Last weekend the Dundee Sangat in North Scotland invited a group of us to help them do a Gurmat Camp. I flew out to Edinburgh on Friday. At Birmingham airport I got checked in my luggage and made my way to the departures area. Before entering there was a security man who was asking passengers whether they had any fluids or liquids with them in their hand luggage. The man looked at me and with a warm smile he said, "Sir do you have any liquids or water with you?" I shook my head and said "No." He then smiled and said "PAANEE? Do you have any PAANEE?" I said, "No" and smiled back. Then he said "DAARU? You have any DAARU?" I looked confused and replied "No Daru. I am a Sikh. Sikhs do not drink alcohol." He smiled and said, "It was worth a try." Waheguroo.
Then I got through the metal detecting machines and on the other side there was a counter and about 20 security personnel standing there. It looked odd because usually only one or two guards are there. One man dressed in plain clothes asked me to come to the side (first time!). He looked Panjabi and was wearing a Kara or something that resembled one. He said, "Where are you going Sir?" I said, "Edinburgh". "What is the purpose of your visit?" he asked. I said, "There's a Gurmat camp at Dundee Gurdwara. I am going there from Edinburgh." Then he said, "What are you going to teach at the camp." Very strange. I thought, "Hai Bhai! You want me to sit down with you and read Gurbani, do Keertan and Simran or something?" I said "meditation and keertan". It was weird because although he looked Panjabi he was asking questions like he was a Gora and was unaware of Sikhi. He then asked, "So are you a SAT-SANGI?" I looked at him with a confused face. He repeated his question and said "Are you part of SAT-SANGIS?". I pointed to myself and said, "I am a SIKH - I am NOT a SatSangi". I don't have a clue where this man was coming from - do I look like a Radha Soami or Nirankari (Narakdhari) (which I assume is what "SatSangi" meant in the context he said it). Rab Raakhaa!
Then he asked, "What do you do for a living?" I said that I am a student studying PhD in Sikh Studies. He said "So what do you learn in your PhD? Do you learn about the 10 Gurus?" What type of question is this? I thought, "Hai Bhai, 5 year old children know about the 10 Gurus!" Waheguru. It was dragging on. I was unsure whether (1) he was bored and thought like talking to somebody that looks like a Giani, (2) he thought I looked lonely and offered to do seva of talking to me and passing my time at the airport, or (3) he thought I had a dodgy passport or something and thought I was trying to smuggle my way out to Scotland (something for him to think about - why would an apnaa person want to illegally try to get to Scotland? - No offence to Scotland). Rab Rakha. He asked other weird questions which I gave minimal response considering the man was getting bit annoying and patronising (it could be the case he was trying to be friendly - Rab Jaane!). Chalo, suppose it made the morning interesting!
Arriving at Edinburgh airport I waited for Ravjeet Singh's flight from London and then Bhaji Roshan Singh and Bhaji Dharmveer Singh, two Chardi Kalaa Singhs from Edinburgh, picked us up and showed us the castle on the mound.
Bhaji Roshan Singh jee also showed his souvenir shop where he sold Singh Tartan. Very nice materials. It was great to see how much positive Sikhi Parchaar Bhai Sahib does just by wearing a Tartan Dastaar. Whilst we there an American lady came and asked to take Bhaji's photo and commented on how nice his Dastaar looked.
In the evening Bhaji Paman Singh from Glasgow (fondly known as Sant Baba Paman Singh Ji Glasgow Wale) picked up Ravjeet Singh and I and drove us to Dundee which is North in the Highlands. We arrive just before 10pm. Arriving in Dundee we couldn't find the Gurdwara in the pitch darkness. The roads were very narrow and the whole place were upward and downhill hills. With Guru's Kirpaa we found the Gurdwara, which used to be an old dental surgery that has been converted into a Gurdwara. I felt sorry for Baba Paman Singh who had to park his car in tight place. Bechaaraa. Took him about 5 minutes to park.
To be continued...