Naked Eyes-- by Bismaadh Kaur
Sikhi was never of any importance to me. I was still young, and always believed it was something that people did in their fifty’s to pass time. I wanted to “live life to the fullest,” and that wasn’t possible if I was living the lifestyle of a Sikh. I didn’t care to understand the concept of God, or why people had so much faith in Him. All I cared about was looking good, and having as much fun as I could before I got married (I knew my parents would marry me off to a Sikh). If I was to get into Sikhi it would be a lot later in my life.
I had just turned 22, and because I had finished my degree and was able to support myself, I thought it was time that I went my own way. I had been under the control of my parents all of my life and although I respected that they were devoted to Sikhi, I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted in my life.
I had been thinking about getting my hair trimmed for a while. I was getting sick of putting my hair up in a bun. My eyebrows took after my Pita Jee, bushy as can be, and I couldn’t wait to get those plucked.
I didn’t tell my parents since I felt I was old enough to make my own decisions. I knew it was a bit selfish of me to go behind their backs, but I didn’t think too much of it.
I went into the shop and got my hair trimmed a couple of centimeters and had my eyebrows shaped. There was a look of accomplishment when I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time. The reflection showed a new person, it was the person I always wanted to be.
“Freedom!” I remember thinking to myself.
I drove up into the garage of the house I had lived in for the last ten years of my life, and hoped that it would recognize me. As I walked into the house, I could feel my heart beating rapidly. My parents were in the kitchen so I walked in hastily, said my hello’s and headed into my room.
I didn’t stay long enough in the kitchen to see my parents’ reactions. Mata Jee had just looked up at me when I left and Pita Jee was too absorbed reading the Panjabi newspaper.
I could hear murmurs coming from the living room. And then for a couple of minutes they stopped. My heart was beating so fast.
“Simran?” I could hear my mom calling for me.
At first I didn’t want to answer.
“Hunjee Mata Jee?” I whispered back hoping she wouldn’t hear me.
“Can you come outside please?”
“Okay, I’ll be there in a minute.”
I started feeling guilty for cutting my hair but kept my composure and walked down the hall towards the living room.
My parents were sitting cross legged on the rug, holding gutkay in their hands. My mom looked up at me and handed me a gutka and then nodded her head downwards (her way of telling me to sit down).
It was the first time since I can remember that my parents called me to do paat with them. At first I wanted to get up and tell them I had work to do but then I just felt relieved that they weren’t yelling at me, so I sat down beside my mom and read along with Rehraas.
Rehraas was finally over, and by this time I was yawning and just wanted to go to bed. We all got up to do ardaas. Pita Jee did it. Although I didn’t care for Sikhi, ardaas was the one aspect of Sikhi that meant something to me so I actually listened to the ardaas.
Pita Jee came to the end of the ardaas. He did ardaas for Rehraas and then in a calm loving tone he asked, “Guru Sahib Jee, please bless our daughter with a Gursikhi life.”
Mata Jee was sobbing. I wanted to cry as well, not becaus e I felt guilty but because I was hurt. Why would they do that to me? They could have done ardaas on their own time.
I didn’t sleep that whole night. Pita Jee’s words kept running through my head no matter how high I turned up the radio.
Two months had gone by. I kept my distance from my parents and even when Mata Jee tried to talk to me I gave her one word answers. Although two months had passed, I could still hear Pita Jee’s voice from that night. His ardaas was straight from his heart and I was afraid that it would come true. I had even done ardaas to undo the ardaas he did.
That night my good friend was having a keertan at the Gurudwara. I never liked going to anyone’s programs, especially if they were at the Gurudwara, but that day I kept getting this push from inside to go.
I arrived at the Gurudwara early and after failing to find someone I knew I proceeded towards the main darbar hall. I took a glance at Guru Granth Sahib Jee to make sure I was walking in the right direction. As I looked down at the ground I felt warmth take over my body. I felt calm. The vision of Guru Granth Sahib Jee covered with royal blue ramalay was grounded in my mind. I stood still for a moment and embraced the vision in my heart. Everything around me slowly disappeared.
I took a step forward and then another, until I had reached the end. I looked up at the Guru. My mind was silenced in admiration of the beauty that was in front of me. I once again remembered Pita Jee’s ardaas and started to shed tears. Kneeling down to matha taake I could hear Pita Jee’s words so clearly, “Guru Sahib Jee please bless our daughter with a Gursikhi life.”
The moment my forehead touched the Guru’s Charan I could hear whispers in my ear. I was trying to listen to what was being said but I couldn’t make out the words. I concentrated and tried again to listen to the sounds.
“Waahe-Guroo. Waahe-Guroo. Waahe-Guroo…”
At that time I didn’t know what to think of the moment. But, with the energy I had left I got up and sat in the Sangat. Time had vanished. My eyes were tightly fastened together and my mind was still. A soft white filled the room and I could hear more voices repeating “Waahe-Guroo.” I absorbed myself in the moment.
Some time had gone by and I could see two figures appear in the distance. They were too far away for me to see if they were male or female but I could see that one was shorter than the other. I couldn’t see any details because the colours were meshed into one blur consisting of black, red and a pale brown. I tried to focus on the two figures hoping that I could piece together who they were.
The two figures had vanished and then for a split second materialized again and this time I could see them clearly.
That was the day that my Pita Jee’s ardaas had been answered. I took Amrit a week later. Every night in my ardaas I ask that everyone be blessed with a Gursikhi life.
There are still days that go by when I feel distant from Sikhi. But, when those days come, I think back to the day when Guru Sahib Jee, with my naked eyes, showed me the Piyaar in the face of Bhai Taru Singh Jee as his scalp was being cut away from his body.