The doctor said, “You are supposed to be on mute mode for 48 hours.”
“Mute mode, as in?” I asked finding it hard to digest what she just said.
“Maun- vrat,” she said with a gentle smile.
I gave a helpless look while Sujay laughed away to glory.
How was I supposed to stay without talking? In one moment my weekend plans got shattered.
After thanking the doctor, we left. I was upset by the treatment she had suggested for me but at the same time my intellect contradicted, “It is the best medication that could have been offered at this point so go ahead and follow it religiously.”
Suddenly there was so much to talk and I wasn’t supposed to speak. I struggled trying to use actions and facial expressions. Thanks to Sujay, I got some confidence to strictly adhere to it. He spoke all while and I could do nothing but listen to his instructions and follow the same. As advised, I took a pen and paper and started writing whatever I wanted to convey. If I held the paper close to me while writing he would peer into it with an eagerness to just know what I wanted to convey. This idea was successful in the initial phase.
While walking on the streets I couldn’t keep writing on chits. Eventually I resorted to actions and facial expressions. Playing dumb charades while walking was fun. I was thoroughly enjoying watching a troubled Sujay trying hard to decipher my actions. He gave complete attention to my words unlike the other days. He was certainly impressed by my hidden talent to act when he told me, “This punishment is proving useful. I am able to see your hidden talent in mute acting.” That was the only way I could express the immense joy I felt.
Half a day went in this way. I was not allowed to talk to anyone. Not even my parents. I messaged my parents on their phone and received their wishes and blessings for my good health. I had never received anything written from my parents on a loving note as they were never used to writing or sending messages. My mother had attempted for the first time to type a message debarring spaces, “ Sabtheekhojayegabhagwanpevishwaasrakho.” (Everything will be alright, believe in god.) I always felt that writing was a better form of expression than talking.
I had no problem selecting and ordering from the menu at the restaurant because Sujay had to talk to the waiter and get things to eat. He made an earnest attempt to order for me considering my opinion at the same time. I smiled with satisfaction each time I saw him making so much effort only for me. Though there were many advantages that he had during this time. He could crack the worst of jokes and easily be spared of my glares and frowns. If I tried to explain anything by action to him he purposely chose not to understand it.
One such instance happened when we were walking in the busiest shopping street of the city. I went crazy looking at the new collection of junk jewellery. I nudged at Sujay and pointed at the shop thus indicating to him that I wanted him to buy me those black metal earrings and bracelet. He understood my action very well but said, “I don’t think you like those earrings. Let’s go.” He dragged me ahead from the shop while saying this. I followed him with a grumpy look trying not to argue. He was having a gala time looking at the troubled and desperate expression on my face. I was irritated at that instant but found his actions cute when I thought about it later. If I wanted to convey something and he wasn’t looking at me, I patted on his shoulder and forcefully made him look at me.
We had to go shopping for clothes and accessories for a family function the next day. I was unable to express my choice and specifications to the sales person in the shops. Sujay took the pain to get the exact specifications written down from me and explained to the shopkeepers on my behalf. Each shop that we went to, the shopkeepers looked weirdly at me when they presented something nice while I in turn looked at Sujay to voice my thoughts. It was an opportunity to feel confident that Sujay was aware of my likes and dislikes. A strange yet loving feeling brought us closer. We hardly had any arguments, disagreements or misunderstandings during the whole day. At times I did feel irritated when Sujay didn’t understand my expressions but the irritation seemed to vanish when I saw the innocent look on his face. He was giving a real attempt to understand my thoughts.
There was complete silence and there were abrupt pauses while we were together because I was the one who always started the conversation. For Sujay it was always a one minute talk. He found it hard to converse beyond a point when there was nothing new to discuss. Silence did its magic and so did our expressions. We had moments when only our eyes spoke. Being with me on mute mode, he also started feeling that it were better not to talk. He conversed with me in whispers or tried copying my expressions. Before starting maun- vrat I had presumed that I would not feel comfortable but it turned out to be beneficial in many ways. I could express myself by messaging, writing and showing actions. Someone has rightly said, “Love doesn’t need any language.”
After two days I felt that being silent was more beneficial than I had fathomed. I was ready to extend it by another week.