Thursday, July 03, 2003

the secret concert

It was even more silent than normal at Sede Boqer yesterday. The air was still, and birds hung sluggishly in the air. Hot. Like in a certain colombian novel, it was so hot that if they could the birds would have broken through the windows only to die on the caravan floor. And the evening brought no respite. Even the helicopters had fallen silent, now that Israel's pulled out of Gaza, despite the new roadblock. As I was sitting on the steps outside the room, wondering what to do and I heard music. Acoustic music. Russian voices. I realised that the russian community was having a mini party. But somebody was singing, with a guitar. Soon the only sound in the air was this soft guitar. I couldn't resist it, so i shamelessly gatecrashed the russian party. It was a farewell party for one of my neighbours, she's leaving in a week. And the singer was a visitor from New York. He studies piano somewhere, at some school. So I sat with them till way past midnight listening to russian folk songs. Eavesdropping on conversations that I don't understand. Abstract eavesdropping. But the music needed no translation. I remembered suddenly that the very first concert I've been to in India was a Russian one, during the time when the USSR was still on very good terms with India, and the cultural exchange was higher than normal. I must have been as high as my knee, and the concert was opposite my home in Bangalore and so I just wandered over. I can still remember some tunes, but I later figured that it was a strange version of one of Mozart's pieces. Can't remember the guy's name though.