Chaotic Thoughts


Anthony Bourdain is dead at 61. He killed himself.

Over and over and more, all over the newspapers, on the internet, in my mind.

I’m surprised by how his passing away has affected me. I never hero worshipped him nor was a rabid fan. I did enjoy watching his show on TLC when ever I could, it was entertaining.

He was a skilled storyteller who could combine the elements of local connections, culture and cuisine into a heady mix. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was more of an explorer than a celebrity chef.

Maybe it was because of how he came across on his show- sure, confident, humorous, bantering with his friend or just musing, comfortable squatting on a rickety stool or at a fine dining table; much of it felt spontaneous rather than scripted. Maybe that was his charm. He was handsome, successful and could dish out pretty solid advice.

Do I remember seeing him maniacal in any of his appearances?


He was always the levelheaded guy and old enough to know better. He was still working, shooting in France yet he decided to take his life.

So why?

Was he lonely in spite of being surrounded by people? Was he disenchanted with his success?

I don’t know but I’m disturbed enough to write this post.

I know suicide is grabbing eyeballs everywhere from print to electronic media. Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Avicii, 13 Reasons Why? Our own Sunanda Pushkar and Sridevi’s death came attached with conspiracy theories.

Seriously, what are the signs?

I remember the time when a friend who was physically strong, aggressive, a natural leader, casually mentioned how she tried to kill herself. I froze and the moment passed. We never spoke of it again. She’s fine or at least seems when we sometimes chat.

Another friend with whom I was hashing out the Bourdain mystery had this to say as a way of explanation, “Brains with trillions of cells and nano connections, many on autopilot mode, one cannot predict.” Then he goes on to confess that he too has walked down this dark path because he was unable to bear the constant family and professional pressure.

Luckily he was saved. He is now helping others fight similar hopelessness.

His story still made me go cold but brought home the power of connections, conversations, crutches, whatever works.

Coincidentally I’m reading ‘A man called Ove’. The reviews promise me it is a lovely feel good book. Still I can’t help humming the clever ditty, ‘Dumb ways to die‘ every time I put the book down.

Anyway I’m counting on the happy ending- the practical, organised, solid Ove changing his mind and seeing the wonder in this beautiful world.

And Anthony Bourdain, this was not the end I saw for you but I hope you found the peace you were looking for.

21 thoughts on “RIP

  1. The thoughts you think colour your world…what if you were colour blind? When the farmers commit suicide they become statistics, when the students do it they become numbers but when celebrities succumb to pressure of handling ‘ life’ they splash in the news and ‘we commoners ‘ wonder what could have gone wrong…this confirms the fact that money and fame are not enough to buy you mental peace.
    Your broodings should lead us to be more empathetic towards others. Love and kindness are the ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suicide is a loss for the family and the people who cared irrespective of whether the victim is referred to as a statistic or a tormented star that burnt out too soon.
      Anthony Bourdain did not fit my notion of one who could be driven to take his life and maybe that’s why his passing away makes me brood. He was open about his struggles, had the facility and the faculty to choose the best possible remedial recourse, was still working, in the limelight and if he was as real as he came across on his show, he was a regular intelligent guy.
      Maybe you are right Manjari about empathy helping although one can never go wrong with love and kindness. Yet I’m reminded of the noisiest kid in the class that every teacher is aware of, the patient calm ones with a smile are the ones most difficult to describe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, when celebrities take their lives we do wonder WHY!
    It kind of breaks our illusion too because we tend to put them on pedestal and realize they were made of clay only. Mental health has to taken as seriously as physical health.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I stumbled upon this post, nicely written! I share your thoughts. I’m surprised at how my mind is still processing Bourdain’s death. I imagine his last day at work, chatting away with his colleagues, saying he’llmeet them for dinner, which he didn’t. Did he already know he wouldn’t be going? Was it spontaneous or planned? And why do I care beyond the normal empathy we should all have for one another? In fact, I feel almost betrayed by him somehow. Why??! I have absolutely no idea. (He no longer wanted to play with us?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! That’s how I felt as well- disturbed or in your words betrayed somehow.
      I suppose we always saw him as an engaging empathetic storyteller who took us around the world.
      Maybe Lewis Carroll got it right.
      “Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so.
      You’re entirely Bonkers.
      But I will tell you a secret,
      All the best people are.”
      Didn’t foresee his journey would end like this.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. It was a pleasure to connect.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Happy to hear that. Enjoyed browsing through your site and I’m astounded by the number of countries you’ve visited. Ok! I’m jealous actually. Looking forward to reading your next post.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Moving,powerful post. Every celebrity death, as manjris said, breaks the mould that we have formed of celebrities being perfect, and raises the question, ‘why’?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ‘why’ certainly drew attention to what could possibly ail a person who had everything . Anthony Bourdain continues to live in my memories as the explorer who took me to ‘parts unknown’ .

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As manjris said, when people in showbiz die, they become the centre of Primetime shows while farmers and commoners become stats..
    great post!
    more power to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with what Manjris said but that’s how our media interprets death of common folk- farmers , students, soldiers going before their time as statistics. It is sad indeed. We need to give a face to the number and speak aloud of the ‘why’ and look for solutions. Death is a loss irrespective of your social/ economic status. Thank you for responding to the the post.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to respond to the post. I agree, lately the frequency has increased but hopefully it is also sparking conversations that mental health is as important as physical fitness and that’s a step in the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s