Peace and Quiet!
After all our colony elections, fighting and bad blood, we finally managed to bring peace to the colony.
'Ah,' said Subbu. 'After all our colony elections, fighting and bad blood, we finally managed to bring peace to the colony.'
I looked around. He was right. There was an air of quiet in the colony. Not a sound from anywhere.
'That's amazing,' I said in a low voice, in tune with the prevailing quiet of our colony.
'It is,' whispered Subbu. 'Considering no one has been able to bring peace to our colony in all these years. That too in these days of dissent where people use social media to voice their stupid opinions loudly.'
'But why are we whispering?' I whispered. 'Also, where are the others? I don't see anyone else.'
Subbu looked disappointed.
'All these days you wanted peace,' he hissed. 'Now when you get it, why don't you enjoy it instead of asking questions?'
'But,' I persisted. 'Who do I enjoy my peace with? Now if a couple of our old rivals like Mr. Rao and Mr. Varma stepped out for a walk we could discuss and enjoy this 'peace' together.'
'You want too many things,' said Subbu dangerously. 'If Rao and Varma come out where will there be peace anymore? They will start shouting about their problems at the tops of their voices. If you want peace, enjoy it. But by yourself.'
'But technically that is not peace right?' I asked doubtfully. 'I mean peace is when people voluntarily coexist peacefully. Not like this. Let's call Rao and Varma.'
Subbu's voice rose slightly. 'Peace means quiet. If people are not running about shouting, are not seen around, it is peaceful. Understand?'
'Err, how did you ensure this peace if I may ask?' I ventured.
'Simple,' he said. 'People disturb peace when they get together. So, keep them separate and there will be peace. It is a technique I learned from our leaders.'
'OMG,' I said. 'Are Rao and Varma separated? Are they under house arrest?'
'No, they are free to do what they want,' said Subbu. 'As long as it is not anti-peace.'
'No wonder it's quiet,' I said. 'But even if they are kept apart, they will talk on phone, write on email. What then?'
'All anti-peace gadgets have been disabled,' said Subbu. 'Peace or gadgets? Choose now. Anything that goes against peace can be seen as going against our colony's noble ideals. Now, enjoy the peace.'
'How can I enjoy this peace?' I asked. 'I don't hear a bird tweeting, breeze blowing, water gurgling...It does not sound peaceful…it's a different kind of quiet...'
'Really,' said Subbu. 'I can hear all those things. Maybe you are tuned to hearing things in a different way. We can give you that too. As peacekeepers of the colony we will do anything for peace in the colony. Anything!'
'No, no… just an observation, that's all,' I squeaked hurriedly.
'Observing is good,' he said. 'Speak your mind freely. We'll observe you.'
'Ulp,' I said. 'I cannot speak with you guys looking at me like that. I will message my sentiments to you.'
'You can't,' he said. 'We jammed all anti-peace gadgets in our colony remember. In the interests of our colony. Hope you don't mind.'
'But you are using a phone,' I protested. 'You are anti-peace.'
'Entirely for peaceful purposes,' he said. 'Now take my advice and use this peaceful time to introspect. Then we can discuss.'
'How will we discuss?' I asked. 'If no one can say anything and everyone is in isolation...'
'What, what, I cannot hear you…' said Subbu, his voice fading away. 'Rest in peace...my friend.'
That's when it struck me what the quiet sounded like. I posted a RIP on our dead silent colony WhatsApp group. Someday when they wake up, they should know right.