Words. Sounds. Conversation.

These are things that I take for granted. I am my happiest self when I am talking the most. There is something about the act that makes me feel full of energy. But what if I had no sound? Would my conversations still remain as enthusiastic as they are now?

I got the answer to my thoughts in two parts. The first was when I witnessed a couple animatedly having a conversation at the platform of Sandhurst road station in Mumbai’s central railway line. My train had stopped there for its customary 30 seconds halt when my eyes fell on them. They were sitting on a bench on the station. They appeared to be in their early 20s and were communicating using sign language coupled with animated expressions on their faces. They were no different from any other ‘normal’ couples that dot the mega city’s landscape.

There was something very touching with what was happening in front of me. The couple was oblivious to the world around them and found no difficulty in explaining what they wanted to say to each other. My train started soon after but the images stayed with me for a long time after that.

It made me wonder why people make such a big deal out of aberrations. Considering that as humans we come in a variety of shapes and sizes including different racial backgrounds we should have been used to the diversity in nature. Why do we call it abnormal? Why is our definition of what constitutes normal no narrow?

It is not unknown that the world appears to us the way that we as individuals perceive it to be. What would be an enticing vision for one would be nothing but ordinary for another. I found the speech impaired couple having a conversation one of the most beautiful things that I have seen. I was proud of the way they relegated their handicap to the background.

The second incident or rather a pleasant experience came my way recently. While doing my reporting assignment for our news show in college I visited Balya Vidyalaya in Adyar, Chennai. Balya Vidyalaya is a school for the hearing impaired for children up to 5 years of age. They are not taught how to use sign language rather the focus is on trying to teach them how to speak. I walked into the school and interacted with the children happily studying with their extrememly patient teachers I did not feel that these children were in any way different from other tots of their age. They were as enthusiastic and hated studying as much as any 4 or 5 year old would.

Communication I have come to learn is more than just words. Some times it just takes the intent and desire to get your word across to another person. The determined ones eventually find a way with or with out words. So would I still be a good communicator if I was unable to speak? I’d like to believe that I would.

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