On Saturday I went to UCL for 'Mark of Excellence' one-day event, which organised and facilitated by Bhai Harinder Singh ji from Sikh Research Institute (USA). It was fantastic day and provided real inspiration. We had a workshop on "Who is your Guru?” which discussed the concept of Guru, role of Guru and who is our Guru.
Bhai Harinder Singh leading a workshop
Then there was a lecture on the Das Guru Sahibaan (The Ten Nanaks), exploring the Jeevan (life) of each of Das Saroop of Guru Nanak Ji in brief and referring to episodes from their life, which provides practical guidance and support to us. The lecture re-emphasised that there is 'One Guru' which was revealed through the Ten bodies or personalities of Guru Nanak Ji. Though the bodies were different, the jyot and mission were the same.
After lunch we looked at 'The Guru Khalsa Panth'. We often use the word "Panth" but what does it mean and who is the Panth. It was really interesting looking back at our history and seeing the works of the Panth and the role it played and how it was formed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699 at the first Amrit-Sanchaar on Vaisakhi.
The event ended with a Q&A session. It was good a oppurtunity to ask questions relating to the talks and discussions as well as other questions relating to Sikhi.
Below are some more photos from the Mark of Excellence event at UCL:
Harjit Singh from Kings College
Ravjeet Singh & Bhenji Gurbinder Kaur from Oxford Uni
Suprise photo of Seleena Kaur bhenji
Kamaldeep Kaur bhenji running away from the camera (not my fault the photo's blurry! lol.)
Afterwards a few of us went to Shepard's Bush Gurdwara for the Youth Kirtan which was happening there. We were like a group of confused people walking around not knowing where to go! We eventually realised that we had to take tube from Tottenham Court Road. While walking there we decided to do Rehraas Sahib da Paath. We continued the Paath on the tube as well. I think we scared some people on the tube when they saw us reciting Rehraas Sahib!
We got to Shepard's Bush Gurdwara. The upstairs Diwaan Hall was packed with youngsters. They had just finished Rehraas Sahib and Keertan was going to start. I listen to one shabad and then had to go, because I was going to back home.
I had to take a train from Paddington to Banbury because the Marylebone station was closed. I took a train from Paddington to Reading. From Reading I had to change. Then I realised that there was no direct train to Banbury from Reading so I had to change from Oxford.
The screen showed the Oxford train departing from platform 4. So i stood there. Then it suddenly changed to platform 8 and leaving in 3 mins! So quickly ran to platform 8 then the details for Oxford went off the screen. Next thing I know there's an announcement on the speaker "platform change - the train for oxford is now going from platform 4". I thought "Waheguru! Rab Rakha." So I hurried to platform 8. I didn't miss my train because it was 10 minutes late!
I got on the train and it took a further 10-15 minutes to leave because some vandals had smashed the train windows on the journey to Reading. Eventually the train left. At last I thought, getting back home soon. So i ring my dad to pick me up in about 45 mins.
Little did I realise that Oxford train station was closed! I thought "Waheguru!" I asked the train platform person "I want to go Banbury". He said that the station was closed now and only way to Banbury was bus. A bus was leaving outside the station at 11.35pm. I had to wait 40 minutes at Oxford train station.
It was cold and a lot of people were standing outside the train station waiting for a bus. And most people were drunk and rowdy. There was me wearing my white kurta pyjama standing out like a sore thumb in a crowd of a bunch of rowdy drunkard teenagers. I was hoping that no sharaabi would come over to me and start shouting abuse or something. The train manager saw me and asked me, "Sir where are you going." I told him and he said, "Please take a seat inside."
It was strange that everyone else was standing outside and waiting but the train manager offered me a seat inside, despite that the train station was closed. I sat inside; there were another two ladies there. The train manager locked the front doors, switched the main lights off and started cleaning inside the train station. Some people started banging on the door and kicking and saying, "Let us! I want to catch a train! F*ckin open the door!"
The train manager shouted from inside "the station is closed!" People who came to see whether the station was open were surprised and baffled at why the two ladies and I were inside sitting down. It was strange how the train manager was so kind that he offered me a seat inside.
25 minutes later the train manager said, "Sorry I have to lock up now." He showed the way outside through the back entrance. We came outside and waited for the bus with the other people waiting in the front of the station. A drunken girl said, "How did you come out? How come you were allowed to wait inside?"
Rab da shukar, in those 5 minutes before I came outside, the main crowd of rowdy sharaabi teenagers had got on their bus and gone. I eventually got home at 12.30am.
I thank Waheguru that train manager showed so much pyaar and respect and gave me a seat inside the train station away from the drunken teenagers.
That's my Saturday travels!