Being Part Of A Community!

When we came to Tasmania, one of the things that struck me right away, was how empty it seemed..I often used to call up my Amma and tell her, that there was no one on the road at our street, even at 9 in the morning, when I would walk back after dropping R to school…

We realised that there was no temple in Tasmania. Both RD and I are not really very religious..though I must admit that RD is more religious than I am…He does go to the Sabarimalai once or even twice an year, has been a part of the Temple group in Bombay and has gone to Vaishnav Devi and Golden Temple multiple times…He would drive down to Shridi just like that, without any qualms…Just because he felt like..

I am, on the other hand, a very different person..I do believe in God, but I am not ritualistic…I believe in going to the nearby small temple where I can see God without any queues or where I don’t have to peer in darkness to see if there is a deity at all..I light a lamp every day, and say a small prayer when I feel like..but I am not ritualistic at all..I believe belief in God is a very personal thing and should never be imposed on anyone by anyone…If you believe and follow, super! But please don’t force rituals on me… If you don’t believe..don’t make funย …

After coming to Tasmania, we realised that there was a small Sikh Gurudwara…It is actually someone’s house which has been converted into a Gurudwara..there is the Guru Granth Sahib there and there is a Sikh Priest who conducts prayers everyday…There is Langar every Sunday and anyone can join in..

RD and I felt this need for an anchor in our initial days here..a place for some peace, quiet and some thing to make us feel spiritual..when we came to know about this Gurudwara, RD and I decided to go there…the day we went for the first time, we reach a bit early..there were a lot of Sikhs in the house (Gurudwara) and loads outside in the shed..we could smell the cooking of some rich dal..drawing us in towards the place…RD and I covered our hair and R’s hair (R2 was bald then!) and we went inside…

As we entered the place, there was a sense of calm that descended on both of us..I went to the shed and saw these ladies making rotis…It was like a machine in progress..two of them were making golas from the dough, three of them were making rotis with the belan….one lady was picking up the rotis and put it on the tawa..one lady was turning the rotis on the tawa which held like 10 rotis at a time..one lady was picking up the semi cooked rotis and heating them on the direct fire..while one was applying butter to the rotis and packing them in a foil…

I, hesitantly, looked at them, smiled gingerly and asked if I could help…Yes, of course, they went, and gave me a belan and some dough and there I was a part of that community, not understanding too much of Punjabi, but answering their queries on who we were and what we did..etc etc..

The prayers ended with the priest giving us Kada Prasad and then we had Langar in the shed…It was perhaps the first time we had eaten a full Indian meal in Tasmania..it was pretty simple..Dal, Roti, Rice, One subji and salad..followed by kheer…but it was divine..With RD’s experience in the Golden Temple he had told R and me, not to take too much food…since seconds were always given…

Now, its been 10 months since we shifted to Tasmania..and we go there almost every Sunday…Though we don’t speak a word of Punjabi..we are accepted with open arms by the community members there…RD helps serve food while we both help clean up after the Langar is over…We are treated as a part of the community and the sense of satisfaction of doing work for the community gives us immense happiness…We don’t know the prayers, but we feel a sense of calm when we hear the others sing wonderful songs in Punjabi..

R and R2 enjoy either playing there or just sit with me inside the Gurudwara, listening to the prayers….R knows some of the words of the prayers by heart now..She does not know everything, but she attempts the portions she likes and hears regularly..R2 often shakes her head to the rhythm of the tabla…The music makes all of us feel wonderful..

And then of course, the sense of satisfaction of serving others..Whether it is making rotis, or cleaning up the utensils or just wiping them and putting them on the shelf, we do it all…R helps clean the spoons when she is in a good mood, or she is the designated R2 carer while RD and I help…R2 is the little imp who goes around making puppy faces and often is given two rounds of sweets because she just eats everything in sight..

The wonderful people that Sikhs are, they have never questioned what our religion is..they have never asked us whether we believe in God or whether we are Hindus…they just welcomed us with open arms and made us a part of their community…

Sometimes, I think, God has a wonderful way of teaching us what being human is all about!

PS – I was inspired to writeย about this after reading Sudhagee’s post.

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About R's Mom

Not-so-new-mom
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14 Responses to Being Part Of A Community!

  1. Shailaja V says:

    Comfortable, warm, fulfilling piece much like the food served by the Sikhs. Love does make the world go round doesn’t it? This made for a wonderful afternoon read.

  2. UmaS says:

    Big hugs !
    Truly agree on that last line…

  3. shalzmojo says:

    I could empathise with your post 100% for I too feel god cannot be forced upon someone; its a matter of faith and one’s own belief. I am a Hindu as per my birth certificate ๐Ÿ˜‰ but I feel an amazing peace in the gurudwaras where there is no muck or noise – just peace and a whole lot of community love.

  4. Places of worship always exude a sense of calm, I’ve experienced. I’m an agnostic but I’m always drawn to temples/churches for the peace of mind they seem to bestow upon me. Lovely to hear that the kids are a learning to be part of a culture bigger than what we deem “our own”
    xo

  5. Going to a Gurudwara or a Sikh temple is one of the most comforting feeling a human beig can have..

  6. I came over from Maya’s blog and it is definitely worth it. To be embraced with open arms is a beautiful thing and to embrace other cultures and indulge in the activity with love and kindness is beautiful and divine.

  7. Love love love this post

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