Monthly Archives: May 2013

You know how my posts are crappy right now because school has been ADJFKL;AWEIRFJVMNA?

I have this irrational fear that Jusreign is going to come to my blog and read one of my crappy posts and, because it’s crappy, he’ll never come back again.

LISTEN, JUS.

I’M NOT USUALLY LIKE THIS.

That’s all.

-M

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How do you deal with racism?

Because I’m starting to realize I haven’t got a freakin clue.

I don’t get it either, man! I’m a Punjabi Sikh living in the Bible Belt and I hear racism ALL THE TIME. Literally on a daily basis. You’d think I’d have my retaliation routine down-pat by now, right? But I’m realizing that I don’t. I mean, if someone’s racist to me, I would love to write them a nice solid paragraph in reply addressing the faults of what they said, like Balpreet Kaur with the whole Reddit situation, but what are you supposed to do when someone just makes a a quick racist comment to you in person? That’s what I’m going to try and figure out. Luckily, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to try different strategies ūüôā So anyways, what I’m going to start doing is, every (insert unit of time here), I’m going to post about my most recent experiences of people being racist towards/bullying me or others, and I’m going to like, analyze how I handled the situation lol. Okay, this sounds weirder and more complicated than it actually is, so I’m just going to start now, and you’ll see ūüôā

SCENARIO 1:

So there I was walking from my school building to my bus after school let out one day a couple of weeks ago. There are some 2,500 kids in my school, so when I felt something tug on my backpack, I figured it was just an accident or something. But I think deep down I knew it was a white guy entertaining his friends by pulling on the small Indian girl’s backpack. My suspicion was confirmed when I turned around and there was white guy. We made eye contact, and in that moment, I was frantic in my mind. Not because I was like omg what just happened what what omg. No, because I, once again, didn’t know how to respond. Did I laugh with the guy and his friends? I’m ashamed to admit that that’s what I usually do when this kind of thing happens. But for some reason, the last thing I felt like doing this time was laughing at my own expense, yet again. So I settled for just facing forward and continuing to walk to my bus, as he and his friend laughed and walked to their cars. Okay. I was just annoyed about it afterward, not because I had been picked on, but because I wished I’d handled it better. I reacted the way they assumed the Indian girl would, by not defending myself. But I don’t wish that I had reacted in a way that would surprise them, so much as I wished I’d acted in a way that would have satisfied me. I mean, if I end up reacting totally tough-like, that would surely change their opinions about Indian kids, which would be great, but more than that, I should have another goal, which is to make sure I am okay. If I totally schooled them, that would be great, but that’s not my job. My job is to look out for me. And if keeping my mouth shut and walking away made me happier than schooling them, than that’s what I should have done. Unfortunatley, at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy with how I responded, and I think saying something, even so much as a, “Don’t touch my stuff,” would have made me feel better, and hopefully is what I will do next time.

At least I didn’t laugh though. I think I’d give my reaction a C.

SCENARIO 2:

Alright, so this. There are a good number of black kids in my 4th period, and one day I heard them jokingly asking my teaching if she was afraid of black people. She said no. And so one of the kids was like, “So if you were sitting in your car in (insert name of high-crime city here), and a bunch of black people started approching you, you wouldn’t be scared?” I wasn’t really listening to the conversation, but that’s when a girl who I’m pretty friendly with, let’s call her….idk what’s an uncommon name…Ariel, Ariel as in the Disney princess, yes….comes up to me, smiling, and says, “I mean, honestly….” ¬†She meant that, “honestly,” she would be afraid if black people walked up to her car.

Oh boy.

This is what I like to call the cute racist. The cute racist often portrays his or herself as the victim of all the other races they encounter, and usually throws around remarks that coincide with this mindset, in a small voice that they think will make their comment less offensive. So I said to her, “I mean, anyone-” and here I was about to say that if anyone walked up to my car, I would be afraid, not just black people, but Ariel interrupts me before I could finish, and as though to finish my sentence fore me, she goes, “anyone would be afraid.” No Ariel. I was not about to say that anyone would be afraid of black people walking up to their car. That’s not….no. There was like, this awkward pause, and I finished saying what I was actually saying, and catching on quickly she’s like, yeah, and totally agrees with me. Sigh.

Anyways, I think I’d give my reaction a nice B here. While I’m glad I didn’t just not say anything, I kind of wish I’d been a little less friendly. This girl genuinely offended me, and so I think I should have voiced that.

AND LASTLY

SCENARIO 3:

First off, let me just tell you. The amount of awkward moments that arise when you’re a brown person and you have to do a group project on terrorism, I swear to God. The three girls in my group are all pretty cool, though, luckily. One girl is quite conservative though, but she recognizes that, and she’s made an effort to stay away from discussing both gay rights and terrorism to avoid conflict in our group. Like, she doesn’t try to start stuff, you know? I’ve known this girl since like, 6th grade, and I really do like her. However one little thing came up the other day. One group member was researching Saddam Hussein, and on of the ads that comes up on her google search was for people on Facebook named “Hussein.” So the girl who was researching it goes, “no, google, I’m not looking for people on Facebook with the last name Hussein!” I think just meant like, no this isn’t what I was searching for! But it kind of came across as, no I don’t want to be friends with any Husseins! But I knew that that’s not what she meant, and so I just laughed. But then the conservative group member goes, “Well, I mean, Obama’s middle name is Hussein, so…” Now if it was anyone else, it would be possible that they just said that to defend the last name Hussein by saying that it was our president’s middle name too. But I know that this girl is not supportive of Obama, so I’m pretty sure she meant it as a dig at Obama. But there’s nothing wrong with having the last name Hussein. Before I knew it, I was all, “And I have friends with the last name Hussein.” Now technically, I just have a friend of a friend with that last name, and of course there’s Lehmber Husseinpuri, who’s everybody’s friend, I think. Mainly I was just trying to get my point across that there are people other than Saddam Hussein who have that last name. Anyways, there was a small silence that followed before we went about our research, but I’m glad I said what I did, you know?

Okay, well, those weren’t too bad of situations to be in. I know some kids go through a lot worse.

So I think what I’ve learned from this…session?….is that it makes me feel best when I actually say something in response to racism/bullying. Next time it happens, I’ll keep that in mind, and I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it goes down.

Also, I just have about 5 tests left before I’m free for the summer. Thank you so much for being patient with these crappy posts in all of their mistaken spelling and grammar glory.¬†I promise they’ll get better soooooooooooon!!!!

Have a great week!

-M

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My Top 4 Gurdwaras To Visit

1) The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib):

Amritsar Golden Temple 3.JPG

Amritsar, India. This is sort of a Sikh’s #1 spot. The history behind it is pretty awesome too. From Wikipedia:

“Originally built in 1574, the site of the Gurdwara was surrounded by a small lake in a thin forest.¬†Mughal¬†Emperor¬†Akbar, who visited the third Sikh Guru,¬†Guru Amar Das, in the neighbouring town of¬†Goindval, was so impressed by the way of life in the town that he gave a¬†jagir¬†(the land and the revenues of several villages in the vicinity) to the Guru’s daughter Bhani as a gift on her marriage to Bhai Jetha, who later became the fourth Sikh Guru,¬†Guru Ram Das ji. Guru Ram Das enlarged the lake and built a small township around it. The town was named after Guru Ram Das as¬†Guru Ka Chak’,¬†Chak Ram Das¬†or¬†Ram Das Pura.”

This gurdwara is also pretty important, because it’s where Indira Ghandhi sent troops to eradicate a Sikh Khalistani advocate. Politics aside here, the fact that thousands of Sikh civilians died at Harmandir Sahib when this happens is sort of a big deal. Since so many Sikhs were martyred at this spot, I feel like I should visit it.

2) Nanakana Sahib:

Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. This gurdwara is in the city that Guru Nanak Dev Ji– the founder of the Sikh religion– was born. Guru Nanak Dev Ji is important to Sikhs, for obvious reasons, but is also highly respected by Hindus and Muslims as well. I’d love to visit his birthplace.

3) Gurdwara Panja Sahib:

Hasan Abdal, Pakistan.

Okay. So this Gurdwara. Let me just tell you.

A local saint, Shah Wali Qandhari, was annoyed at Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Bhai Mardana Ji, because they had started Sikh prayer, and a congregation was growing in front of them . So Shah Wali Quandhari pushed this massive rock down a hill towards the entire congregation. And this was a huge rock that could do some serious damage. But it was all good, because Guru Nanak Dev Ji stopped it. With his hand.

File:PunjaSahib.jpg

Of course this is a story, and know one knows if it’s true. But you want to know a secret?

I believe it.

And lastly…

4) Gurdwara Karte Parwan

File:KABUL Gurdwara Karte Parwan IMG 0619.JPG

Kabul, Afghanistan.

Back in the day (pre 1979), there were tens of thousands of Sikhs in Afghanistan. I find this particularly awesome, because many Sikhs (possibly including myself) are of Afghan descent. Also, I love Afghan culture, from what I’ve seen of it, and the fact that there were Afghan Sikhs actually living there was really cool. But unfortunately, after all of the wars in Afghanistan, there are only 3,000 Sikhs remaining in the country. Conditions in Afghanistan got really bad, and for many people,the best option was to leave. But anyways, for the Sikhs who remain, life is pretty tough. It’s tough in Afghanistan for many of the people there, but being religious minorities does not help. This gurdwara, and the others that remain, have seen so much suffering. The fact that they are still standing, and that Sikhs still go to them, is really kind of amazing. I have so much respect for those Sikhs, who still go to their gurdwara despite all that¬†they’ve¬†been through. Their resilience is astounding.¬†

Aight guys, that pretty much wraps up my list of fave gurdwaras. There’s a bunch more, and they all have a story. I definitely want to visit as many as I can.

I know posts have been short, but school’s really amping up the intensity here now that I’m less than a month away from summer break. As soon as things slow down a little bit, I’ll be able to put more time into my posts again. And edit them better:/ Thanks for bearing with me here, and good luck with any exams you have coming up also!

Stay fresh, 

-M

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Ethnicity Tag

So I did it. I did a tag. I wasn’t even tagged.¬†

I thought I’d mix it up a bit and use pictures for my answers! Which idk how I feel about. But I did. And now we’re going to have to deal with the consequences.¬†

LEGGO.

1. What is your ethnicity?

2. When was the last time you visited your country?

Crying-girl.jpg

3. Name one ethnic food you enjoy the most?

File:Bowl of Gulab Jamun.JPG

4. Name one household item that best represents your culture.

5. What part of your country are you from?

Oh Lawd.

File:Punjab Jalandhar.png

(Jalandhar, Punjab, India)

File:PunjabPatiala.png

(Patiala, Punjab, India)

File:Lahore Punjab Pakistan.PNG

(Lahore, Pakistan)

File:Location of Sialkot.png

(Sialkot, Pakistan)

File:Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan (claims hatched).svg

(Total curveball here, but Khyber Pakhtunkwa, Pakistan! Does this make me Pathan also? Because that would make me so happy)

And I can’t forget-

File:Flag-map of North Carolina.svg

‚̧

6. Can you speak the language of your ethnicity?

19

Wait, it’s over? Huh. Well this is sudden.¬†

I know this was a wayyy shorter post than normal, but bear with me here. I just have a few more weeks of intense finals and exams and SAT round II, and then I will be yours for the summer. 

BYE.

-M

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Hairiness

Hi guysssssss ūüôā

I had a really lame intro to this post omg. It was embarrassing. So that’s why we’re going with “hi guys.” Because I don’t know what I would write without that restriction. It gets bad sometimes.

ANYWAYS.

Today I’m going to open up about something personal and potentially embarrassing. I don’t really know why, but I just realized that this isn’t something that I’ve ever considered posting about and I have no idea why I haven’t. But okay. Les do dis.

As a Sikh, I don’t cut my hair. I also don’t remove hair from any part of my body. Not cutting my hair was the main thing I was concerned with in the before-teen years. When I was really little, I was jealous of the shorter-haired girls, but I got over that. Then at about 6th grade, or 11 or 12 years old, the not removing body hair became a thing that was relevant, because all of a sudden I realized a slight difference between my legs and other girls’ legs, and my underarms and theirs. Let’s just say they were ¬†newly bought chia pets and I was a chia pet after 3-5 days.

I think 6th grade was the most difficult, because I was so used to being a hairless chia pet and wearing shorts and sleeveless tops. But once I became a watered chia pet, no one flat out told me not to wear shorts anymore, but I didn’t want too. I still wore shorts in gym, but I got a little paranoid that everyone was looking at my legs, and eventually I started wearing only pants. I definitely stopped wearing shorts as everyday clothing. The thing is, I had no idea that this was going to be an obstacle for me as a Sikh girl. I knew about getting racist comments and not getting to layer my hair, but I started to learn how to deal with negative comments about my race, and I came to love my hair. The few times I attended classes at Gurdwara, I learned about the importance of wearing a turban and not cutting hair and wearing a kara, but I didn’t learn why it was important to not shave my legs. Now I have come to terms with it, and I even¬†appreciate¬†that it’s something my religion asks me to do, but in middle school it was a total curve ball. There were definitely hard days, but as middle school went on, I might not have come to terms with my body hair, but I did learn how to handle it. Somehow, I don’t think I ever got majorly bullied because of my body hair. I’m sure that not all Sikh kids are lucky enough for that to be the case for them. I think if I¬†had gotten bullied for it, it would have made me more self-conscious, but that would just be one more thing I learned how to deal with.

Every now and then I’d wear capris. Once I even wore shorts. I had a weird sickness sort of thing, nothing major, and I just decided I was so physically¬†uncomfortable that I just decided I was going to wear my comfiest pair of shorts that day. My mom was shocked. She didn’t think that I should do it. I think she was afraid I would get made fun of, because it was the first time I wore shorts in a couple of years. But I wore them, and I didn’t run into any problems.

Basically what I’m trying to get at here is, if you’re in middle school right now and your situation is somewhat like mine was in 6th grade, just know that it can pass if you let it. ¬†In sixth grade, I never thought that having body hair was something I would be able to accept. But in all honesty, after about a year, it became a total non-issue.¬†¬†When I think about middle school, my hairy issue isn’t the first thing I think about at all. Nah, I think about the friends I had and the stuff we laughed about. I think about the friend I lost in 7th grade. I think about the amazing teachers I had who changed the way I thought about things. ¬†

But one thing I still wonder about is why didn’t anyone prepare me for this? This is something that still bothers me today, possibly even more than it did then. In Gurdwara, they taught us kids about the Gurus and their struggles and what they gave up so that we could be free Sikhs. Never should Sikh kids not learn about this. Ever. But shouldn’t we also have learned about the obstacles we were going to face, and how to handle them? When I was 11, there were times I wanted to shave my legs so badly, and I probably came really close to deciding to do it. And I don’t have a problem with Sikhs who do shave, but if I had done it then, I wouldn’t have been making that decision from a good place. I would have been doing it because of society’s pressure, and not for me. As far as I knew, Sikhi just told me not to do it, and so that’s what I was supposed to do. Now, I know more about why we keep our hair, but I knew squat back then. To be fair, I didn’t go to that many classes at Gurdwara, so who knows? Maybe they did talk about this. But I’m pretty sure no one flat out took a group of girls and talked to them about what it’s like to be a chia pet after 3-5 days. I don’t think anyone in my Gurdwara would have felt comfortable talking to girls about body hair. But the reality is, someone should. All the time, we talk about Sikh kids giving up their faith, ¬†not making the right decisions, etc., etc. But maybe it’s because we’re not taught how to keep our faith in the face of the obstacles we face living in 21st century.

Okay, so I made it through middle school without shaving. I was really proud of myself, and I still am. However, early in¬†high school¬† I wanted to act professionally. I talked to people who helped me come to the decision that threading my eyebrows would help me achieve my goal, and so I did. I didn’t do it for more than a few months, but now it’s something I regret. I made it through middle school–the hardest years as a hairy adolescent girl– and I didn’t cut my hair. But in high school I did. It wasn’t even because I had an issue with my big eyebrows, and I felt pressured to do it. It was because I felt like it would help me progress. And that’s something I regret. However, I also forgive my past 9th grade self. I know that Sikhi isn’t about punishment and perfection. Me doing my eyebrows was part of my journey as a Sikh. Where I am now, and what I believe, should always be the only thing that matters. That goes for you too ūüôā

Anyways guys, I didn’t post this so that I could dish about my life or preach to you. I just know that there are kids going through stuff similar to what I was going through out there right now, and I want you guys to know that you’re not alone. Your hair might seem like it’s the biggest problem right now, but I promise you it’ll pass. In a little while, the only things you’re going to worry about are like…idk, school pictures and math tests and your ratchet family problems. ūüôā BECAUSE OH LAWD. DOZE FAMILY PROBS.

Anyways.

So okay,¬†epilogue¬†I guess. Now I’m half way through high school, and like I said, I don’t even think about my body hair. If anything, I’m grateful for it. I know it might sounds cray cray. But it’s true. But for some reason, I still don’t wear shorts, or go sleaveless.¬†Every now¬†and then I will, like to¬†Walgreen’s¬† And if it’s hot, I will wear what I got to wear to stay cool. But I usually prefer pants. And as comfortable as I am with my hairy self, this is just what’s happened. I don’t know why. I have nothing against shorts or anything, but it’s just kind of become normal for me not to wear them. So inside, there probably is still a little part of me that’s shy about it. But what I know is that I’m comfortable in pants. I’m comfortable in sleeves. And while I’m in high school, I don’t really want to push myself to wear stuff I’m not comfortable in. My goal is that someday I’ll feel just as comfortable in stuff other than just pants, but right now, I’m content with what I’m doing, and what I’m wearing, and that’s what matters, I guess.

Welp. There we go. Did you like the color thing? I thought that would mix it up a little…C o L o R f U l….sorry. Oh snap look! It turned black! Woah. I didn’t even do that. Mysterious…

See you next week ūüėÄ

-M

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