On July 17 evening I met with D and Bene for apéro at Café Bonne Biere at Faubourg du Temple/Fontaine Au Roi, and a few days later D took me to Le Petit Cambodge for lunch—last week both those places were sites of attacks with five and eight dead respectively. The randomness that took the lives of others while saving my own is shocking, but it also hits my heart. That neighborhood was so close to where I was staying all summer in Paris (Belleville). I used to go there all the time to walk along the lovely Canal Saint-Martin and watch the diverse crowd, like the trumpet player above—musicians, artists, writers, lovers, young, old, every color of skin, every length of beard imaginable.
While I am thankful I was not caught in the attacks, there is no place I’d rather be right now than in Paris. In all my life I’ve lived in five cities: 17 years in Lucknow, six in New Delhi, 19 in Madison, six in Washington DC and three years in San Francisco. But although I’ve cumulatively spent only about four months in Paris, that is where I have the most number of friends anywhere in the world. Though I don’t speak the (French) language yet, that is where I’ve been invited into homes of people I’ve barely (or, in one case, not even) met, where I’ve received warmth, generosity and hospitality beyond I would normally expect. Paris is where I feel most joyous.
I am determined to visit all those lieux les attaques soon as I go back to Paris. The only way to win is to get back to normalcy as soon as possible, to show that the city and its people who love and celebrate life cannot be deterred by acts of violence and death.
Paris, je t'❤️.