The first time I encountered the name ‘Anthony Bourdain’ was when David Choe (an artist of Korean origin based in Los Angeles) did a portrait of him. I am immensely inspired and follow Choe’s work now and then, and his portrait sparked an inquisitive burn in my heart to know more about Anthony Bourdain. The first thing that came to my mind when I started watching ‘Parts Unknown’ on Netflix, since I had the subscription and this series showed up as soon as I typed his name, was ‘This guy knows and understands more than what meets the eye, and definitely been part of a very deep and painful struggle’. Maybe It is the lines on his face, or the audible sound of the concoction of words that leave his wise aura, or simply the feelings of relating to someone’s struggle and celebrating small victories of strangers who are just happy that someone recognizes their pain, that his work speaks volumes about his passion towards understanding and depicting the struggle in different parts of the world and how their cuisines have been part of the struggle and celebration, both. Both of these are virtues, in my opinion at least, and few people use their virtues as a tool, rather than a shield to protect their egos and images. To know that an artist of international capacity is doing such work restored my confidence in human race. The episode on Libya is my favorite because of him and his crew wandering through the conflict zones to tell this brave story of the struggles and wins of Libya and its people. The libyan people winning over Gaddafi and storming of his entire compound, and how it was done, as narrated by the guy who himself sent messages to the U.N. to give directions to the bombs, was exhilarating and goose-bumpy. When the entire world was busy uploading fake happiness on social media, this dude was out there in Libya glorifying their struggle, and understanding the change in their life and making me, and so many others feel so happy about it. This episode was also one of his own favorite, as he wrote about it on his website – http://anthonybourdain.tumblr.com/post/50670679641/libya
Recently, in the Le Chambard hotel in Kaysersberg, France, where Bourdain and his crew were intending to draw attention towards the Alsatian cuisine, he was found hanging dead in his bathroom one morning. His passing away, especially a suicide, left me grieving for a stranger, after a very long time. The feeling that I will never be able to watch Anthony Bourdain visit the extremities of the wake of human race’s hate, greed and contempt and find victories that keep people alive and kicking, along with their cuisines and what not!, made my stomach putrid, and my head fuzzy. David Simon, the creator of ‘the wire’, recently wrote about his perception of Anthony Bourdain owing to their meetings and work together. Being an addict and having quit too, Bourdain, on meeting David for the first time apologized on writing that he could not find heroin easily in Baltimore in one of his pieces, and David hilariously called him the most incompetent drug addict to date. David’s write-up/ memoir is highly recommended for all inspired human beings to indulge in the human-ness of Anthony Bourdain – Link
Committing a suicide is considered weak in the society in general, and although people try to find a very strong reason to justify it, they tend to judge it as an act of weakness. His mother commented that Anthony would be the last person she would imagine doing such a thing, and most of us think the same. But, the message from David Choe on Instagram recently, about his and Anthony’s clinical depression, and how one should fight it by staying in touch with other people suffering from the same problem, touched my soul.
I personally think it is right to say that people suffering from depression should share their problems within their own genre, and should stay positive by sharing all the time. Isolation is personal, and self-inflicted, and in most cases, owes to the feeling of not being received honestly. However, if you ever found a person to talk to, with whom you can share your thoughts and struggles, and know that the person would understand and share his/ her experiences as well, would be satisfying and positive.
P.S: Everything can be cured, or at the least given hope for, except death. Death is final. Choose Wisely!