|Inside the box we were given...|
|...beautiful honey mangoes!|
We were rushing around grabbing stuff from an Asian supermarket for our daughter's 21st birthday party, and keen to get home to cook. Yesterday many people here were celebrating Eid as it was Eid in Mecca (and today many will celebrate Eid too), so the street was filled with bustle as everyone was getting ready. Outside the shop a tall man dressed in traditional Arabic clothes stopped us, holding out a small, lidded cardboard box. "Mangoes are the best fruit in the world!" he said to my husband, "And today it is Eid. Eid Mubarak! Take these; you are a good man, God bless you!" And, shaking hands with us, he gave us the box, which contained six beautiful honey mangoes. We thanked him and wished him well as he continued to hand out boxes of mangoes to everyone passing by.
We were bowled over and deeply touched. Not only by the fact that we now had some delicious fruit to offer to Krishna and add to our fast-diminishing fruit basket at home, but by that man's unreserved generosity and kindness. In that magical moment there were no barriers of culture, religion, language or gender- just the warmth of human contact. You are a good man. Those words rang in my ears for hours; that man's positive affirmation of us had warmed our hearts well and truly.
It's so sad that all too often different cultural communities living in the same place don't get on; there has been so much mutual suspicion, hate crime and racial tension in the UK lately that it's sometimes hard to reach out and build/ rebuild bridges. That's where food comes in; and that's one of the reasons I love food blogging- food can nourish body, mind and soul when prepared and served in the right frame of mind and no matter where we live in this world, we all need to eat. It's a great leveller. When someone gives us food we feel nurtured, acknowledged, happy. We feel more connected with the person who gave it to us.
Hoping to cultivate in myself this non-sectarian and kindly attitude to others, to all of you who are celebrating at this time: Eid Mubarak! And Hare Krishna to everyone.