When there are Parts Unknown……A tribute to Inspiration

Photo Courtesy: CNN

How to read this article. Play some beautiful soul-searching music. Listen. Read. Touch. Give

Two weeks and some days later its nagging still and probably will for a long time to come, the thought that of all the places roamed through roads less travelled, we can t really know or deep dive into a place dark enough to never see the light again. I mean, never mind what I mean, do you see the point?The meaning of never making a comeback because that is just what you wanted to do and consciously? Do you?I wonder if Anthony Bourdain could make a comeback to answer….

A recent article just published said Mr. Bourdain discovered yak cheese, ara and momos in Bhutan, a country ranked the highest for its happy people, yet it was also the place Bourdain considered death.He participated in a death ritual as well. I didn’t t know that, neither did you or anyone of us millions, who followed him into the unknown parts of unknow foods around the world…..oh the nourishment, the excitement, the ecstasy ,the discoveries, the sheer devotion and belief that aromas and taste create masterpieces and life. Orgasmic one might say. So true, indeed, and who could have known that better than the disdain Mr. Bourdain.

He made every dish, every taste, an experience to die for. I do not want to say it this way, but I am saying it, nevertheless. Whatever! Damn! It hurts!  There was this huge part of him, unknown, quietly seething, dying to tell the world, in my mind, that when you see an exit on the road and you re too tired to walk to the end, then take the exit. End of tiredness. End of a worthless story of a life. Or is it?

In India,around the world, the numbers grow and no one’s counting anymore. Everyday millions contemplate death and plan the killing. In the United States alone, where I visit and currently am, half a million deaths reported are from suicidal ideations and the unusual preoccupation with death that mortals have. It is also the third leading cause of 10 – to- 14- year- olds and the second leading cause among 15 to 34 year olds.Good luck to all the why’s not answered and you seek the answers till your dying day punishing yourself for not doing anything for the dear departed.It’s the grief, the utter helplessness and ignorance of the fact that you could not help someone you loved or knew that did him or herself in.

Am I rambling? I guess I am as my thoughts are so imperfect this moment. To what end will this go? To what purpose? Man! I need to vomit, to vent, that s about it……like a million have over tragic suicides and that of Anthony Bourdain.

Loved this guy. He had the world eat out of the palm of his hand. If empathy was an ingredient to nourishment as vanilla essence to ice cream, I would have given every ounce available had I known it could have charged and enriched his dying mind and changed the course to a plateful of life! I would hope to do this for anyone, so must you, so must everyone give empathy, making it to the end, a way of life and love; it should be our other oxygen. Offering help to those in need is not the same as helping. It must be seen and heard and felt. Suicide is fatal exhaustion. It cannot be said as in “she or he committed suicide” because unlike committing a murder or theft, it is not a crime; it is the lack of awareness, and failure of the individual and society to help with better solutions and apply them. Yes, its something to be mad about if you can’t help in that direction. You can’t believe how mad I am that I do not have another show to look forward to. How mad I am that with the whole world clamoring around Mr. Bourdain and not one person heard the fatal knock on his door but him!

That all we saw was:

 a man of enigma in taste

grandeur on his plate

defining countries and state

from gazpacho to dates

where next would the apple fall?

He’ll take us there to recall

The wonders and simplicity of pepper and salt….


That all we did not see was:

tall and liberated

yet so far so separated

burning inside in the fires of hell

charcoal and ecstasy lacing the death bell

the fatal exhaustion the body cold

the mind smashed and the spirit on hold

scary silence dark inside

we could not see

we let it be……


It’s not enough. What we do is not enough to help or even understand another person’s agony or disruptive mind. To empathize, to give more than is expected, is what we need to do and consistently. Just give more. It’s not about “I’m feeling generous today”, it’s about feeling.So, give, pay attention, listen, give, pay attention, listen…. give. Period. The action itself is simple, but it also begins with ourselves first. Psychologists counsel that “the practice begins with directing loving-kindness, or compassion, toward one’s self. As a sense of respect, friendship, and love or compassion develops with oneself, the practice then expands to include others”.Yup. It’s a practice to expand to include others. Chant. Do. Chant……I will practice expanding to include others.

I can vent a tad comfortably now, now that I have made a sort of tribute to empathy and Bourdain. The classic song comes to mind, ‘Sound of Silence’. Was this how it went? Goodbye darkness, my old friend, will not talk to you again…. something something…ahh! The vision remains…. take my arms that I might reach you….and touched the sound of silence.

I’m rambling again, yes? Never mind. I’ll live. You, keep the music of life alive.

Writer’s Profile:

Seema Azharuddin is a free lance writer, management consultant, activist, producer, actor, speaker and a journalist.

Seema Azharuddin with Vice President Joe Biden of the United States at a Democratic Fundraiser