible sounds, what comes out is some actual, meaningful words. With this very thought, I sleep daily only to wake up the next day with the same old fate encircling my life. Doctors have been conducting different experiments on me on ways to bring my voice back but to no avail.

But one day I woke up to suddenly find myself saying words that meant something. Elated, I ran to my parents, with tears in my eyes, hugged them, and said to them how much I love them and how grateful I am for not giving up on me. Speaking these words out loud and clear, in a language that they understand and relate to most, gave me such immense satisfaction that I could show them my gratitude that none of my hand gestures or letters could ever convey. My parents called the doctor and informed them about this development. The doctor was surprised but warned us to not get our hopes high because this ability might not stay beyond three days. From being mute to vomiting fountain of words, I was elated to get even three days of life, where I could speak and do all the things, I had dreamt of doing if I ever got my voice back.

My parents sat with me, huddled together, all teary and with big smiles. We spoke to our hearts’ content. I could remember a lullaby that my mother used to sing to me every night, while lulling me to sleep, in hushed tones. I remembered the slogans my father used to recite during every football match and also the loud “Oorah” he prides in from his marine corps days. We started to fill the rooms with echoes of these known but never attempted sounds. It was a wonderful surprise for them to listen to my hoarse/pleasant voice for the first time in their lives. Words and tears and excitement brought forth an ambiance I will always cherish and hold close to my memories. I began humming all those melodies and songs that I have danced to and recited the poems aloud that calmed me on the nights when my heart broke or when it skipped a beat.

I thought that it would be a great surprise for my friends and loved ones when they hear me speak when they hear my voice for the first time. So, I decided to give my relatives and friends, who lived far away, a call and personally visited the ones who lived near. They are the ones whose positivity had helped me look towards the better and warm side of humanity when I felt low. However childish these activities may seem, my heart had longed and yearned to do them since I was a kid and I couldn’t refrain the kid in me from pursuing whatever the heart desired.

I had been the valedictorian of my high school, but my speech was read by another student as most of my classmates did not know the sign language. That was something that hurt me to this day. The way I wanted it to be said, the pace, the emotions to be conveyed, the ideas which were so priced to me, were all lost in someone else’s voice. So, the next day when I heard that my college was organizing a debate competition regarding rights for the disabled, I decided to speak. I decided to speak out my mind and heart, speaking for those whose voice goes unheard, who are not given due importance. I spoke of the disabled people like me, who are not so lucky as others and face much more difficulties in their daily lives. I know that one debate wouldn’t do much or change other’s thoughts drastically, but still, it could be a start and many other sympathetic people can later step in my shoes and carry the baton forward. So many people have already showcased their novel ideas and thoughts out for people. They have cried their lungs out to make this world a better place to live in. But still not many give any heed to them. Not many will give heed to me. But my voice will remain as a droplet that will one day create an ocean, an ocean that will cleanse everyone and give them humanity as food and love amongst all as oxygen to live. I may or may not live till that day, but I will rest in peace knowing that I have done my part. I am not saying that I couldn’t have done them without having my voice back. But more people will hear when their ears are met with empathy. More people will step in when they come to know about the difficulties that we face daily and couldn’t speak them out. More people will hear if their conscience is stirred when they listen to a voice that comes with an expiration date. I wished more people listened to me when I was silent, rather than when I can speak for a few days.

What people need to learn is standing up to the bullies and the impending obstacles on their way to a smooth sailing sea. People with disabilities learn this thing the hard way. We are often timid and shy and don’t easily open up to and face the barrier. But people without must learn to take a stand for us. Not being able to speak is not that much big a problem as opposed to those mental diseases where a person who can speak finds it perfect to use it to bully and belittle others for the sake of having fun. Seeing the bullies roam about me, I thought it would be apt for me to act upon it. I stood up to them and made them realize that what they are doing is sick and not at all humane. We can all learn to live and love one another, without making other people feel bad about his/her disability. Spreading love and awareness has always been one of my prime motives.

Whilst the sound from my vocal cords never did much help to me, my pen had always been a useful instrument and a loyal friend to me. It always helped me voice my thoughts which I could not do via my mouth. My friends, my parents, my loved ones have read things that I wanted to convey. But I hardly ever said things to people I do not like. If there is a mutual dislike between us, why would the other person make time to read the note that I pass on to him/her? Or rather, why would they even try to communicate with me in any way that would otherwise need effort from them? So, when I’ve miraculously got my voice back, I thought that this would be the perfect time that me confronted the other person and try to mend things with them. The world is a very small place to keep enemies. We never know when we might need help from anyone. If I can speak now, I tried to make them understand my problem and why I hadn’t approached them earlier. Expressing my feelings is one of the least things that I could do to make the best use of my gift. I tried to explain to them which of their behavior or actions and things they say irked me. I also tried to listen to any grudges that they held against me. Who knew such a beautiful relation this conversation would create? Holding grudges and saying things against each other can only create mountains of barriers between people. But clearing the air out can move those mountains and create valleys of happiness in between.

One thing that I almost missed out on due to my silence is talking to children. Children are the purest and most innocent beings moving on this earth. Talking to them without frightening them is the next thing I wanted to do. They are too young to understand sign language but too mature to understand the unfathomable emotions hidden deep down in one’s psyche. They understand all the happiness and pain that someone else is enduring. Communicating with them constantly, words afterwords, sentences after sentences is a dream I had often wanted to live. This was the chance to live it for a while and doing so, checked it off my bucket list.

Maybe I could have achieved all of these without having to speak, but sometimes some emotions and actions are better expressed in speaking words in a language and a mode that is easily understood by all. The joy, the mixed emotions that my mother felt when she heard me call her mum for the first time can never compete with me writing her mum a thousand times over. The pain that my father felt when I told him how my heart was broken, would have been exponentially reduced had I tried to convey the same via writing, given I don’t know how to frame words properly. That warm rush of feelings that my love felt when I whispered in his ears words of endearment would not have been the same via texts or letters. Some emotions are best expressed through words from the mouth where written words cannot suffice any close.

On the final day before the ‘mute button of my life’ would be restored once again, and once all the excitements and tears would die down after I’ve completed doing things that I once contemplated, I made all the people that matter most to me sit down, looked at them all with my eyes and for the last time, conveyed my gratitude and told them that I loved them with all my heart and soul, for sticking by me, for believing in me, for understanding all my unsaid words and mostly, for loving me despite the drawback I came with before I slid back to my silence once again. The next day when I would wake up, I wouldn’t feel remorse for not having my voice again because I know I did all that I could to make this world a better place. I have done my part and I know now that taking our abilities for granted or wasting away our gifts, doesn’t do the world a favor.

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