The nectar of Arabic book distribution
Myself and Kautukarnava Prabhu launched out Arabic book effort on 15th December. Unable to locate a promising spot while operating in ‘testing the waters’ mode, we decided to start from the Pharao’s Egyptian Sandwiches on Geary Street in San Francisco. Much to our disappointment, the eatery turned out to be a deserted place, but it had a Halal Store, called the ‘Salama Halal Meat’ next to it. This store wasn’t on our itinerary, but seemed to be bustling with Arabs. Unsure about how the owner of a halal meat store might react to our book stall, we decided to setup our table in
front of a pub next door.
‘Bratherr-r, h-you are-a putting h-your-a table d wrong way’ – yelled someone in a strongly Arabic accented voice. Turned out that the table we setup in front of the pub hadn’t had its one leg fully locked, and this gentleman who was approaching us from the left of the pavement was first to spot the anomaly. ‘Watt exactly are h-you doing here-a?’, he asked with a puzzled yet curious look on his face, as he stared at an Arabic BG peeking out from the carton. “We are distributing a 5000 years old ancient wisdom literature on Yoga from India”, beamed a radiant Kautukarnava prabhu, exuding with transcendental self-confidence. ‘Brather-r, h-my name is Ali, I’m from Morocco and I’m the h-owner of h-this Halal Store. h-You are welcome to setup h-your table in front of h-my store. The pub h-owner might not like you’, he concluded in his thick Arabic accent. Wow’, we contemplated our life’s choices, as we raised our heads to read the in-depth description of exotic meat types displayed on the top of his store. ‘Don’t worrryy bratherr-r’, Ali continued, ‘If it rains, you please cama inside’, and he graciously accepted an Arabic Gita as Kautukarnava Prabhu still stood awestruck from his recent read. Ali gave us a donation, and we finally pulled our table close to his store.
The location proved to be spot on. Arabic speakers thronged the store through the day, and couldn’t let their eyes off the books once they spotted Arabic. No one who even remotely looked in the direction of our books escaped the astute attention of Kautukarnava Prabhu. We distributed books to people of several nationalities here – Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan and Morocco. As we wrapped up in the evening, I shared some prasadam with both Ali and a neighboring Pizza store owner, ‘Hakim’, from Jordan. Hakim even offered me a slice, which I gently refused, despite him swearing that the topping were all ‘Halal’!
Bh Sandesh and Kautukarnava dasa