An eye for miracles

Last night, we went to a concert by Avishai Cohen, my favourite contemporary jazz musician, whose trio was supported by the Babelsberg orchestra.

The conductor took center-stage and waved his baton to trigger the violins to start a slow tune. The cellos were the first to blend in, followed by the trombones and clarinets. At three corners of the semi-circular group were the largest instruments – a lute, cymbals and a shining tuba.  Every instrument was played by a world-class performer, expressing his or her individual proficiency. And yet, all of them followed the conductor to play as one unit. The conclusion of the piece was punctuated by the crash of cymbals that reverberated through the expansive hall for nearly five seconds. Soon, the members of the jazz trio joined in. The sound system was setup for their individuality to stand out, in perfect harmony with the orchestra. As I witnessed this performance – this elaborate ritual – I thought of how it was a magnificent miracle.

But with a little more thought, I realized that the public transport system that took us to the concert – the thousands of trains and buses working in perfect synchrony whose real-time schedule was accessible on our smartphones was another miracle. The supermarket where we shopped for making our dinner – foodstuffs from every corner of the world, stored, preserved, transported, displayed and restocked for our convenience was yet another miracle. Electricity,  plumbing, the stock market,  e-commerce – we are surrounded by an endless assortment of miracles.

And these are just the ones we have created. I am reminded of a conversation with my dentist on the formation of the human skull. She described how the skull starts its development as four tiny, disconnected bones, growing from different corners and coalescing perfectly to assume its elaborate structure. That this happens for a vast majority of cases without any defects makes our birth a miracle in itself. At that point, I told her about how medical-science must be fascinating field, considering how richly packed with miracles it is. She had replied that this was true of every field, and it is only a matter of whether we choose to observe them.

I realize her wisdom with greater emphasis today.

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