On a crisp September Saturday, Keith Famie and the Visionalist crew began a long odyssey which began on the Detroit landmark Belle Isle, and will culminate in a visit to India with an influential member of Detroit’s Indian American community.
It couldn’t have been a more auspicious start—the International Society for Krishna Consciousness' biggest street festival, Rathayatra, is sure to bring elements of spiritual good fortune to what will be a spiritual journey for us as well as a cultural one. We soon discovered that unlike most festivals commemorating a particular holiday or ethnic background, the core of Rathayatra seemed to be a simple celebration of life. ‘Life Comes from Life’ is a Krishna phrase, and a partial explanation for the magnificent free vegetarian feast provided. Happiness seems to animate these colorful devotees.
From there we began discussions with Naren Balasubramaniam, the immediate-past president of Tamil Sangam Michigan and the founding-member of the Board of Trustees, a man of talent and indomitable good will, who has graciously volunteered to be our conduit into Detroit’s Indian American community. Such a mentor is invaluable in each installment of the ‘Our Story’ series, and we are fortunate to have stumbled upon Naren so early in production.
He’s given us inroads into Tamil Detroit, a colorful and proud group with ancestry in India’s south, bound by the Tamil language. In January, we were fascinated by the exotic food, dance and songs of the Tamils during their Thai Thirunal Harvest celebration held at Troy High School.
It’s with the utmost eagerness that we look forward to a deep and thorough understanding of Detroit’s Indian community, whose combination of intellect, spirituality and joy of being appears (in these early stages) to be exceeded by no other.