Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chillies and Revolution: Glimpses of Kensington on a May afternoon

"The stone that the builder refused, will always be the head cornerstone.”
(Ernesto Che Guevara)


[Child pointing to the wall]: "Hey, that's Jesus!"

Black woman [to Shami]: Salaam alekum.
Black woman [to me]: Are you Muslim?
Black woman [to Shami]: No, she's not Muslim. She'd wear a hijab.
Black woman [to me]: You Hindu?
Me: No
Black woman: Who do you believe in? What God will take you to heaven?
Me: All of them.
Black woman: No, you can't do that. [Pointing to Shami] You pick one man don't you? You have to pick one leader too, someone who will show you the way. Whose your leader?
Me: Gandhi
Black woman: Mahatma Gandhi?
Me: smile
Black woman: Do you pray to him?


"You have to be someone" (Bob Marley)


Kensington Market is a veritable melange of grunge, pot, resistance, and spice; where derelict walls bear brazen graffiti and the revolutionary spirits of Che Guevara and Bob Marley still linger; where rickshaws festooned with plastic carnations stand in front of chic French bistros; and the smell of fresh baked empanadas, ground espresso, jerk chicken, and organic chocolate collide; where on warm afternoons the gritty accents of the young mingle with smoky Latino vocals and the rum-laced musings of wise men from Barbados. If you are lucky enough, a peek into a shopper's jute bag can yield surprising wonders: vanilla beans from Madagascar, bracelets made of Icelandic whale bone, dried chillies from Peru, a take-away menu from the Hungarian Thai, a wedge of Swiss Emmenthal, tapioca from Trinidad, couscous from Israel, a rasta hat, and a pamphlet on becoming a Trotyskian revolutionary...


"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality." (Ernesto Che Guevara)

Some Kensington Keywords: counterculture; synagogues; hippies; immigrants; graffiti; grunge; resistance; revolution; pot; eclecticism; falafels; multilingual street signs; organic produce; La palette; rickshaws; eco-cars; funky doors; vintage clothes; the Hungarian Thai; Roach'O'Rama; Ali Baba's House of spices; Cobs Bread; The European Butcher; Big Fat Burrito; pedestrian Sundays; African drum beats; Zimmermans Freshmart; Last Temptations; I Deal Coffee; Urban Herbivore.


"In this bright future, you can't forget your past." (Bob Marley)


Jordon Gowans said...

I'll have to visit you one of these days. Your cultural knowledge encompasses the specific, national and universal. Impressive. Seen "Revolver"? It's the best movie I've seen since "The Prestige." Very Vyasa.

Manini said...

yes, do come visit :-)