Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hare Krishna! (2)

I go through a ton of phases, really too many to count. I justify my erratic behavior by the fact that I’m young. It’s what you are supposed to do, you know? You get really messed up, and then find yourself. Boom.

Well anyways, my phases are sometimes impulsive and a little naïve. I think the thing is that my mind is very crazy, comparable to a Baz Luhrmann film. A lot of ideas, but you have to watch the whole thing to understand it. My life isn’t as romantic as Luhrmann’s films, so not too many people actually stick around. But, so far, I’ve been able to tough it out, and I’m even enjoying my recent adventurous phase.

A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain really touched a nerve with me, it was that try anything attitude/ go get ‘em energy that I identify with. This attitude that has led me to pop my little bubble. In this thick air of adventure, I found myself biking to the Hare Krishna Center in Detroit.
I was reading Steve Job’s biography at the time, and I was yearning to find my guru. And by that I mean that I wanted to become an enlightened tech god like Jobs. Of course I didn’t have the expenditures to travel to India, so I settled on Detroit, Michigan. Also, I probably should have driven there but whatever (for context, the phrase YOLO was popular this summer.)

On a beautiful summer evening, I biked the shores of East Detroit with my friend and her family. My friend is Indian and her father practices Hinduism, so he was knowledgeable about the religion. We rode past vacant houses, through overgrown sidewalks, along the Detroit River, and finally to the Fisher Mansion. Donated in the 1970’s as a Hare Krishna Temple, the Fisher Mansion is a beautifully architected building. Upon arrival at the temple, we were greeted by the sounds of music singing “Hare Krishna” (“Praise Krishna”), a culturally diverse group of people, and the smell of curry.

Every Sunday, they have a feast at the temple were they serve a meal in exchange for a small donation. My meal was some of the best food I’ve tasted: bananas, a bright highlighter colored mixture (yum, curry), a sweet mushy dessert, fried bread, and fruit juice. This is what I wanted. A meal that felt foreign, but I appreciated it and tasted it without stereotypes or preconceived notions about the culture. All I had to do was close my eyes and listen to the music and everything went blank except my taste palette infused with exotic mixtures.
Hare Krishna Center
Detroit, MI

Through Bourdain’s travels, he always mentions the context of the food because the experience surrounding the food can make a meal. In his chapter on Vietnam, a particular line peaked my interest, “The astounding freshness of the ingredients, the brightly contrasting textures and colors, the surprising sophistication of the presentation – the whole experience is overwhelmingly perfect” (58). This sums up my experience at the Hare Krishna center. No, okay so I realize I’m not going to invent the latest tech gadget or become a Steve Jobs. However, I did realize the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone. To be completely enamored with your surroundings, and your senses engaged within an experience that is unique, foreign, and authentic… little can surpass the excitement of immersion and learning. 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed how you managed to have your own mini "Cook's Tour" without even leaving Detroit. That building looks beautiful.