One of my friends from England/Malaysia (Harkiren Kaur) is currently in Amritsar, rooming with my other good friend Guru Darshan Kaur. The below text is from an email that she sent around to friends which I thought was a funny and illustrated some of her experiences doing seva at Harimandir Sahib and being a Sikh woman.
"I think I’ve mentioned that I have joined the school (Miri Piri Academy) in Amritsar for 40 days of seva (service) at Darbar Sri Harimandir Sahib (the Golden Temple). These lists are the result of 22 days of experience and observation from seva at Darbar Sahib. Care to look through my looking glass?"
Job Title: Bucketeer
Job Description: You shall stand on the second step in the sarovar (nectar tank). It is your duty to fill up the bucket brought to you by the Bucket Carrier.
Job Title: Bucket Carrier
Job Description: You shall carry a bucket. It is your duty to walk to the sarovar, get the bucket filled up and take it to the Water Splasher.
Job Title: Water Splasher
Job Description: You shall splash water (no, duh!). It is your duty to take a filled bucket from a Bucket Carrier and splash it where you see fit.
Job Title: Water Directors
Job Description:You shall direct water. It is your duty to use your brooms to push water towards the draining holes.
Job Title: Squidger
Job Description: You shall dry the parkarma. Once the Bucketeers, Bucket Carriers, Water Splashers and Water Directors have cleared, you, armed with your own personal 6-foot long Squidgy, will dry off the parkarma by pushing the rest of the water into the draining holes.
Clearly, there is no doubt as to who is at the top end of the food chain. The Squidgers. They are an elite group and you absolutely need to know the right people before you can even get close to a Squidgy. (Once I saw a 3-foot long Squidgy. This was obviously someone on probation. We shall see how he turns out in a few weeks.)
Clearly, there is no doubt as to where I am on the food chain. Right at the bottom!
I am a Bucketeer. Actually I am probably the first bucketeer in the history of Darbar Sahib, seeing as I created the word in the first place and subsequently employed myself first :)
3 Levels of Buckteering
After I mastered Level 1, I kind of speeded through Level 2 (read: I’ve never actually done this yet :p) and am now at Level 3. Which, I might add, is a true accomplishment seeing as I have a regular returning clientele of Bucket Carriers, and unlike my other colleagues, our little group is without a doubt drier than any of the others. So there.
Did I mention that seva is selfless service and we should not let our ego get in the way? That is Super Advanced Level 4… still working towards that one!
After being here for a while, you start to identify the regulars. And not just regulars in terms of who comes for seva. Oh no my naïve dears, not those good, wonderful souls.
I mean regulars in terms of their criminal classifications. We are continuously compiling a collection a mug shots to better our identification process.
A list of Offenses
Hoggers – they struggle with two buckets and unnecessarily spill water because of imbalance, even when there are clearly others who would like a share of the work. They say: You stay away from my buckets you! (In the background: splash, splash, splash, splash).
Ok I think I’m list-ed out for now.
A prayer: God give them understanding and wisdom and me compassion and patience.
With love, Hari Kiren Kaur