Q. "Wow. The piece of underwear thing you showed was huge. Do women wear these as well?"
A. Yes. Both men and women have the same code of conduct to that they follow and the same identity, i.e. 5 Ks and turban.
Q. "Where do you get that (referring to Kachhera) and your grand dress made from?"
A. I get my shorts (Kachhere) and dress (Kurta Pyjama) made from Panjab from a tailor shop in a city called Jalandhar.
Q. "Will you be having an arranged married? How will you find a wife?"
A. Sikhs don't have arranged marriages. In the past many people had arranged marriages. People born in this country and also in India now, have assisted marriages. No one is ever forced into marriage (well I hope not! joke! hehe). You are introduced to someone through a match-maker. The match-maker will take in account both individuals' character, qualities, interests, family type etc. So you get a pretty good match. Before deciding to meet each other, you can view a photograph or some people wish to talk on the phone. Then both families meet in person. You get talk to the person. If you like them and they like you then things progress and the families make another meeting. It is similar to Victorian England.
Q. "What do you believe about life after death?"
A: Sikhs believe that soul is infinite, divine and a part of God. The soul enters the cycle of reincarnation. We have been born as different forms of life, species and animals. The human life is the highest form of life because it provides the individual with an opportunity to live a God-conscious life, serve humanity and experience the Truth. When one experience the Divine in this life then when they die the soul goes to abode of Truth and forever enjoys union with the Divine Presence of God. We do not believe nor hope for physical heavens and paradises with worldly pleasures. The true heaven is forever enjoying oneness and peace with God.
There are many examples which provide us with evidence of Reincarnation. One relative of mine in India shared a story of how her nephew at the age of 3 years old would say that his wife and children live in Delhi. This child had never watched television and never visited anywhere out of his area. He told his parents that he was a truck driver and had three children (he knew the names). One day he had a car accident on the main road (he named the road and exact spot) and he died. When he died he explained that it felt like entering a black hole with a light at the end. He met someone there, where his whole life flashed in front of him. After this he entered this home and was born. This 3 year old child repeated this story until he was 7 years old. His parents were very upset and someone advised them that every time he brings up his past life give him a slap in the face and remind him that you are his family. He soon stopped talking about his past life. This is one of many examples. Despite this, we should concentrate and focus on the life we are living right now rather than thinking back or forward.
Q. "Have you faced any problems or racism because of your appearance and Sikh identity?"
A. If you think you are a problem, then you will attract problems. If you act and think normal, then no one bothers you. I used to first cut my hair, until I realised my roots and faith at the age of 15. When I first kept my hair and wore a turban I kept thinking that the whole world was looking at me. If someone laughed, I thought they were laughing at me. Then September 11th happened and some people would shout racist abuse at me at school and in public - "Bin Laden", "Taliban", "Towel Head", "Go back to Afghanistan," "Terroist," "Paki" etc. Also, once a tramp threatened to stab me with a knife and kill me in the middle of a train station in London (during the time I studied in London). However, you learn to cope with it. The racism was not only from white people but from other people as well, i.e. Pakistanis.
My faith has made me a stronger person. I am proud to look different, be different and think different. I am happy that I stand out of the crowd. My turban is a crown which reminds me that I am sitting on the throne of consciousness and dedicated to higher principles. My 5 Ks uniform and identity reminds me to live a conscious, pure, and holy life, which does does not harm anyone but rather radiate grace, peace and harmony. I can now walk around in these clothes and feel totally comfortable. Because I feel comfortable and happy in myself, others around me feel comfortable and happy. Meditation, reading prayers and contemplating on the Guru's teachings helps me to realise that the Divine is within me, which in turn helps one to realise that the Divine is within others and all living being.
The ladies were impressed with Sikhi and were very happy to hear about equality, the status of women, and how their questions had been answered. Before I came to the meeting, I had prepared some Karhaah (not Parshaad) to share with women. At the end of the meeting the Karhaah was given out to all the ladies. They loved it and asked for more. The ladies gave a kind thank you card and small gift of appreciation for sharing my faith with them and then I went home (about 9.30pm).
Note: The reason for sharing this is so that others can get the idea and confidence to share their faith with others. It is important that we do not keep Sikhi to ourselves but share the jewels of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Dharam with all humanity. The first step we can do is share Sikhi with our neighbours and friends. Guru is Great. Bhul Chuk Maaf.