Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pillow fights, sākhīs and preparation for the Guru's crown!

I'm back from a hectic 3 weeks in Canada/USA. All my belongings are now officially moved back from Toronto to Boston (actually Chelmsford, MA). After almost exactly 3 years and 9 months I am going to head back to jajji ghar of sorts (ancestral village home...actually Kobe, Japan is my hometown originally, but Chelmsford, MA is the place where I bought my first home in the States..I came to the US in 1987 to Massachusetts, never really left).

Anyway, 1 week in TO to pack up and pretend to work as well. 1 week at Camp Chardi Kala in the Catskills, NY. 3 days in Boston/Chelmsford cleaning up for my move, 4 days in TO pretending to work, 3 days in Chelmsford receiving my goods from across the border. Throw in a couple of business dinners and early morning conference calls while I was pretending to work. It was a hectic 3 weeks

The stuff I will write about in the next couple of days is primarily Camp Chardi Kala. didn't think I would bore you with the exciting new stuff happening at work eh?

First this was the 30 year anniversary of Camp Chardi Kala. I have been volunteering there since approx. 1997 and had a few years hiatus due to personal reasons. This year we had 180 kids, I had a cabin full of about ten 8 and 9 year olds (boys)! That was quite an experience - I can now wash their hair, turn on and off the showers for them, of course tie their patkas, remind them to go take a pee before they go to bed, tell them sākhīs at night, allow them to do pillow fights even against the other cabins and say "We won" even though we got clobbered, play the panjabi game with them, listen to their jokes, not understand anything about the tv shows they watch (I just learnt about sponge bob!!), and soothe them when they felt homesick ("You are the son of Guru Gobind Singh aren't you!? Then why are you crying!?"). But for the life of me, I could not tie a tight jūrā on their heads which one day will don the crown of the Tenth Master. I know how uncomfortable I feel when my jūrā is not tight and I just could not let them be with untidy and loose jūrās, so I had to use rubber-bands. I don't get it! When my mom did my jūrā as a little kid she didn't have to use rubber bands to secure it...why can't I do it. After I comb their kes then I would have to hand them over to an auntyji or bhainji. I can do a gut (braid), but somehow the jura is never tight. Anyway, cabin duty for the young ones was a good (frustrating at times) introspective learning experience. Thanks Sandeep and Livleen Singh!! Anything but the 18 year olds!!

Here are some pics
Cabin #1 rocks! This is the table where my little guys sat for meals. The shatān one has to jump up last second and destroy the pic!

Click on pic for larger view. One on left is one of my kids. His jūrā is huge! I combed his kes, but could not do a proper jūrā for the life of me. Oh yeah, the one on the right, that's A Kaur's son..."umm....Yo A!...he's having a bad patkā day....AGAIN!
"Guys..where's M Singh!"..."I saw him playing foosball!!" This little one's sister was homesick so the parents came and took her home. He said he's gonna stay....he liked camp so much!
Kīrtan, Gurū Rāmdās lulaby and Sohilā. It ran late so a couple of my kids fell asleep...woke them up for milk and cookies then it was..."Uncle, can we have a pillow fight tonight!!??"


  1. WOW! Sounds like fun, its been a while since I have attended any camp. Some how not being a good role model keeps me away from enrolling myself as a counselor...who wants a counselor that is gooffier than the kids! LOL

    Anyways, which friend of mine you met at this camp, I know there were couple that went there!

  2. Very nice pictures!
    Reminded me of the days I did Jura for my younger brother, its really tough if they have heavy kesh, I had to make it into a plait and then tie the jura otherwise the process of doing it again and again made him miss his school bus. Once he started doing it on his own normal jura was ok

  3. Harkiran Kaur - goofiness is an excellent trait of a good me. You're talking to the badshah of goofiness when in front of the kids! I do have a serious side too you know... :-)

    Well - ask both your friends which one of them braided their dārī!! He knows what I'm talking about. I have a pic to prove it!!

  4. Latest from India... Vande Mataram not to be sung by Sikhs...

    After the objections raised by a section of the Muslim community, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has asked Sikhs not to sing the national song Vande Mataram on its centenary on Thursday.

    Click here to read the complete news....

    Click here to read related news....

  5. Dear Sifar Singh - I approved your comment post. But...
    1. What does this have to do with my post on Camp?
    2. you are a little late...SGPC has officially stated that its not a problem to sing Vande Mataram...please check out:

    Don't really understand why this Vande Mataram stuff is such a big deal. I remember singing something like this when I was a little kid in boarding school - "vande matarm, gandhi besharam, piyo chai garam...lalalala..." :-)

  6. hehe.."vande matarm, gandhi besharam, piyo chai garam...lalalala..." :-)...

    well..back to camp chardi kala..

    its total fun to be with such kids but u really gotta watch for them cause they have their eyes on you all the time and the moment u slip up the notice and the entire camp will know..

    its fun to be goofy with them..m sure veerji you were the general commanding yr kidos during the pilow fights..heheheh..

    jooras..oh my i cud never do comb their hair have the aunitya do the jooras and then tie their dastars and turbans for them..

    keep in touch