Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweet Sound


baklawa

As I began writing this post, I heard an azaan coming through the window of my room. This is quite a rare phenomenon in Mumbai and I immediately realized what I wanted to write about. For the last year and a half that I have been here, I haven’t heard the sound of an azaan in my room. Chances are few that it was always there and I failed to notice it because as far as I know, there is no mosque in our vicinity. Given the vast expanse of this city, it is inane to wish to hear the soothing melodies of the places of worship. The fact of the matter is that this at once makes me nostalgic. I would wake up to an azaan, a gurbani and the loud chants of the temple together in my home town. I had a mosque, a gurudwara and a temple at a stone’s throw from my house. The religious sounds and symphonies would mark the start and end of our day. How we take for granted the once ubiquitous things that would be missed later!

I got a taste of the Israeli sweetmeat Baklawa, thanks to a friend who recently visited Israel. I am not too sure of my ability to describe delicacies. So, dictionary.com came to my rescue and as per their definition, Baklawa is ‘a Near Eastern pastry made of many layers of paper-thin dough with a filling of ground nuts, baked and then drenched in a syrup of honey and sometimes rosewater.’ Mouth watering, huh? Well…it certainly is. As I dug into one, my thoughts wandered to the Druze village they had come from. The Druze are a minority community in Israel who follow the Arab culture. Their faith is a mix of the tenets of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. How interesting! I held and ate something that was prepared by them. I know it sounds na├»ve but then it is not always the greatest of things that touches and awes us. It can something as simple as a baklawa or an azaan!

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