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Saturday
Apr052008

Auto Akbar


One goal for me on this trip was to remain intentional -- to stay in the present and synthesize as much as possible -- about finding connections with others I encountered, no matter how different they may seem at first.  Take Majd, for example.  Majd was the taxi driver that took us to the airport.

The cab ride started out quiet and "normal", however a few minutes into the trip, he promptly apologized, seemingly for no reason, then turned on his radio.  After a brief bout of tuning, he ended up at station 94.30, which, at 11am every Friday, broadcasts the prayers of a Saudi Muhlah to whom Majd is devoted.  Played at a volume that drown out much other thought, this act of sonic intrusion might have generated some offense for the average tourist.  Instead of complaining, however, we chose to "tune in" right along with our driver and see what we might get out of it.

Not knowing Arabic precluded any specific understanding of the prayer.  That left only the cadence and timber of the Muhlah's voice upon which to reflect.  After listening to the prayer, I was impressed by the results.  The delivery was hypnotic and, despite its volume, I found myself focused and clear after the experience.  In fact, I felt awake, yet relaxed enough to remove any dread of the long plane ride ahead of us.  Once the radio went off, I thanked Majd for turning it on.

Should you find yourself in Paris at 11am some Friday, take a moment to find 94.30 on a radio and a place to sit, close your eyes and enjoy.  Better yet, run out to the street and flag a cab.  Who knows, if you're in the flow, perhaps Majd himself will pick you up and share his special prayer with you!

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