A few days ago, my Driving Instructor narrated a really profound incident, which has left an indelible impression on me. There was an elderly man clad in a really shabby torn attire (perhaps an understatement), at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. Seeing his pitiable state, a gentleman sitting alongside offered him a few thousand bucks to make his life a better one. But the old man politely refused the offer, and thanked the gentleman for his generous act. He said that he, in fact, owned a huge fleet of trucks; and that it was he who’d tear out a small piece of his cloth(es), every time he bought a new truck (and thus the numerous holes on his clothes signified an equal no. of trucks’ acquisitions) and come to the Golden Temple to pay respects. He said that he did so, in order to keep him grounded (he didn’t want to forget the humble beginnings from which he’d risen to where he stood today) & he wanted to remain close to his maker i.e. God. What a great man!
This is one of the many things I admire about the Sikh religion & its practitioners. One frequently comes across even the extremely well-to-do people doing ‘Guru Sewa’ (Service for the Prophet) in Gurudwaras (places of worship in Sikhism) – doing chores like making food in the community kitchen, serving food, washing dishes, sweeping floor etc. In a ‘Langar’ (free community lunch), there are people across castes, economic standards, etc., all sitting on the floor & relishing the same food. One hardly notices a Sikh beggar on the streets, since Sikhs typically are an extremely proud, self-respecting race of people, who’d never hesitate in even doing perceivably small jobs like that of a mechanic/driver etc., instead of begging for alms. Also, they are a real sport too, who take all the jokes & jibes made on them, sportingly with an ever-present smile.
Just for the record, the discussion had started when a beggar child/woman banged on my car windows at the red-light signal; and, I, like always, refused to budge since I detest such folks who have all their limbs intact but still aren’t ready to do a respectful job. Then I’d mentioned about a general observation of mine (as mentioned aforesaid) that I couldn’t recall seeing a Sikh beggar on the streets.
(PS: if I can be cheeky, one more appreciable thing about the Sikhs, or rather the ‘Punjabi’ community in general, are what I’d call the PPs i.e. Punjabi Patakhas – a vernacular slang for Punjabi girls whom I’d describe as Bombshells 🙂 – A testimony to this would be the fact that almost all of my crushes / infatuations, thus far, right from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, have been associated with PPs…Although, an unfortunate fact, to contend with, has been, that they were either married off really early than girls of other demographics, or they already had a serious relationship going on, by virtue of being so eye-catching & bestowed with great charismatic personalities, to say the least…)