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Living the Jozi Life: Dinner at Nanda Kishor’s House

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December 30th, 2008

Africanizing the kids Revati and Kairava

A couple days before we were scheduled to leave South Africa, we had a day free to just spend time with our hosts and see some of the city sights. Many of us had family members eagerly awaiting a little taste of South Africa upon our return, so first we headed into the centre of Johannesburg to do some shopping at the African craft market.

Walking through the shopping centre on the way to the market, it was slightly disorientating to see wreaths of snow-sprayed pine and Christmas lights whilst the sun beat down outside. For most of us, this was our first experience of  the reversed seasons of the Southern hemisphere – it made a welcome change to the clouds of home!

Top L to R: Akincana Krishna, Hladini, Haladhar, Gaura Vani, Ananta, Rasa Acharya - Fun at Gold Reef Theme Park

We spent a good couple of hours browsing in the market. If you wanted something stereotypically African, it was here. Brightly beaded trinkets (‘You choose first, then I give you best deal’), handmade drums (‘I can tell you are musician, I give you a special price’), tribal masks, bread baskets with rhinos trotting around the edge (‘You like? I make myself – you see how good!’) – every corner presented a new plethora of souvenir options! The stall owners were curious to know about our slightly unusual group, walking around chanting on our japa beads (‘Excuse me, what is in the magic bag?’) and uncannily picking out all the items ‘Made in India’! I even got a few queries about which airline I worked for!

Eventually, we bought everything we needed, honing our bargaining skills in the process. Some us were practised already, after many trips to India. Fortunately for the rest of us, we had the expertise of Raji, who helps in running his family’s market stall.

We left the city centre to spend the rest of the day at the Padayachee family home, where we’d been invited for dinner by Nanda Kishor and Kandarpa (Kartik’s brother in law and sister). The afternoon slipped away in the beautiful grounds of their home as we relaxed and just enjoyed each other’s company. The Jozi boys introduced Ananta, Rasa and Gaura to the fine English sport of cricket, and true to form, Ananta was soon in hot competition with the South African boys – though he still bowled like a baseball player 🙂

Ananta and the crew playing cricket. Bhajans at Nanda Kishor’s House

In the evening, more devotees arrived and we sat in Nanda and Kandarpa’s temple room for some melodious kirtan. Many of the faces present were those who’d been there for our first night in South Africa, just under a week before. Now having shared so much together, it felt even more wonderful to join in singing Krishna’s name. Ananta sent the mantra around the room, getting each person to lead the chanting for one verse. Even the shyest singers gave in after a little encouragement, and each new voice turned the kirtan into a beautiful joint prayer.

A wonderful feast came next, finally followed by a spontaneous theatrical performance by Revati, Kairava, and Prema Sindhu prabhu’s daughters – Rasa and Priya – and not forgetting Rasa Acharya (making a cameo appearance as Lord Krishna’s evil uncle, King Kamsa).

 The Girls perform impromptu dramas. Watching the performance.

Hearts warm, bellies full, ears filled with kirtan – it was another great day in South Africa.

Jahnavi Harrison plays Carnatic violin and sings in As Kindred Spirits. When not going to university, she travels the world painting and performing and tracking it all in her blog: The Little Conch.

Watching the girl’s drama.

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1 Comments on “Living the Jozi Life: Dinner at Nanda Kishor’s House”

  1. Nava says:

    Thanks for sharing all your adventures. It makes me feel like I was there too!

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