Silence is bliss, isn’t it?


cc licensed flickr photo shared by Gregory Bastien

This weekend, I had the privilege of riding in the “silent car” of a train.

It was a first time for me and folks, it surely will not be the last.

As a matter of fact, I may never ride any other way.

Why? Cause I never knew silence could be so damn good!

I know you’re wondering how a chatterer like me survived five minutes in such an environment without being physically ejected politely being asked to leave by the other passengers.

But yes my friends, I was able to zip up and in doing so, discovered what has to be the Zen art of sitting and breathing in the sounds of my environment.

I should clarify that the Significant Other and I didn’t plan to sit in the silent car.

Instead, we chanced upon it.

Arriving late, as usual, we made our way through one congested train compartment after another, until there was only one left.

To our surprise, it was almost empty.

Only two other couples filled the car.

We could barely contain our whoops of delight and happily started to take off our coats.

That’s when I noticed there was a large sign that said “Silent Car” accompanied by a picture of a mouth with an index finger across it signaling “Shhh.”

OMG. Should we go back to the crammed compartments in the back, or would I be able to mimic library behavior for a full hour?

My competitive spirit was egged on as I heard the Significant Other whisper, “My money’s on the fact that we’re getting booted off this compartment five minutes into this train ride.”

One minute, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes, five minutes…aha, take that, you smug, I’ll- teach-you-what-I’m-capable-of, little know it all!

I win, you lose!

The silence continued.

Other than the occasional ruffle from the pages of a book, or the shuffling of feet, nada.

I couldn’t believe the beauty of not saying anything, of not doing anything; just sitting and using the senses of sight and sound.

As I took in the view, I noticed how snatches of the countryside quickly showed themselves, but then just as swiftly, disappeared.

In the meantime, the Significant Other sat next to me reading his newspaper, drinking his coffee, smiling at me from time to time.

No words were exchanged.

Suddenly it wasn’t necessary to fill the lulls of silence and chatter on incessantly about this and that.

I closed my eyes and thought how I had finally discovered the meaning of bliss.

That was until the train made a stop and two very noisy tourists boarded “our” silent car.

Tourist one: “Oh, it’s almost empty. How cool is that, dude!”

Tourist two: “But it’s freakin’ hot in here, dawg. Like, can we open some windows?”

Six sets of eyes, ours included, all glared at the unwelcome tourists.

I could feel the muscles of the Significant Other’s leg tightening beneath my grip and I thought, “here we go.”

However, it was one of the tiny ladies sitting in the opposite row, who in a very stately and dignified manner got up, placed her hand on tourist number one’s shoulder and whispered, “You are in a silent car. Please remain silent or go sit somewhere else.”

Tourist number one looked at tourist number two. Then they both shrugged shoulders, gathered their belongings and exited the compartment.

The rest of us looked at each other and smiled.

I had to grip my hands tightly to keep from applauding; her husband, on the other hand, patted her hand energetically.

A minute later, the train was back in motion and we were once again immersed in our cocoon of silence.

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24 thoughts on “Silence is bliss, isn’t it?

  1. I love silence! I feel so calm and peaceful when the house is silent. I love it so much that I will occasionally over do it and end up feeling a little depressed. Everything in moderation.

    1. Neela, you said it, moderation like the Budha! :0) But yes, I agree. It can offer respite, especially when you’re overwhelmed with black noise!

  2. What a civilized, fabulous concept!!! I am so jealous!!!! On trains in Italy, though the conductor makes an announcement for everyone to turn off cell phones, no one does and the car is always abuzz with people talking not to each other, but shouting to some 3rd party-(usually mamma).

    1. OMG Jann, that is hysterical! I can so see it in my mind–a train compartment full of people consulting mamma from things all the way from what to cook for dinner to where to buy tomatoes! Love it! :)

  3. It can sometimes be a great relief to be forced into some quiet time. I went to a party recently- a fairly nauseating baby shower- where I did not know many people, and I ended up sitting outside by myself for a short while. I initially felt a bit bored and lonely, but I soon began to enjoy the stillness and quietude. We so rarely have time to sit in silence these days and simply be alone with our thoughts. I’m quite glad that you had the opportunity to enjoy the silent car.

    1. Deana, I too have been the victim of nauseating parties where I have had to find my way outside in order to prevent throwing myself from the roof. In any case, it’s good to know I’m not alone! And yes, you’re right–in the begining, and I think it’s cause we sometimes are not used to being in our own company, we find ouselves bored, but then as we settle in to this new vibe—ahhhh! Pure bliss! :)

  4. I would love to travel in a silent car, no matter destination!, it’s a dream!, because train passengers are always talking loudly on their mobile phones (as only spanish people can do, so loud!!), or shouting or doing something noisy!. I’ve tried to carry some earphones and listen to my music, but it’s hard to do!
    So nice to read you!
    besos & silence

    1. Señora Allnut, you’re right, music through earphones is hardly a good enough substitute for silence. I too have travelled on the noisy trains of Spain and have found some of them to be quite pleasant and others to be a veritable nightmare. hee hee! I guess it’s like everything in life, eh? :) Thank you so much for reading! besos y mucho silencio!

  5. That would be heaven for someone from Mumbai! What a wonderful experience, Bella. I’m still getting over the fact that trains have a silent car. Which part of the world is this…let me come visit!

    1. Oh Corinne, you would love it, I’m sure! A high order thinker like yourself could so benefit from such an experience! :)

  6. BELLA. i love this! i, too, wouldn’t normally choose the silent car – but the beauty of happening upon something so serene is lovely, isn’t it? cheers, lady.

  7. How cool is that? I do wish we have this kind of silent concept here. I can be trusted to hold my peace sometimes and a train ride is really a good reason for one. I love staring out of the window listening to my music player so the silent car would fit me swell!

  8. Oh my goodness Bella, this sounds like HEAVEN. I loved reading this; it made me calm to just envision it. You know my little environment has been ridiculously chaotic lately and I just wanted to thank you so much for your wonderful words and your continued support! You are my favorite kind of blogger/writer; you say what you mean and champion others who do so as well. You are wonderful!

    1. Heidi, I am touched. You have truly made my day. Thank you so much for your kind words. I know, without a doubt, that you will be able to triumph over the chaos and show it that you are indeed an army of one and that it takes more than just a little chaos to take you down!

  9. Hey ..am back and I missed reading your posts ..
    As for riding in a silent car ..haaa .. Be it a train or a plane or even a bus I’m someone who falls asleep like in a jiffy so the silence follows :P
    but if I had to be in one and not sleep ..I guess I would need a book to keep me occupied .. much like you I’m quite the chatterer too :D

    1. You know, Priya, I’m pretty good about falling asleep too but for some reason this doesn’t happen on the train. I guess that’s why I was especially grateful for the silent compartment! I wish we could sit together and chat away on one of those train rides! Just not in the silent compartment! :)

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more! You know, sometimes people come to think of silence as a luxury when in fact it’s like you say, it’s more of a survival strategy! Thanks for pointing that out!

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