Last Night At Kalachandji's
Posted May 5, 2007
[Editor's note: Chakra has received letters from several devotees who were involved in the fundraising campaign and construction of Kalachandji's, pointing out that this was a group effort, involving the entire community of devotees, from the cooks and pujaris, to the grhastas who set aside their lives to go out and collect. Hundreds of devotees went door-to-door, worked malls and offered their life savings to realize this dream. While the editors do not think that the author meant to take credit for the whole fundraising campaign, we agree that it is important to make sure that everyone's efforts are recognized.]
Last night at Kalachandji's restaurant in Dallas Texas was a great experience. Arrived about 6:15 pm-there were maybe 20 people there. All the tables (about 7) were taken. The prasadam was great, pakoras, dahl, 3 kinds of subji and a casserole with lentils on the bottom and mashed potatoes on top. There always is always the great 12 item salad bar. We took the king's table on the top overlooking the entire garden area. It was a bit chilly for me so I asked Vilas (our waitress/devotee from Southern California) to turn on the electric heater that is strategically placedover each table. I remembered Tamal Krishna Goswami so carefully designing this outdoor patio and making it very comfortable with heaters and fans. It was a grassy field in the middle of the Dallas temple with a tree growing. He told me that we were going to build a restaurant for the people of Dallas. He designed the patio and wanted to keep the tree and put it in a fountain in the middle of the outdoor restaurant seating.
As I sat with Sachi a sitar playing Dallas devotee I reminisced how Tamal Krishna Goswami personally designed everything. The prasadam was delicious and the restaurant was bustling. Every table in the courtyard was now full and the inside area too. We sipped our tamarind tea (that Tamal Krishna Goswami personally chose as the house drink) and could see people enjoying the tree fountain surrounded by white flowers. It was about 7:15 and the heater became too hot. We asked Vilas to turn it off.
I told Sachi how Tamal Krishna Goswami was such a visionary. How he built
that temple to be very special with the sky ceiling, the red lights around
walls, the sky as the ceiling, the wood floor, the lions in front, the blue
cloth on the vyasansa instead of red. And next door he built this
comfortable, appealing, restaurant and gift shop. I told Sachi how I had not
done one thing personally, but raised most of the funds and oversaw much of
the construction. It was nice to do some substantial service for Krishna. I
did not no what I was doing, I just did what Tamal Krishna Goswami asked me
to do and it became eternal.