Long ago there was a misunderstanding. The people of the ancient land of Awaaz woke up one morning to find a wall around their land. Separated from their friends on the other side, from their schools, hospitals and fields, they wept with grief. They beat their fists against the wall but it was too thick; they tried to scale the wall but it was too high. Men with guns guarded the wall and fired at anyone who dared to try and cross over.
The Citizens of the Other Side taunted the people of Awaaz. They ate their lettuce and picked their lavender. They shouted and threw clumps of earth over the wall. The people of Awaaz held the clumps to their noses, inhaling the scent of their orchards, their ancient lands.
All that remained in the possession of the people of Awaaz was a small grove of maple trees. They circled the grove and wondered what to do. Should they make firewood from the trees in anticipation of the cold months ahead? Should they clear the land and plant vegetables? The sap of these trees, they knew, was sweet. But they did not care for warmth, or food, or syrup to sweeten their mouths. What the people of Awaaz needed was a way to ease the ache around their hearts.
The wood of the maple is supple yet strong, rich, resonant and the colour of warm caramel: perfect for making music. The people of Awaaz walked around the grove and found the biggest and most majestic of the trees. They begged forgiveness of the tree as they cut it down. Then they carved a beautiful musical instrument out of the thickest part of its trunk. They stained it with beeswax until it was a rich caramel colour. They called it a cello.
They built four such instruments, each a slightly different size. Then they chose their best musicians, who sat in a circle and played. The music they made sounded as if it were coming from the belly of the Earth itself. It floated over the wall and into the ears of the Citizens of the Other Side. There, the builders of walls and the pillagers of fields stopped their building and pillaging and stood still, listening. There could be no misunderstanding this music.
The musicians of Awaaz played their cellos every morning as the sun rose, and every evening as the sun set. Every day, more and more Citizens of the Other Side came to listen. They lay on the grass and sang along to the music. They held their children and warmed their backs in the sun. Instead of sand and bricks, they began to throw flowers over the wall, and then, with gentle tosses, they passed the people of Awaaz the fruit of their orchards. Tomatoes and lettuces flew over the wall, apples and peaches and bunches of cherries.
As the sun set on the last day of the year, as the cello players of Awaaz played the final note that would see out the light, the first brick fell from the wall surrounding them.