The Azaan

by C H

It was a solitary voice, saying Allah-hu-Akbar and other familiar but incomprehensible syllables. Though it was coming from far away, for the nearest mosque was a mile northward, she could hear it clearly, as if it were being recited in this very lane, and it’s presence filled the grey area between her sleep and waking. The singer, if one could call him such, seemed absolutely absorbed, wherever he was, in the unearthly lift of the melody, in his indecision between repetition and progression, and in the delicate business of now prolonging and now shortening a syllable. The city was still – the trams, the trees whose leaves were covered with a film of dust, the junctions, Lower Circular and Lansdowne roads, the three-storeyed houses on Southern Avenue, the ten-storeyed buildings on Ballygunge Circular Road. Soon that machinery would start working again, not out of any sense of purpose, but like a watch that is wound daily by someone’s hand. Almost without any choice in the matter, people would embark upon the minute frustrations and satisfactions of their lives. It was in this moment of postponement that the azaan was heard, neither announcing the day nor keeping it a secret.

Amit Chaudhuri – Freedom Song