Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ban Smoking in Public Places!!!

WAHEGUROO!! ... Yesterday I was invited to Westminster Uni to do a talk and bit of Kirtan in their Sikh Society simran programme, which is going to be a weekly thing.

Firstly, I got the WRONG CAMPUS. I was sitting on jubilee line from London Bridge to Baker Street and I thought to myself, "Wow. I have arrived bit early. That's good. Usually people turn up late when doing talks and stuff, but today I am bit earlier." Bhenji and Bhaji from Sikh Society didn't want me to come late, so I was chuffed (happy) with myself that I was 5 minutes earlier (rather than turning up on Pindoo timing).

Coming out the station I saw loads of Panjabis and a few Singhs. I was thinking 'shall I approach them and say, "Come to Sikh society"? But then I thought to myself, 'well I don't know the room number or know exactly where to go. On top of that no-one from Westminster Sikh Society is answering their phone.' So it would be bit embarrassing if I asked people to come to Sikh Society but I didn't know which room it is happening.

I got to the main entrance and for the FIFTH time or so I tried ringing the Westminster Sikh Society people. NO ONE PICKED. O dear - was it a wasted journey? I rang another Singh and asked him to look on the Internet which room the simran programme is (I know - I should have done that before I left!). SHOCK HORROR!!!! I was standing at the WRONG CAMPUS.

”WAHEGUROO! WAHEGUROO! WAHEGUROO!” rolled off my tongue. O dear me! My pride of turning up on time (according to English time) was smashed! lol. I was meant to have gone to the Regent Street Campus, which near Oxford Circus tube station. So I hopped on the tube and got off at Oxford Circus.

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? Coming out of the station I thought - 'hun mai kithe jaavaa(n)?' I tried ringing AGAIN, but no-one picked up their phone. I thought 'Chalo - Rab Rakha, let's see where I turn up'.

I started walking up Regent Street (hoping I was walking in the right direction). I thought I would ring bhenji from Westminster Uni again and give it a go. I got my phone out of my pocket and dialled the number. Just as waited for the phone to be answered someone walked by and was smoking. It was DISGUSTING. They were so inconsiderate and blew out their Cigarette smoke in my face. WAHEGUROO! I felt sick. I was coughing and felt like I choking on it. Bhenji answered the phone and I could barely breathe NEVER MIND TALKING! I said "Ek minute" and tried to get some air and clear my throat and air passage. I was so annoyed! Firstly, I am asthmatic and secondly, I hate tobacco and cigarette smell or smoke!

It took me a good few second to be able to breathe properly and talk to Bhenji. Then I saw a building saying 'Westminster University'. WAHEGUROO! Rab Da Shukar!! I had found the university. Bhenji was standing outside.

I didn't feel like talking! Because after the incident I felt sick, and I felt my air passage was violated by the dirty smoke, and congested or something. I felt like coughing! Sitting infront of the Vaaja I thought 'hope I can talk properly, because I felt queasy'. But with Guru's Kirpa I did a small talk and sangat joined together to sing a shabad and bhenji Tasvinder Kaur led some nice Simran.

From Westminster Uni I was going to my university library. I was doing Rehraas Sahib and walking and "PRAISE THE LORD" i coughed and my air passage and lungs or dil (chest-area) felt clear AT LAST! It was now all decongested and I felt I could breathe without being traumatized by the experience with the inconsiderate smoker.

I really hope that the government bans smoking in all public places. Firstly, it harms those who consume tobacco, and secondly, those who inhale other's smoke are at greater health risk.

To end with, I want to share what Guru Ji tells us about tobacco:

paan supaaree khaateeaa, mukh beeReeaa laaeeaa.
har har kade na chetiou, jam pakaR chalaaeeaa. 13
“Those who eat ‘paan’ (betel leaves which contain nicotine) and betel nuts and their mouths touch cigarettes, but do not contemplate the Lord, Har, Har, the Messenger of Death will sieze them and take them away (and made to enter the cycle of reincarnation). 13”
(Ang 726, SGGS)

suN gursikh kee rehit ko, taje tamaakoo sang.
marNee marai tau at bhalaa, jagat joot nehee ang.

"Listen to the Rehit (discipline) of the Gursikh who relinquishes the accompaniment of tobacco, avoding bodily contact with tobacco as he/she knows that he/she is better off dead than having to touch tobacco."
(Rehitnaama Bhai Nand Lal [Singh] Ji)

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