Culture & Society

The Silent Cry: Rediscovering The Power Of Listening In The Digital Age

The thing that stops us from saying what we want to say the most is the fear that the person in front won't understand, and because of this fear, we often remain silent.

A woman sitting at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

I had watched a short film titled "Listener," directed by Tarun Dudeja, in which Kumud Mishra played the lead role. The plot of the movie was about a person sitting at a table in a cafe who could listen to the troubles, personal sorrows, and emotions of people from home to office. His job was solely to listen, but in reality, he wasn't truly listening; he was just acting like he was. However, you suggest that he actually listens and feels better in the end. This short film poignantly highlights the tragic neglect of genuine listening in the midst of our chaotic lives, leaving us pondering the true meaning of connection.

In a world where solitude often plagues the heart, a recent headline echoes, "You can now hire a boyfriend in Bengaluru if you're feeling melancholic."

This news from the city of Bangalore didn't surprise me much. The bigger the city, the lonelier its inhabitants become. And in this loneliness, there's a search for a companion to share the born sadness.

This technological world has given us as much as it has taken away, such as a gentle touch, a comforting shoulder, and moments of crying.

Sometimes on Facebook, you search through thousands of online friends, or you scroll through hundreds of names in your phone contacts to find someone you can suddenly call and confide in, but you can't find that name, so you suppress your sadness within and watch a YouTube video or a Netflix series. But what you wanted to say gets buried somewhere, lost in the darkness.

We've reduced our listening to the surroundings, and even the psychiatrist's waiting room is crowded now. We can't confide in walls, mountains, or trees anymore. We can't convey everything. We need someone who feels like they are truly listening, where my words not only touch their ears but also change the expressions on their face, making them feel a bit lighter inside.

In many developed countries, even in India, there's a concept of a "human library" where you don't pick books; you choose people to listen to their stories without judging them.

The thing that stops us from saying what we want to say the most is the fear that the person in front won't understand, and because of this fear, we often remain silent.

In the realm of technology, our emotions are slowly dwindling, and our words are fading away. Have you noticed how we've embraced emojis to express our feelings? Joy, sorrow, sadness, and laughter – we've replaced them with ready-made emojis. We're reverting to a symbolic language, much like where human civilization began.

When we suppress our emotions in words, many thoughts of the mind remain unspoken. Unspoken sorrow leads to silent depression, and sometimes, it even pushes people towards self-harm.

Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychologist, once had his students ask him, "Aren't you bored spending hours with patients?" Freud replied, "I'll be bored when I start listening. I act like I'm listening, and they start to get better." Listening is a mystery. Mental illnesses emerged because we didn't speak about them at the right time or because we didn't have someone to listen. Eventually, we lose those close to us.

Now, let's talk about the news from Bangalore. It's not about searching for a boyfriend; it's about seeking a listening ear in a big city. It's about saying, "Listen, I'm not feeling okay today. My mind is heavy. Today, I want to cry."

In essence, technology has led us to a point where we're losing touch with the art of conversation and true emotional expression through words. Instead, we're reverting to symbols and emojis to communicate our feelings, which might not always capture the depth of our emotions. This shift in how we express ourselves in the digital age raises important questions about the impact of technology on human connection and the need to rediscover the power of meaningful dialogue.

In our daily routines, we often engage in battles of emotions behind a façade of a forced smile. Occasionally, we choose the path of fleeting joy, the lure of numbing our pain with the embrace of alcohol, or the pursuit of solace within the realm of sleep-inducing medications.

Have you ever pondered how difficult it must be to reply, "I am not feeling fine" when the world expects a robotic "I am fine" in return to the age-old question, "How are you?" The pressure to maintain a façade can be immense.

However, in these simple yet profound words lies a world of difference. Asking, "What's wrong?" and offering a shoulder to lean on is a gesture of genuine care. It's a pause in the relentless race of the world, a moment where someone has knocked on your door, saying, "I'm here to help."

In a world that seems to be constantly in a hurry, where life has pounded on your door, asking for your attention, it's okay to take a moment to say, "I'm not okay." It's perfectly acceptable to lean on someone else's shoulder, even if that someone is a stranger.

We may not fully understand someone's pain, and we might not have all the answers, but we can say this much: "I'm here to listen, and I'll try to share your burden." Listening is a skill inherent in us all, and perhaps, you'll be better at it than you think.

You don't need to be physically present with someone to hear their pain, and distance should never be an excuse. Trust me, your willingness to say, "I'm listening to you," can be enough to pull someone out of their darkness. It's like a ray of light, an extended hand reaching out, where a drowning hand has asked for help.


So, next time you come across someone who says, "I'm not okay," remember, it doesn't take much to say, "I'm listening to you." It's a beacon of light, a helping hand, extended to rescue someone from their abyss.