Baljinder Singh woke to his alarm clattering at 4am, he ran to turn off it’s irritating buzzing. Now he faced the daily dilemma, Do I crawl back under that lovely thick rajaiee (duvet)? Or do the right thing and walk to the bathroom and have a shower ready for meditation? On this occasion Baljinder’s virtues won the battle and he made his way to the bathroom.
After bathing he sat down to do his daily recital of Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Swaye, Choupai & Anand Sahib, he thought to himself, ‘I’ve taken Amrit and the Panj Pyare (initiating 5 Sikhs/Five Beloved Ones) had said that if I recite these prayers with true devotion I will be able to taste the Amrit on a daily basis.’ He thought to himself I’m going to concentrate really hard to try achieving this aim, of tasting Amrit, once again. He started his prayers, but his mind wandered and he thought of his game of football last night. So instead of continuing, he started his prayers from the start again, and after doing this a few times his mind was at peace and by the end of Japji Sahib he started tasting the Amrit in his mouth. By the end of his prayers he was high, he could taste the Amrit and the taste was that strong that he could even smell the Amrit that was resonating from his tongue – the Amrit that is contained in Gurbani had transformed from spirit, into his physical being.
After his prayers Baljinder got ready to go to Park Avenue Gurdwara in Southall, his local. He wanted to get there and enjoy the tranquillity of the prayers & kirtan before the wedding party arrived. He drove past Glassy Junction and reminisced of how in days gone by, he’d visit the pub instead of the Gurdwara. He parked up and walked up to the Gurdwara entrance and to his surprise the grooms side for the wedding had already arrived, on approach to the doors he saw a group of guys looking at him. He quickly counted the heads and there were five of them, a habit he had developed in the past, of counting heads, just in case there was a kick off, as he had been a bit of a fighter in the day. Anyway, one of the guys shouted “Billa” and Baljinder looked up and he recognised the voice, much to his surprise he had been called Billa after many years.
Baljinder approached the guy calling him Billa and as he got nearer he recognised him, it was Dally his old friend from uni. They shook hands and embraced each other, Dally picked Billa up as they embraced.
Billa laughlingly said, “The Milnee hasn’t even started yet and you’re already manhandling me.”
Dally quipped, “So waa gwan bruv, where’s your legendary bandana gone, first time I seen you in a turban and you’ve kept your beard, what happened to your nice trimmy.”
Billa: I learnt that tying my hair in a joora at the back of my head is wrong, we as Sikhs are spiritualists and we have 9 gateways to the body and the 10th which is opened after deep meditation and efforts is at the crown of the head and the hair should be tied there, over this 10 th gateway. I stopped trimming as I learnt that the hair (Kes) are a god given gift and that the Kes and turban teach us to be humble, in that we submit to God, I only used to wear the bandana and trim my beard to be fashionable.
Dally: Bruv, something is seriously wrong here, I used to be the one who used to teach you to mend your ways but now you’re educating me. Anyways, so what are these 9 doorways?
Billa: 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, mouth, genitals and backside.
Dally grabs Billa’s right arm and pushes his sleeve up, he feels Billa’s Kara.
Dally: Now you’re freaking me out! What happened to the romper stomper Kara,you know the one with the grooves, the one you used to love cracking skulls with. The one you’re wearing now aint even a weapon, blad.
Billa: Those days are gone brother, I learnt that the kara represents the eternity of God and it isn’t a weapon. I try controlling my temper nowadays and my Kirpan helps me do this ...
As Billa puts his hand on his kirpan to show it, as it was hidden by his top, Dally says
Dally: That’s more like the Billa I know, so you got a blade, ya can juck up some mans wid dat, sick ones. Ye man, you still a warrior.
Billa: Ye I’m a warrior, but Guru Jee teaches us to be saints first, the Kirpan is only used as a last resort when all peaceful means have been exhausted. See the little latch on the Gatra, (Billa goes to draw his Kirpan and the latch stops the kirpan coming out) ye, well that teaches me to control me anger, so I have to think twice before drawing it. The Kirpan is a sword of mercy.
Dally: Okay (Dally still not realising that Billa is now Amritdhari and trying to change the subject), so what happened to your gyal, did you two’s get married?
Billa: Nah bruv, things didn’t quite work out. I became more religious and she wanted other things in life, after taking Amrit she wouldn’t change (Dally is now in a state of shock at learning his old friend has gone the whole hog and taken Amrit, & momentarily stops breathing, but Billa just continues without realising). It was hard for me but when I comb my hair twice a day with my Kangha (wooden comb), I think of the worldly attachments that I have and imagine that I am combing these out.
Dally: How the world changes, man you took Amrit! And you comb your hair twice a day, boy I rememba at uni, man you’d never comb your hair, there were that many twists in your hair that your hair was nearly turning into dreads. Man I need a drink after all this, lets go over to the pub and talk properly.
Billa: Sorry man no can do, I don’t want to bring back memories of drinking so I’d rather stay away from the pub.
Dally: Okay that’s cool, but I gotta ask you something, on a level as brothers. Isn’t it hard not getting any action? Ya kno what I mean,
Billa: That’s why I wear a kashera it reminds me of my moral obligations and it is of the appropriate length and isn’t easily taken off. So I fight on, it isn’t easy but the Kashera is a constant reminder of the ideals I should live up to. Anyway nuff about me, how about you, I didn’t even recognise you bruv, what happened to your turban and beard?
Dally: You went religious and I became more worldly. After leaving uni I thought I need to be more like you, carefree and a party animal. And to tell you the truth, meeting you today has really shaken me & I’m now thinking, maybe I should become more like what you’re like now. I’ve tried pleasing the world and I aint getting no peace of mind. Maybe I should please myself?
Dally & Billa go their separate ways after meeting up. To be continued...