Sam was there and Alex, Amit and Maha Mantra. The girls were there too, Kathleen, Anne Lise and Sandini. Their fearless leader, Mangal Aarti, who was also there, had arranged our meeting at Kensington Market, perhaps the most chant friendly location in the whole of the Greater Toronto Area.
And that’s why we (I was honoured enough to be there as well) conducted a Nam Sankirtan Party, and a party it was. We had fun, and so did shoppers and browsers. It was the first public chanting arrangement for the group from Bhakti Lounge, Mangal Aarti’s little baby (baby as in project).
I was deputed to establish our processional route in addition to being the chanting leader. Hare Krishna Hare … is what we sung in receive and response format. It met with pedestrian approval as the sweet sound tended to come through cold biting air. In fact, Maha Mantra Das, our monk who first heard of Krishna about two years ago transcended the briskness of the day as his powerful fingers tapped the ends of the mrdanga drum. He’s become quite skilled at it. He was our hero.
We snuck up the common streets that make up Kensington, such as the street with this very name, and Nassau, and Baldwin, with their graffiti bound vintage clothing nooks. In Kensington “anything goes” that excites the creative and radical types. When a small chanting party such as this trails through the streets (and I’ve done this for 40 years now) you gauge the success of the program by the attitude in which the participants project themselves. It was evident that Sam, Alex, Amit, M. Mantra, Kathleen, Anne Lise, Sandini, Mangal Aarti and I were like one big happy family.