The contestants were chomping away and downing them as fast as possible. Big and spicy samosas were making their way through the channels to eager stomachs. Anticipating spectators were eyeing the daring challengers. Of course they were young. I’m almost 60, too far beyond the range for wolfing down these powerful savouries. Maybe it’s also a little frivolous for a monk to indulge in such a competitive sport. I decided to remain with the happy onlookers unequivocally rooting for everyone.
This Samosa Eating Contest is actually a promotion for the weekend’s Festival of Chariots. Toronto’s answer to New York City’s Time Square is at the corner of Yonge and Dundas, called Dundas Square where all kinds of urban hypes take place. TV cameras come to film this probably first of its kind contest, which was followed by kirtan. Kirtan chanting reverberated through the city block and beyond as Batman and Spiderman looked down from above with delight. Let me clarify – billboards of the heroes suspended high, looked like they took notice of the spiritual boys and girls who were chanting those sublime mantras.
Passions were subdued. The street became calm as the sun made way for neon lights to take over. Madhava from Switzerland had rolled out the maha-mantra, and then Bada Hari from the U.S. took his turn. I had a chance to mingle, meet people and shake hands. Hearts met and hearts melted because of the mantra. Hot, firey stomach pains abated as cool evening airs occupied the space. It was time and not the temperature of air that soothed the tummies.
Anyways, mission accomplished. People were informed, moved and enlightened. Chaitanya, who witnessed multiple kirtans and chariot festivals, seemed present as he was centuries ago in the place called Puri, India. Dundas Square reincarnated for a few hours into a spiritual oasis.
Jaya ho! By the way, the winners of the contest was an Australian chap by the name of Angus.