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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Aroma of Words

As I lay on my bed in the cold, lifeless "call room", the beep of the pager wakes me up from the sleep that never was. The elusive sleep. Something from within me pushes me to put my thoughts in words. Words. I was just thinking how some words just get to you. Especially, sometimes, some words from your mother tongue will rustle your soul in such myriad ways. For instance, the Punjabi word "Santaap". To me, the word has such a visceral feel that I can't find an equivalent in the Queen's language. Purgatory comes to mind but that means more of something external, something imposed on you while "Santaap" would capture the sense of burning from within. The aroma of words.

I have been listening to Shiv Batalvi a lot in recent times. Actually, saw a video of him singing on Youtube. Awesome experience. Wish I could purge out my emotions in words that well. The past one year has been a testing time for me. It has tested me on a lot of different aspects. But I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons as well. I wish those lessons never have to be put to use again but I really doubt that. The following words from Maachis aptly describe my feelings about this:

ek nanha sa lamha hai,
jo khatam nahi hota,
mein lakh jalata hoon,
yeh bhasam nahi hota.

It is a little momemt,
That will not get over,
I burn it countless times,
But it won't turn to ashes.

Hopefully, will write more.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another blog

Please check out my new blog. Sikhhacks.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One of our own

What motivated me to write again on this blog was a recent experience of a my close friend. My friend is a bachelor, like I was and has been looking for a wife. Recently, he went to California to meet a girl, that his parents had found for him. The girl in question is a highly educated individual who recently migrated from India. My friend had been talking with this lass over the past few weeks in order to get to know her better.

Now comes the interesting parts. My friend recounted to me that invariably all their conversations ended up revolving around the issue of hair. The lady obviously cuts her hair and she wanted to make certain that her freedom to do so would never be curbed. All fine and dandy. Well, kind of. But no, she wanted more. She wanted her hubby to trim his beard and better still, cut his hair, if he could. "Tussi dekhoge, tussi change disso ge" (You will see, you will look better). My buddy humored and decided to play along just to see where this discussion would go. And sure enough, the gentle diva did not want her kids to have long hair either. My friend felt disgusted and I felt bile rising in my throat as well when I heard this. All of this was completely unprovoked. Her marriage was conditional on the above mentioned terms. My friend was obligated to visit her in California because of his parents commitment but of course, the short lasting affair ended with a curt No.

Another beautiful instance of the state of affairs in our society. I have friends hailing from many different cultures. Nowhere do I see that people are so willing to disown their own culture and religion. This makes me really insecure about the future of my religion. If you look at it carefully, this young lady was keen to not only influence her husband's choices but also her kids. The way I look at it, there is an internal genocide going right inside our own homes. I hate to be the alarmist but I see only red flags.

I have had bad experiences finding women who will appreciate me for who I am. Luckily, I was able to find women who did just that. C belonged to a different culture completely and yet she accepted me for who I am. It is another matter that we did not end up together but like I said, I would always be grateful for her to accept me for who I was. WTB (wife to be) is again very receptive of my viewpoints and sees me for who I am and not everybody else wants me to be. But I am afraid, that overall, the pressure building up will erode away the dam and then there will be a point of no return. For some time, I had put these issues to the back-burner but listening to my friend's experience has brought back all the memories and anguish that I have felt for these issues.

It hurts....hurts like a SOB.

"I believe I can fly"....... and I did

First of all, I must thank those of you who have expressed interest in my other blog "Arranged Marriage". While I thought that I will like to share my experiences of this ride, lately I have started to believe that I would like to keep it a little more private for now. Everybody in this world commits mistakes. Our mistakes remind us of our frail humanity. There are some mistakes that one can rectify while there are other instances when one cannot go back and fix things despite how much one wants to. I am no different. However, for now, I believe that for the sake of other people's well-being, my experiences are better restricted to a few I trust. However, I will try to write every now and then on this blog. I know I have been going back and forth between commiting this blog to the ashes and reviving it, but some recent events have rekindled my interest in the matter and here I am.

Last month, I had an opportunity to visit the great country of Kanaieda (Canada). For the ignorant, a few facts about this country. Canada is home to a large population of Sikhs. Some sources have stated that Canada hosts perhaps the greatest population of Sikhs as a percentage of its population than any other country including Bharat (India). So, naturally, I was all excited to check out the veracity of these facts.

I landed at Vancouver airport one sunny Saturday morning and lo and behold, I was greeted by welcome signs in Punjabi. A wave of excitement rushed through my veins and I felt proud. After usual formalities, I met up with my friend and off we went to his beautiful house. I have not travelled much in my life but I could easily appreciate the fact that Vancouver was one of the prettiest cities in North America. Beautiful meandering roads, snow covered mountains in the distance and beautiful people on the street. I took a deep breath and let out all the stale pollution laden air of Houston that had filled my lungs for so long.

Over the next two days, another of my friends joined us and we roamed about in Vancouver like wilder beasts in the Serengeti. For some reason, I decided to do something adventurous in life. So, we hiked up Grouse Moutain, the tallest peak in Vancouver. Once up there, we were lured by the sight of a paraglider in flight over the lush green vales. This was too much to miss. So, casting away all fears, I decided to take the plunge.

At a height of about 1100 feet, I stood at the edge of the precipice, waiting for my turn. The air was clear and there was a weird tranquility around me. My pilot asked me to take my turban off so that I could put the helmet on. I felt embarrased for a minute as there were other people around. But there was no escaping the rationale of the move and so I bit the bullet. "Don't worry, it will travel with us." said the Pilot, matter-of-factly, as he stuffed it in his backpack.

A few feet in front of me was a hollow ready to swallow me. My pilot stood behind me, waiting for the wind to pick up. A few months ago, I would have never imagined myself doing what I was about to do. Jumping off a cliff with a piece of cloth to save my life would have appeared insane. Yet, today, I knew no fear. As I was lost in my reverie, my pilot shouted from behind me, "Run". And without a second thought, exhorted by his shrill voice, my legs started wheeling. I ran and dragged the pilot and the chute behind me. Suddenly, I was not looking down below but I was just fixated at the azure horizon. It was as surreal as it could be. And the next instant, my legs were moving in mid-air. I looked below and saw the majestic pine trees waving hello. I greeted them with a silent smile. "You are flying", yelled the pilot as the howling wind tried to strip the skin off my face.

I guess I should have felt fear. But I did not. What I did in the aloofness of the stratosphere was ponder. Yea, I am messed up. Images from the past few months flashed before my eyes. My confused mind was struggling to clear away the cobwebs of convoluted thoughts. Higher up in the sky, I hoped that celestial wisdom would be more likely to descend upon me. But as I was lost in my thoughts while absorbing the sheer beauty around me, the pilot screamed," Do you like roller-costers?". As I began to wonder the sheer timing of his question, I reflexively said,"Yes". And suddenly, we were circling around in a steep spiral, descending eerily into the valley. I realized what he had meant and I shouted,"I was joking."Too late", he replied but then quickly arrested our descent. "Good man", I complimented him and thereafter, it was smooth sailing to the football filed below. Throughout the flight, the pilot had managed to take pictures which in retrospect revealed some facial expressions I never thought my facial muscles were capable of producing. To sum up, it was fun ride.

The symbolicsm of the whole situation, however, did not escape me. I am about to get married shortly. An arranged marriage, whereby I will be commiting to spend my life with someone I have not known long enough. Don't get me wrong. She is fabulous but still, it is a leap in blind faith. Kind of like, jumping off a mountain, hoping that a piece of synthetic cloth and a few thin strings will keep you afloat. But hey, it works. I did not die. On the contrary, I had a ride of a lifetime. May be that was the celestial wisdom that descended upon me.

I believed I could fly......and I did.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

From End to Beginning

This blog has come to its natural end. This blog was intended to describe my experiences as a turbaned guy trying to find a soul mate. Complex issues that spanned across the dogmas of male-female relationships, racist attitudes and our own sometimes irrational fears. At any rate, this blog later morphed into my personal ode to a woman I knew as C. The mystery of C.

With passage of time, people change and things change.The winds of time carve out different things out of people and things. What remains sometimes are some dregs of emotions. Something similar happened to me. With time, C and I drifted apart. To be honest. there was a lot of drama involved here that should beat any day spa on tv any time of the day but in the interest of time and dignity, suffice it to say that the severance was not a smooth process. There was blood, there was grime and finally the cord was cut.

To condense these events over time, C went on to find another man and is happily dating and enjoying the joys of life. On my side, well, I am not doing too bad either. I am finally engaged. You heard it right, Harry Singh finally laid down his arms and held his arms up in surrender, only to be touched by an angel, clad in white, with a smile that can send sunshine down the deepest crevices of netherlands (not mine,but in general). So, yeah, I am engaged and am going to marry her in the next few months.

As I lay the final stone on this blog, I am also laying the foundation of a new blog, " The Arranged Marriage". I will describe the experiences of a guy who was vehemently opposed to the idea of arranged marriage and now will learn the ways of the new world. So, those of you, who are interested, please stay tuned in.

One last word. This blog has C written all over it. It is sort of my Taj Mahal, where memories of the past are interred. The bricks of this edifice are glued together with my feelings and emotions. The echos of her laughter will bounce off the walls of this structure. It will be a monument dedicated to the year 2006 when two strangers met and had wierd but sometimes funny interactions. However, we must move on and old things must die so that new ones may live.

In the next few days, I will start my new blog with pictures of my self and fiancee and a brief description of the twist in the time-space-continuum that brought us together.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Stream of Time

July, 1745
Bhai Taru Singh who would rather have his scalp removed than cut his hair.

A barber proudly displays the kesh of a young Sikh boy in Punjab, who is trying to catch up with times.
From a recent story published in Outlook.
According to Outlook, about 80 per cent of the Sikh youth in rural Punjab have cut their hair and discarded their headgear.
Nothing more to say.

One Houston year later....

It's almost been a year since I started writing this blog. Almost. I think I have matured somewhat. I do not feel as lonely as I used to. These days, when I get off work, I don't say," WTF" because I will have to go home and stare at my walls and lose myself in a spiral of introspection leading into an abyss with no bottom. So, that is probably a good thing.

I have new insights into who I am and what I am expected to be. My sense of belonging to a community keeps taking a beating every now and then. But my resolve holds on. I still quite haven't changed my mind about Sikh women. The more I think about it, the more I find myself not wanting to marry one. The thought of finding out six months into my marriage that it was all under pressure just scares the daylight out of me. Somehow, I find myself getting distanced from who everybody wants me to be. Some people would think that is not a bad thing. My parents, I am sure, will differ. I feel myself, morphing into someone different. I don't know if that is just normal growth or if it is the effect of the stream of life flowing by me and carving out a newer different me.

For some weird reason, I sometimes still feel that something is missing. I can't quite put a finger on it. But there is this spooky abscence of something in my life. I haven't been able to meditate for some time now and thus not able to search for that elusive entity. But hopefully, I will be able to do that in the near future.

I am in a pensive mood today, thinking about life and stuff. Hopefully, I will write something a little more shinier next time. Here's a little something the Bard wrote that I haven't been able to shake off my mind for the last few days:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale'
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing...

Thursday, September 14, 2006


They say that every blogger gets a blogger's block at some time or the other. I haven't really written in a while. Part of the reason is that I have been immersed neck deep in professional commitments. The other part is that the blog was not doing much in terms of helping me purge out my emotions which was its initial objective in the first place.

Anyways, I am still single but I do have something going on. I have kind of become superstitious about these things lately and will hold off on writing about it for now. In the last few months, I have had a chance to meet with a few other Sikh guys who are in a similar age bracket and in kind of similar situation as I. Most of them do agree that the story about Sikh women and turbans is not an urban legend but a tangible reality and they have related to me real life incidents to prove the point. The good thing is these guys have had a better luck with non-Indian non-Sikh women who seem to be more understanding and more adapting. One of my new friends summed it well:" I am not going to waste my life trying to convince Sikh women to love me. I am going to find love wherever I can. And if I find a woman who loves me, I am not going to care who she is. And if Sikh women don't want me, too bad for them."

I mostly agree with his thoughts even though I think such a thought process does not do a didly squat about the real problem but I think there is only so much one can do.

Anyways, another anniversary of 9/11 sneaked past us. The day that changed the world and showed us all the grim realities of life. Five thousand innocent lives destroyed in a matter of hours. It was also the anniversary of the murder of Balbir Sodhi as part of a brutal hate crime. If nothing else, this day should serve as a reminder to all of us to work towards increasing awareness about Sikhs in the world. I know a few people are diligently working towards that goal but clearly a lot more grime and blood needs to be put in.

One thing that has been bugging me for the past few months has been the fact that turbaned Sikhs are not allowed to serve in the US Army. We, as Sikhs, strive to live upto the stature of Saint Soldiers. I am sure there are those among us, who would like to fight against the evil of terror by enlisting in the armed forces. Yet, it is unfortunate that such a thing is not possible. I think it is important for Sikh leaders to work towards the goal of a change in laws that would allow young turbaned Sikhs to join the US Armed forces. This would help to improve the visibility of Sikhs and exponentially increase awareness about Sikhs.

I know I broke away from the tradition of my blog and talked about something other than my search for a wife. But variety is the spice of life and my blog is no exception. Anyways, to revert to the hopeless romantic that I am, I will end this post with following words of Omar Khayyam:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

Suffice it to say, that my wilderness may not be too far from Paradise.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Beyond Enemy lines

To squeeze the last drops of juice out of the "war" metaphor, let me say that I am trapped deep in the enemy territory of singlehood, waiting for a rescue. I can't say for sure that singlehood is entirely a hostile thing but I think I am bored of it. Anyways. I am now into the next stage of training of the perpetual learning process that Medicine is. I am back to working 90-100 hrs a week and I am enjoying it a lot. I am finally focussing on what I wanted to do and that is indeed a gratifying feeling. When I am at work, I am so preoccupied with things that I hardly have time to feel anything. The real problem starts when I get back home. Wouldn't it be nice if I were to come home, tired and flagged and there were a sweet little angel welcoming me back home with a smile that could send sunshine in the depths of the underworld?. Wouldn't it be nice if she were to put her arms around me and tell me that she was proud of me? And of course, wouldn't it be nice if she had rajma-chawal or chicken tikka masala all ready on the dinning table for us to enjoy a romantic dinner? Fool's paradise, you might say. But that is what keeps me going.

I know that my story is kind of stale and boring now. Heck, I am tired of thinking about it myself. But the problem is that there is this vacuum around me that I am sick and tired of. At times, there is this incredble urge that rises up inside of me to hold somebody's hand or to hug somebody. Especially, at times when I think of not so old times when I could actually do that.
I am trying to put this emotional fortress around me so that things and thoughts like these don't bother me. I know I will suceed coz there is just no other way around it.

Anyways, the quest for a wife goes on. My friends and family keep sending me pictures but I am not sure if I can ever fall in love with a picture. Time, distance and parental regulations make it difficult for me to actually know a person before I can say "yes". I really don't know how its all going to work. But I have faith in God and hopefully He will send my rescure soon.