White Minaret. Bangalore, India. Copyright billi-jean.com

There is, perhaps two kilometres or so from our hotel, a minaret, ornate and beautiful, standing high above the skyline, it’s white a striking contrast against the green of the trees. Five times every day, the Islamic Call to Prayer is broadcast from here, calling the devout to pray.

I’ve heard the call to prayer, of course, on television, but I had never heard it in person. I had no idea it was so beautiful or so moving. It is always blended with the softened sound of cars and their horns on the main road some ways away, the hammering of construction, the occasional barking dog and once, a fighter jet.

Hearing it, has the effect of cementing whatever I’m doing at that moment in my memory. The first time I heard it I didn’t expect it, only because I hadn’t thought it through beforehand, I guess. I froze. I had been making peanut butter and jam sandwiches and I stood there, in the sunshine and tropical breeze coming through the open kitchen window, bread in one hand, knife in the other, and listened until it was over.

I’ve had the same experience several times since that first time, pausing while sorting laundry, or while doing dishes. It was several days before I noticed the minaret in the distance. Several days more before I was able to get a good photo. When I can, I like to stand on the balcony in the dark, embraced by the aromas coming from the kitchens of the apartment block nearby, feeling the velvety night air, and listening to that final call of the day entwined with the distant sounds of the city. It is a beautiful ending to the day.