Monthly Archives: April 2013

FIELD TRIP: GURDWARA!

This one’s going out to my “bring a friend to Gurdwara” buddy who has the best pixie cut in town 🙂

Hey there! Okay, so I was thinking, I never take you guys anywhere. That’s just not cool. Today we goin out. And it’s a Sunday, so what better place to go then Gurdwara??

Let’s do this.

PARKING

Alright, so we’re pulling up to Gurdwara. Cool. If it’s Vaisakhi or any Gurpurab, we’ll park anywhere from 2 to 57 blocks away. But it’s not, so we’re good! Alright, proceed inside the building. You’re doing great 🙂

Little did they know the worst was yet to come.

Voice of reason! Don’t be ridiculous. We’re going to have an awesome time, reader, don’t you worry 🙂

SHOES

Perfect! You already know the drill. That’s right, take off your shoes and put them– oh—no, you’re going to want to put them on a higher shelf. Higher. Higher. One more. Theeere ya go. Unless you want people wearing them to the bathroom, or small children trying them on, you’re going to want to place your juthia at an altitude only accessible by latter.

MATHA TAIKE

Alright, now we’re going to proceed to the area where kirtan is being done. You’re going to want to cover your head with something, there ya go. Most Gurdwaras provide headcovers. We’re now proceeding to the kirtan hall. This is wear the congregation is sitting and listening to the Gyani Ji sing prayers. What you’re going to do is you’re going to walk up to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and matha taike, or bow before it. Sounds simple enough, right?

Wrong.

Look. Your matha taike is where this could all go wrong. Firstly, there’s the chance that you’re going to step on your pants and fall down infront of everyone. Even if you make it to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, when you bow down, your pants might slide down and bare your booty to kind, Gurdwara going people. Keep it together. Have your wits about you. We’re going in.

Alright, doing good team. Walk, nice and slow, almost there–

*My lipgloss is poppin’*

WHAT? IS THAT YOUR PHONE?? TURN BACK. REEL IT IN, TEAM. ABORT. ABORT.

*Outside kirtan hall*

Come on, man, your phone? Rookie mistake! Do you think this is some kind of game?! What do I have to do to get you to understand…

Alright. I guess I’m going to tell you why this is such a big deal. Once…I was in the Kirtan Hall. Prayer was being done, the entire congregation was silent. When…all of a sudden…the phone of the dude in front of me starts blaring. Blaring. He jumps and runs out of the hall. And…it wasn’t just anyone…It was Gyani Ji’s son.

That’s a true story.

I’m going to need a moment. I-I’ll be okay.

Okay, I’m okay. Do you see now?? Do you see what’s at stake here? I can’t see that happen to another, you hear me? I’m not going to let it happen. Turn that thing on silent and let’s go back in there and do what we came here to do.

DURING SERVICE

Alright. Going good. No more mistakes since the Lil’ Kim incident. As you can see, the dudes are sitting on one side and the girls on the other. Basically, this is so that you can focus comfortably on the service. Since we’re all sitting on the ground, you don’t want to accidentally matha taike and, when standing back up, hit your head on someone’s butt and have that person be the opposite gender. I mean, it’s still awkward if they’re the same gender as you. But…okay I don’t really have a great explanation for the girl/guy sides thing. But I do know that I just kind of feel more comfortable with that set up, I think. But I’ve sat on the guy’s side before, it ain’t really a big deal.

Anyways, that’s our Gyani Ji up there doing kirtan, or prayer. If you look around, you’ll see some people are singing along. If you want to try to join in, go ahead. If you ever realize that you don’t know what line is coming next, simply say, “Wah…” and close your eyes like you need a spiritual moment to yourself. Nobody will suspect a thing.

Alright, so. We’ve been sitting here for awhile now. Gyani Ji is going to stop doing kirtan in a little while, and start doing paht. Basically, we’re all going to stand up, put our hands together like we were clapping and then froze, and matha taike when apropriate.

PRASHAD

Alright! You seemed to get through that well! Now we’re going to sit back down, and someone is going to pass out prashad, which is an edible substance consumed for religious purposes. Well, first, little kids are going to go around passing napkins. Here comes one now. Alright, we got our–oh, okay here comes another little kid. Quick take the napkin he’s offering you! No! No, don’t tell him you already have a napkin! He’s going to–

Oh, okay. Well, there it is. He’s going to continue staring at us with sad, rejected eyes anywhere from 5-7 seconds. Now, we wait.

….

Okay. That was intense. It’s okay. Some kids are going to get there napkins rejected sometimes, you know? I guess they might as well learn now.

Alright, go ahead and eat your prashad. Good, huh? Just don’t touch your clothes afterward. Or your face. No, I don’t care if you have a napkin. The napkin is just for show. You’re going to need a bucket of water and a steel wool to get all the oil off of your hands.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Alright, now uncles are going to stand up and make announcements and stuff. Look’s like Mr. Atwal’s up first.

“Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh. Aj, meh kanne ke sare jawania ethei….”

Okay, you’re good to tune out now. He’s just going to talk about how Sikh kids in this area are the supreme children of the universe. Or he’s going to say that we don’t know enough Punjabi. One of the two.

*A few uncles later*

LANGAR

Okay, it’s now time to leave the kirtan hall to go to the langar hall, where we eat. A lot of Gurdwaras just have the langar hall right outside the kirtan hall. But you, my friend, are not that fortunate. We’re going down some stairs. And not just with anyone, oh no. We’re going to go down stairs with brown people. I will tell you now that you have never been in more danger in your life. The key is to walk behind an elderly person who walks slowly, because then everyone will keep a distance from you. Oh, there’s a sweet looking old lady. Let’s go stand behind her.

Alright, doing good team. Just keep walking, nice and slow. Hand on the rail, there we go. Oh. Okay, elderly auntie in front of us is now turning around…She’s made eye contact…oh God…red alert. I should have prepared you for this. We’re being thrusted into…

A CONVERSATION IN PUNJABI

Oh God. Okay. Leave it to me. We might just make it out of this.

14 15 16 17 18 19

RUN!

LANGAR HALL.

That was…that was…I need to learn Punjabi, okay?

…Um…hmm…okay this is awkward…so my computer stopped working. I’m now writing this from my ma’s phone. So you know what that means….

Part two of our Gurdwara field trip coming soon!

It also means that there are probably a lot of grammar n spelling mistakes in this post since I can’t really edit effectively……… 😀

See ya next week!

-M

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Bollywood, Bindis, and the Boston Bombings

I know it’s a Wednesday.

I know I bailed on you guys this week.

And the week before.

I didn’t even say sorry.

Aaaaand it was Vaisakhi.

Cool.

D:

At least I have a good excuse though. I legit had pneumonia. Pneu. Freaking. Monia. We thought it was a virus BUT NO. No. I feel like poo for not being here, for real :/ I’m really sorry. But okay. This post. This post has gone in many directions. I filmed a video at one point. I don’t even know. But why don’t we just take this post and talk about stuff? A lot’s been going down lately, so let’s just talk. Good? Cool. 🙂

So one thing– Bollywood movies. Once upon a time, Bollywood movies made me laugh so hard. My brother and I would have to watch them with the subtitles, which were often translated…interestingly. That’s part of what made them so ridiculous to us, but it was also just the way they were, you know? The…

bollywood1

And the…
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Not to mention the…

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And they were just funny to us, okay? But my brother’s been away at college for a while now and…something’s happened. I’ve been watching Bollywood movies without the company of my bro, and suddenly in my mind they’ve gone from this…

bollywood1

To this


bollywood7

And this…

bollywood4

To this…

bollywood8

And…this…


bollywood3

To freaking this…bollywood5*Sigh*

Basically, without my Bollywood movie buddy here with me to watch them with, Bollywood movies have taken over my life more or less. I don’t even know, okay? They’re not ridiculous to me anymore, rather I want them to be my life. The songs are like the most beautiful, poetic songs, the dances are so well synchronized, the clothes, the India, the love, the families, UGH. UGH OMG. So this is my theory. I think the fact that I’m a brown girl is responsible for this. All the time, brown girls I’ve known have been obsessed with Bollywood movies and I’m just like HA. But now, it’s like some brown girl gene has turned on inside of me, and I too have become obsessed. Beware the Brown Girl Gene.

photobomb

Lol M, you have so many issues.

Former photo bomb girl?! What the heck?? Where have you been? You haven’t been doing…that thing you used to do…have you??

photobomb

Nah man, those days are over. I’m a new woman. 

Awesome! So what have you been up too?

photobomb

Nothing much, you know…waiting for you to post for like 3 weeks.

Okay.

photobomb

What?? 

You show up after how many months just to tell me that I haven’t been posting and that I’m terrible??

photobomb

I never said you were terrible!

That’s true– maybe I’m just exaggera–

photobomb

But I was thinking it.

…Leave. Give photo bomb stingray my love tho.

photobomb

Okay!

Sorry about that guys. This chick man. She needs to get a job. But anyways! Another thing that happened recently was that Selena Gomez performed at the MTV Movie Awards. The performance was Indian themed, from her costume to some of the dance moves. One thing that got some people fired up was the fact that she wore a bindi:

The main group that’s raising issues with this is the Universal Society of Hinduism. Basically, they’re saying the the bindi has religious significance in Hinduism, and that they should not be worn as fashion statements. I was talking to a fantastic friend of mine who’s Hindu, and she brought up a good point about this: she said that Bollywood stars wear bindis as fashion statements all the time, which is very true:

Is it different because these women are actually Hindu? This might be how the Universal Society of Hinduism sees it.  But my friend also said that the type of bindi Gomez wore is actually totally different from what is considered religious for Hindus. Religiously, a red powder is applied to the forehead, not the crystal kind that is pictured in the pictures above. My family and I wear the crystal bindis as fashion statements all the time, and as a Sikh, I’ve never known them to be a religious symbol.I don’t know. I mean, obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if something offends you, you should speak up. But as an Indian myself, although it’s true I’m not a Hindu, I appreciate it when people of other races show appreciation for my culture. Like, if you’re not calling me a terrorist, I’m good. But if you actually integrate some of my culture into your life? Heck yes! I know a lot of you guys might feel differently about this. Don’t hurt me plz.

Oh, and another thing to keep in mind here is that it certainly isn’t all or even most Hindus who are offended. I don’t even know how prominent the Universal Society of Hinduism is in the Hindu community. But I do know that I have Indian friends who are huge Selena Gomez fans, and who don’t have a problem with her wearing a bindi in the slightest. So please, don’t think it’s all Hindus or all Indians who are offended.

Alright, so since we’re talking about stuff that’s been happening lately, I can’t really ignore the heavy stuff. The Boston bombing has been crazy. I’m sure you all know the situation– two bombs went off, 3 died, over 100 injured. Two brothers are suspected, one of them was killed in a standoff with the police, and the younger one was recently caught and is in the hospital. (I’m writing this on Wednesday the 24th, so I don’t know what will have changed by the time you read this. Woah. It’s like time travel. But…not. Not at all. Okay.) Anyways, it’s really heavy stuff. So sad all around. Obviously the victims of the attack–that part is tough to think about. The dead, and the 13 that have had to have amputations, and all of the rest. I pray for them every night, along with people in similar situations all around the world. But for me, it’s kind of getting sad to think about the living suspect as well. I don’t know if it’s taboo to say that, considering he helped kill people. Don’t get me wrong– it’s the victims who stay in my prayers. But I first started feeling bad for the suspect while he was still on the run. I don’t know if I should have done this or not, but I went on his twitter account. I don’t know what I thought I’d find there, but it turned out to be painfully familiar. It just seemed like the twitter account of one of the guys at my school or something. Some of his tweets were actually kind of funny. He tweeted friends, wished them happy birthday, that kind of thing. It makes me wonder why he did what he did. Did his older brother manipulate him? Did he even want to do it? Or maybe he’s a sociopath, and he was able to come across as a stable dude, when other things were going on underneath.  Who knows.

Oh snap okay. One other thing. So when the bombing first happened, a few news networks were quick to call it a terrorist attack. Whenever this happens, it makes me feel something, but I don’t know what. I knew it probably had something to do with the fact that I’ve been labeled as a terrorist before. But why should I feel defensive if the media calls this a terrorist attack, you know? The way I saw it, if we say “No you don’t know if it’s a terrorist attack yet! Don’t jump to that conclusion!” then it kind of sounds like we’re grouping ourselves in with terrorists. I thought, why should I feel offended if they blame it on terrorists? I’m not a terrorist, so why should it matter to me?

But then. Guys.

I watched Fouseytube’s latest vid yesterday, and it kind of cleared my mixed emotions up for me. You can check it out here (or if you don’t feel like it, you can keep reading):

Basically, Yousef has an argument with a guy who says “I hope it wasn’t the terrorists.” This guy is basically saying what I was saying– why should I care if they call it a terrorist attack? But then Yousef is all like, we all know what you think when you think “terrorist.” Inside, I can’t help but feel a bit defensive when things are labeled as terrorist attacks, because I know that when people think terrorists, they think of me and my family, when it’s not us who are the terrorists. That’s why I had that internal struggle where I felt defensive when the attack was called a terrorist attack, and yet I was telling myself that I shouldn’t feel that way. Then, to top off this awesome video, at the end, it turns out (SPOILER ALERT) Yousef was imagining the guy who was arguing with him. GUYS. WHAT?? IT WAS GOING ON. IN HIS HEAD. LIKE IT WAS GOING ON IN MY HEAD. WHAT??

Alright, Imma peace out. Again, I’m really, really sorry for bailing the past couple of weeks. It was not a reflection of my true feelings for you.

Hope you  have a FANTASTIC week! See you Sunday 🙂

-M

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Sorry :(

Hi guys! I’m going to just say it– I don’t have a post this week đŸ˜„

Let me give you my sob story tho. I’ve had a virus since Tuesday, I’ve been going to the doctor, and it’s just nasty. I had a post already written that I thought about posting, but I’m looking at it again and it’s still kind of in rough draft phrase, and I don’t think it’s worth your time yet.

I should be back next week with a nice long post. I already know what it’s going to be about! “A Week With a Virus: a Tale of Tears and Triumph.”

jk 🙂

No, but until then, please enjoy Ellen Degeneres’ collection of bad paid-for photos: http://www.ellentv.com/categories/bad-paid-for-photos/

See you next week,

M 🙂

I Be On My (Punjabi) Suit

There comes a time when one must turn off Kourtney and Kim take New York in order to write their blog post. This is that time for me.

Before we proceed, please click “play” to set the mood and enhance the following reading experience. I  promise it’s somewhat relevant to this post :

Thank you.

AIGHT. So Spring’s coming up. Actually it’s here.Bag up the sweatpants, make a quilt out of your cardigans, and bring out that pastel colored ish. From what I learned form Michelle Phan, Spring is a big fashion season or something. So what better a time than now to rap wit chu guys about desi fashion, AM I RIGHT?? 

No? Okay…well the whole Spring thing was just a pathetic excuse for me to talk about desi clothes because I’ve been wanting to do that lately. So Imma do it anyways 🙂

Desi countries are very diverse, including in their clothing. Many people know about sarees, but there are also lehengas, salwar kameezes, , and a bunch more. SO LET’S GET STARTED, HUH? First up, we got the saree.

The saree dates back to the time of Indus Valley Civilization, which was around 2800-1800 B.C. To wear a saree, you basically have to be wearing a shirt underneath, which is more visible in this picture of Aishwarya Rai: There’s also a skirt at the bottom. Basically, the 6 or so yards of cloth, which is the saree, is draped over the shirt and the skirt in various ways. There are TONS of ways to drape the saree. Like tons. Idk how to express that further. In my teenage mind, “tons” is the most accurate description of a large amount. So tons.

I’ve never actually worn a saree, but here’s a  short memoir of wearing a saree by my sensational Telugu friend who wore one last night:

It made feel pretty I guess
It’s a little tight around my waist
so I couldn’t wait to get it off
 but many indian woman wear them on a regular basis so they must be comfortable
of course those daily sarees aren’t as gorgeous as the special event ones but

Thank you for those words.

So yeah! Sarees are worn in many places in India, but not all. For example, I’ve never actually worn a saree. I don’t think they’re too common for people from the state of Punjab. But in many other places in India, as well as parts of other South Asian countries, such as Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, sarees are worn.

ON TO….

SALWAR KAMEEZES!!

Look how sassy this woman is tho.

Anyways, salwar kameez.

BRUUUUAAAAAAH!!

Sorry.

So the salwar kameez is worn in India, especially in the north, and also in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and various areas in central Asia. These are very common in the Punjab region of both India and Pakistan and are often referred to as “Punjab suits.” As a Punjabi myself, salwar kameezes are the norm for my family, and omg. They are so gosh darn comfortable. Like do you see those pants? They’re unbelievably baggy and wonderful 🙂 So the “salwar” is the pant part, and the “kameez” is the long, tunic-like shirt. According to Wikipedia, “kameez” comes from the Arabic word “qamis,” which is possibly derived form the Latin word “camisa,” meaning “shirt.” It’s also possible that it comes from the Hellenistic Greek word “kamision.”

Yay for linguistic connections!

Anyways, there are different types of salwars, like the Patiala salwar, which is super baggy and has a ton of pleats:

There’s also the pajama (prounounced pahj-um-ah), which is a tight sort of pant that you wear with the kameez:

Notice the piece of cloth around the sassy purple woman’s neck. This is called a “chunni,” or “dupatta.” Most of the time, these just serve as matching scarves that can be worn different ways with the salwar kameez. For Sikh women, though, the chunni serves as a head covering.

Many Sikh women wear a turban. There are more Sikh men who do so–somehow that’s how it’s developed culturally. But it’s not because it was thought that men were more deserving of turbans than women. The Gurus were pretty clear on that. But often, Sikh women wore the chunni over their heads. Some Sikh women still wear a chunni on a day to day basis, and all Sikh women cover their heads when in a gurdwara or in front of the Sikh holy book, either with a chunni, a turban, or both, like this-

Men are required to cover their heads in the same circumstances as well.

And taking us home is…

The Lehenga Choli!

The lehenga is a long skirt that goes to the feet, and the choli is the shirt worn with it. (Not to be confused with chollai, which are chickpeas lol). So to me, it seems like the lehenga choli is kind of like what’s worn underneath a saree (which, remember, is the name for the 6 yard piece of cloth which is draped over the shirt and skirt). Right? Cause like, the saree is a shirt, a skirt, and a piece of cloth, and the lehenga is just a shirt and skirt. Okay wait, this just in, from my mom: the lehenga skirt is more elaborate than the skirt worn with a saree. Okay. Well there goes my theory. Growing up, I’d usually wear salwar kameezes to gurdwara and other desi functions, but every now and then I’d wear a lehenga. Since I was used to the whole pants and shirt deal, lehengas always seemed more girly and dress-like to me. They’re definitely more dress-like, because there are no pants underneath the skirt.

Well, that’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed this journey into the land of desi clothing. Do you guys have any cultural clothing, desi or not? Yes, that was my attempt to get you people to comment. Seriously though, feel free to comment 🙂 I’d love to hear what you have to say! And I guess now would be a good time to do this:

I’ve been wanting to say thanks to everyone who’s been commenting or reblogging or liking or following. I’m just a random brown teenager with a somewhat dysfunctional life. In tenth grade I had to start a blog for school, and called it ShadesofBrwn. After the class ended, I started the weekly post thing, and I’ve really enjoyed rambling endlessly writing about my heritage and stuff and learning LOADS along the way. And if you’ve commented or reblogged or even just read any of my stuff, that really, sincerely, means a lot to me 🙂 ❀

Sorry for being awkward.

See you next week!

-M 🙂

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