A couple of days ago I was talking to a very good friend of mine, who happens to be a Sikh.
We were at the Waves coffee shop on Main St/E Pender….it’s one of my local hangouts, where I go to drown my sorrows or wake up from the result of a heavy night!
Anyways, my friend is a budding musician…he plays the tabla with a local rock band, bringing a taste of the East to modern rock…great fusion, I think.
He was listening to something on his iPod, and suddenly, I caught the glint of tears in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he said he was fine. But his mood had changed in a few seconds, so I sussed there must be a problem…maybe I had said something to upset him.
He’s always been a mysterious kinda fellow, ever since I’ve known him, forever having a faraway look in his eyes, as if he is from another place, another time maybe. Always, always…he questions what we accept as normal…why is it that Time has to be obeyed….what is life…..who has seen heaven…who has seen hell….what are we doing here on Earth…does anybody know….and stuff like that!
But today, he was visibly upset. I pushed him to tell me. He let out a sigh, and said ok, handing me his iPod….listen to this.
It was an Indian song he was listening to….I liked the music…kinda sad it seemed….but I was damned if I could understand a single word! I asked him about it. He asked me back….what did I think of it?
I told him it was great, beautiful tune, but what is the guy saying? When he translated a few words for me, I asked him to let me listen again. And with the translation, the song took on another totally mystical aura for me, too.
The last few words of that song really moved me, too….the guy singing “Sahil pe hum khaday hain…..Sahil ki chaah lekar..” meaning ” I stand at the shore…..At the shore I stand, hoping…”
I know, I know…it doesn’t make sense..but my friend explained that the writer is writing his words metaphorically….words that have a deeper, profound meaning…..he is trying to evoke the feelings…of anticipation..of hope…of unknown joys…that can be experienced if only we can cross that shore…and make it to the other side….
But what made those tears well up in his eyes, I asked? He looked down at the floor awhile, then looked at me and said “We are all standing at the shore…..standing with our own hopes, feelings, wishes…..but what do we know about the other shore….what will be on the other side….nobody knows..don’t you see..?”
Now I understood him completely…somehow, those words I heard in that song, written in a place more than 6000 miles away, had bridged the gap between my western world, and my friend’s Eastern world.