“There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.” So said William Butler Yeats.
We were at the wedding of the daughter of our friends, Tushar and Sunetra, both astrophysicists. A couple and their tween son sat close to the havankund watching the ceremony very attentively. The man and boy were dressed in kurta-pajama, the woman in a blue sari. They seemed to be North Indians.
At lunch my husband and I were seated beside them. We introduced ourselves. They were from Mexico! Armando, Patti and Emilio. Armando is an astrophysicist and has collaborated with Sunetra on several projects – that’s how they knew each other. We chatted about our kids, professions, had they been to Bangalore before, places we had visited in Latin America, things like that. I told Patti about a singer I used to like and before we knew it we were softly singing old Spanish songs together!
It was 1994. My husband, I and our little son were in a taxi driving along the bridge across Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. There was music playing in the taxi. I don’t have an ear for music at all, so I was surprised to find myself enjoying these songs – lyrics, guitar, the voice. I asked the driver who the singer was. It was Leo Dan. I bought a couple of cassettes in Maracaibo and listened to them so often that I learnt to sing many of them completely. A few years ago I used the internet to get the lyrics right.
Those were the songs Patti and I sang that day. We had fun doing that, thanks to an Argentinian singer that nobody in India has heard of. ¡Qué raro!
My husband and I had lunch with them the next day and met for coffee another time. It’s strange how you sometimes really hit it off with strangers. The interaction is light and easy as there’s no history, I guess.
We now have an invitation to visit them in Mexico City for a holiday. Maybe we will. Someday. I’ve always had this notion that I’ve spent an earlier lifetime on Earth as a Latina, which explains why I took a fancy to Español although I’m not good at picking up languages, and responded with pleasure to Spanish music despite being tone-deaf!