friends you haven’t met yet

“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!

                                                                                      ******************

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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!

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One thought on “friends you haven’t met yet

  1. When Sunetra told us about Apoorva´s wedding, we began to dream about going to India to attend that very special event, even though the date coincided with our daily duties, no holydays. But for us, my husband, my son and me, it was very important because we have a close friendship with them. We think of each other as family. Also, an Indian wedding was such an event by itself since rituals are so different from occidental weddings.

    We decided to go so we arranged things to stay in India for a whole month. Now I realize it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Three days of wedding, filled with ancient culture, sharing Aporva, Sunetra and Thushar’s feelings, participating in rituals as relatives, talking to those friendly people, looking at the elegant and colourful clothes and garments, every corner full of flowers, it was such a success, one in our lives!

    The last day, while we were watching some rituals, I saw a woman looking at me: she was wearing a sari almost the same colour as mine. She was not one of Sunestra’s friends we have met before so it was kind of strange. At the time of the lunch, suddenly, by a chance, we were sitting side by side, and of course, we began to talk. She, as well as Sandra our old friend, helped me to arrange the banana leave where the meals were going to be served. It was so nice from them, I needed that help.

    Then she, Shyama, asked me about a Latin American singer: Leo Dan. The incident took me back to my teen years. I am sure nobody would believe it but he used to be one of my favourite singers when I was ten or so. I remember a radio program which used to present songs of three famous singers at that moment. My favourite one was Leo Dan so I knew most of his songs; I used to sing along with the radio. In a couple of minutes, we were singing together! Incredible: a Mexican woman singing a Latin American song in duo with an Indian woman, in Bangalore, India! This was one of the events, among uncountable things, I told my sisters as an incredible experience.

    A friendship was born that day. I believe sharing experiences is the best way to bring you closer to people; the relationships that arise then, last forever. Now I eagerly expect the moment we can sing those songs together in Mexico.

    I agree with you, Shyama. There are friends we haven’t met yet.

    Liked by 1 person

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