Latest report from Guruka Singh in Chigwell, England at the Sikh Student Camp
"Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh!
Thursday at camp was an absolutely smashing day. It rained most of the day, a steady downpour that kept us all inside, so we had a full camp turban tying party! Lots of campers who had never tied dastar before got to experience the wonderful experience of Guru’s crown for the first time. We had some very creative turbans as well. Sodhi (that’s the jolly fellow in the photo with me) tied a green plaid pug with a dashing tail hanging down. But then again, he always cuts quite a figure poking and uplifting everyone with his sharp wit. Two Singhs tied a proper Nihung Dumalla on me (picture shown below). It took them nearly half an hour. I guess I have a somewhat slippery head ;-)
The day was filled with so many smiling faces! In the afternoon the sun broke through as we began the Nishan Sahib Seva. The school where the camp is held is in Chigwell, in the London suburbs. It’s the Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa School. In front of the main school building entrance is a beautiful Nishan Sahib, and we spent the afternoon yesterday lowering it, cleaning it and redressing it with a new orange cover (chola) and a new nishan (flag.) The entire camp participated over a period of several hours with continuous chanting and scores of Jaikaras (shouts of "Bole So Nihal!") Everyone got hoarse (but filled with joy) and after the footwashing the whole camp posed for a group snap.
The camp sevadar team is awesome! Not only do they plan and coordinate the camp, but they serve all day and night on every level taking care of everyone, guiding the day’s activities and taking care of camp security. That’s security team captain, Dala, and the camp security hound, "Tiger" (he’s the dog) in the photo below. Tiger is fed some milk and langer in the morning and perhaps a bit of cold pizza for lunch, so he’s a fairly hungry, grumpy Rottweiller come evening time and he’s ready to take a nice bite out of anyone who approaches our camp with bad intentions. The camp sevadars give all their time to the camp as seva – many taking over a week off from their jobs and family to serve the sadhsangat here.
In the evening we had an special Keertan Darbar with Guest ragis like Amarjit Singh, who sings Keertan in classical Raag (there are 31 ragas in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.) Midday Langer yesterday was delicious Saag dripping with butter, fresh hot roti and daal. Evening Langar was take away from "Rocky’s", a London institution known among the campers for it’s huge, yummy vegeburgers and chips (French fries.) The evening Keertan went on past 11 PM, so everyone was pretty tired, but this morning (Friday – the final day of camp) everyone was in Cherdi Kala as Navleen Kaur began her talk on Seva. She called me up to share the stage and sit with her. She’s the most lovely, inspiring, dedicated and divine sister – beloved of the Siri Singh Sahib and a great teacher as well. I’m sure she’ll visit Espanola soon to be with us in our Sangat there. I have met so many bright, open hearted, shining young Singhs and Singhinis here, and my heart is so full of love for everyone that it’ll be hard to leave camp tomorrow when we all pack up and depart. So to all my beloveds in Espanola, I’ll see you soon and I send you a proper Jaikara from Sikh Student Camp… Bole So Nihal! Saaaaaaaat Siri Akaaaaaal!!!!"
GMS Note: Below are some Gurbani MP3 audio clips from the evening Gurdwara this past Tuesday. The Kirtan is great and I particularly enjoyed the short "katha" that Guruka Singh did in two different shabads near the end of the audio. The photos below were taken by Ravinderpal Singh (Nishaan Seva) and Jasdeep Kaur (Ladies turban tying.)
Aad Gureh Nameh
Jaag Saloonariay – with katha by Guruka Singh
Mohi Na Bisaru – with katha by Guruka Singh
My first dastaar!
Tying a turban
Love and Respect…
Guruka Singh wearing a Dhumalla Turban
Our youngest Singhini
Dala and Tiger
Shouting the Jaikara – "Boleh So Nihal, Sat Siri Akal!"
Young Gurveer Singh blowing the conch.
Sodhi and Guruka Singh
Wearing her first dastaar ever…
Manmeet Kaur offers up a crisp
Sikh Student Camp Participants
Panj Piaray during Nishaan Seva
Lowering the Nishaan Sahib
Washing the Nishaan Pole