Communal Lunch at a Sikh Temple
My guide in Delhi was a big guy named Manjit Singh. As the last name may suggest, Manjit is a Sikh, and he took me to his temple, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. At the Sikh temple, every day, throughout the day, food is prepared and served to anyone who comes to the door (donations optional). We went into the langar, a large communal kitchen/dining room, to have lunch. “In here, there are millionaires eating side-by-side with beggars,” Manjit told me as we sat down in a huge dining room filling with a new shift of dinners. Lunch was excellent: a delicious mess of lentils, rice pudding (good, though not my kind of sweet), a fine curry and sweet rice with saffron, chapatti on the side. More than the simple satisfaction of our communal lunch, however, this was an very good way to experience to some limited degree what it must be like to be part of another culture, which is something we sometimes seek when eat at ethnic restaurants. Sitting down cross-legged (or some approximation thereof) in a large room with a cross-section of Delhi demographics, I felt like maybe I was tapping into a vibe that would be otherwise inaccessible to me. I was most grateful for that.
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