Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence."

That’s the third stanza of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence, a hit release as single in 1966, made even more famous as a part of Mike Nicholas’s The Graduate soundtrack. I thought of it while reading a recent This Is London article. “Britain's offices are falling silent as email replaces conversation, according to a new study,” it tells me. The Corporate Services Group PLC, staffing specialists, found it in a poll of 2,000 office workers. “Almost half of workers admitted they email the person sitting next to them to avoid making verbal contact. Yet a nosey one in five Brits uses email just to gossip to desk buddies about work colleagues.” As for mobile phones: “A cowardly one in five Brits confessed to dropping a text to their boss instead of calling in sick.” Moreover: “… the silent culture continues with one in five employees regularly plugging themselves into mp3 players at their desks. Men are twice more likely to work to music than women, both sexes agreed the most common need for tunes was to relieve boredom at work. Yet, an anti-social one in 20 Brits confessed they listen to music purely to stop colleagues speaking to them.” If you go to office to work, is it such a bad idea that you avoid chitchat and concentrate on the job in hand? I see a lot of commuters listening to music these days in Mumbai. Nothing wrong in that, I feel, considering the ambient decibel levels. I like the sound of silence.

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