An epitaph post for Anthony Bourdain is unbelievable and heartbreaking. I would not have wanted this in a million years. A man who was so inspiring and motivating hanged himself is painfully unbelievable. He was my definition of an ideal ‘man’ because ‘He wrote, he traveled, he ate, he drank and he was hungry for more’. Anthony Bourdain was punk, well read, tattoed, strong, opinionated, honest, unpretentious, unbiased, carefree, badass, macho yet not a misogynist, classist or racist. He was the ultimate ‘bad guy’ whom women love to fall in love with. He was that kind of a guy whom you would be scared to take to your parents but secretly just want to be with forever because you know life with him would never be boring.
It was 2001 when I started watching TLC erstwhile Travel and Living channel and accidentally watched an episode of ‘NO Reservations’. I had not known him before and didn’t know about ‘Kitchen Confidential’ either. The episode was on Ireland and the reason I got hooked was Dublin, James Joyce, and Dubliners. It was good to find a travel host who was talking about the literature, culture, and politics of a place along with food. His show was unlike other shows where they only showed the tourists spots and luxury resorts. His show was more like a journalistic documentary where they take you deep inside the alleys and lanes of a place. His show was global yet local.
Why did Tony appealed to us so much? The answer is because Anthony Bourdain captured our collective imagination and was able to sell us successfully a postmodern dream, the dream of travelling the whole world. Post-Globalisation people’s movement across the world increased dramatically, common men and women started dreaming of distant land. Ordinary middle class turned into solo travellers and backpackers and precisely at this juncture Anthony Bourdain opened up a whole new world to us. He taught us to leave our comfort zone and reservations and adopt the local culture. While Samantha Brown was showing us the Cox and Kings or Thomas Cook way of traveling Tony showed us the nooks and corners, street food and home-stays. He was not an isolated traveller whose only aim was to see the country; Tony was an invested and involved traveller whose aim was to ‘feel’ the country. So while the other travel shows were showing us the luxury resorts and best restaurants Tony was showing us home-cooked food, bomb blast in Beirut, famine in Somalia and drug abuse in Punjab. Each and every place he visited were not mere tourist destination anymore they became alive in our TV sets through Tony’s amazing narration. He was not only asking locals about places to see and eat but he was asking uncomfortable questions about their politics and culture. Food became his passport to know the place.
The image of Anthony Bourdain turned him into the biggest ‘brand’ for travel and food. He was a ‘sophisticated punk’ ( who dined with President Obama) and people all over the world loved the way he carried himself. He was a tall and handsome man with bright eyes and crooked smile. He had an amazing voice and an equally amazing sense of style. He was adored for his tattoos, thumb ring, and ear studs (though he stopped wearing them after his daughter was born because he felt fathers shouldn’t wear them).
The entire world envied him for his ‘perfect job’ however nobody cared to look at his darker side where he fought drug abuse, debt, break-ups, divorces, and loneliness. Tony could have died been due to cardiac arrest, car accident, plane crash, or even severe food poisoning, however, he died of depression and that is something that is bothering everyone. A person who always advocated movement, shouldn’t have stopped like this. This is so unlike Anthony Bourdain, the man who would always remain a hero for me. Alas!! My dream of meeting you would remain unfulfilled.
Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by dear Corinne.