Post Narayan Departure Blues

Post Narayan Departure Blues

I’m sitting here at my desk and can’t seem to get into work yet this morning; thinking of my son Narayan who is traveling right now to India. Yesterday we saw him off at the airport along with some of his local friends who are going with him. Everything went really well, and the kids were like a clan together, excited to go on the travel adventure. I was really happy that there was no emotional scene.  We stood at the window watching the airplane leave the gate, saying silent prayers for a safe and smooth journey.

After the plane took off, Charanjeet realized Narayan was really gone and started to say how she wanted Narayan back. As we drove home from the airport I monitored his flight progress on my phone. By the time we got home Narayan had landed in Los Angeles and was meeting up with the rest of the west coast group. He sounded great and like he was having a great time.  For some reason I felt the need to keep checking the flight status on the "FlightTrack" application on my phone, since it gave real time information about the flights.

Friends

After the flight took off from Los Angeles to London on a 10 hour flight I put down the phone and tried to go to sleep. It just hit me all of a sudden. I felt so emotional and the tears just flowed. It wasn’t a rational thing, since I knew the kids are safe, secure and going to be in a great situation. I had flashbacks of myself as a kid going to India. The emotional side of realizing that I won’t see Narayan for a long while was hitting me. It was one of those things that it just pure emotion and just my body processing the change.

Earlier this summer another parent who sent his son to India many years ago was sharing his experience saying it was like having his heart ripped out. I guess when you get used to having your children around all the time, there is a void when they are gone. This morning it made me think of my grandmother who is getting pretty old and recently lost her husband. She treasures the pictures I send her of our kids and any time we come to visit. I now have an inkling of how it might feel when your kids "grow up" and leave the house. So much of your life revolves around your children, and when they are gone, then it is a major change. It’s another one of those lessons of appreciating all the time we have on the earth and the joys of family.

Family

Our lifestyle is very spiritually centered, and so I really do feel that we as parents really are just care takers for our children. We are here to train and help them be light houses to uplift themselves and others. We don’t own them. I think sometimes we can be selfish and to things for our own purposes, rather then what is best for your children. I feel like this is one of those situations, where I know Narayan going to MPA is an excellent choice for Narayan. He is the coal being molded, shaped and carved into a diamond. It would be selfish to keep him from this experience which will change his life. We all have our destinies on this earth and I want to give Narayan as many tools as he can to reach his highest potential.

Right now Narayan is at the London airport with the rest of the group getting ready to take his next leg of the trip which is a 9 hour flight to New Delhi, and then they get on buses for a 13 hour (?) drive to Amritsar. I really wish there was still direct flights to Amritsar on some of the major airlines, which would have save them a huge amount of travel time. Traveling for 2 days straight burns you out!  I remember the feeling of arriving in New Delhi after the long flights, and as soon as you walk outside you are hit with that thick humid hot sticky air and swarms of people. Then the long bus drive to the school (which was GNFC  in Mussoorie back in my days).

I’m sure in the next few days I’ll feel more normal and will adjust to having one less child with me. This is one of those things that I didn’t relate to when other people were sending their kids off to India, but now I have experienced it first hand (at least the first parts).

The full circle is complete. Me going to India and experiencing that, and now the reverse of being the parent sending my son to India.

Over the years this blog has become a place to journal much of my family life. Many of you have seen my kids grow up through the pictures and videos. It is a nice little "archive" of our family life. It will be interesting to look back on all this many years from now.

Anyways, all is well. The kids are in the hands of Guru Ram Das now. The adventure continues….

Watching the airplane take off

Friends and Brothers

Watching the airplane take off

Family

Family

Family

18 Responses to “Post Narayan Departure Blues”

  1. Oh jio! Great great great for you both, mataji and papaji.

    Yes, I think it is, indeed, much harder – especially the first year! – to be on the parent side of this equation. They are moving forward, together, into a great adventure; you are still at home living your regular life.

    But what you mentioned yesterday about the vast differences in technology now vs. years ago is so true! Even when Amrit Kaur went for her first year (1999-2000), there was only one, “group”, email address – the staff would print out emails and hand out at mail call, like letters. Now, you will be able to email him and get email from him on a pretty regular basis (although, I don’t know anymore what the rules are about that, and phones, for the juniors).

    I have experienced every single year for these last 10 years the same reaction from people who are not Sikh parents, as you outlined in yesterday’s post. My shorthand statement about why we send the kids to India was “protect them a little from ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll'” (being a true child of the 60s, haha!) – that is, the worst excesses of American culture, and give them the capacity to develop their character and grit.

    Seriously, the reasons you mention were valid when you were in school in India, when Amrit was in school, and my son Hargobind, and remain true today. The vision of Siri Singh Sahib ji for the education, upliftment, inspiration, and creation of the soldier-saint for our children has held true from the very beginning. With the support of all of us, whether we have children there or not anymore, it will continue to manifest at Miri Piri Academy.

    Well. Sorry to be so long and rambly. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Arjan Kaur to keep up and keep your hearts held high, knowing your son will continue to grow and grow and be great!

  2. WJKK WJKF, dear Gurumustuk bhaijee,

    I am sure all these days were filled with a lot of mixed emotions and thoughts and I am completely confident that your son is in good, if not the best hands imaginable.

    I hope I am getting my curriculum for Practical Graphic Design ready for a soon entry as Guest Teacher. Especially after my first stay in India (well, Punjab… ;o) ) I am looking forward to go back and do something a bit more useful than “just” sightseeing.

    Hopefully I will see Narayan then.

    My thoughts are with you and your family – Please keep us informed how it is going.

    With regards and wishes for all Guru Jee’s Kirpa

    Jagbeer Singh Khalsa

  3. Thank you both for sharing!

    Gurukaram, technology has definitely made things easier. The kids have wifi internet in the school, laptops, live chat, SMS messages, ipod touch with skype and Narayan has his own cell phone that he can use on weekends. Everyone has skype so we’ll be sure to have some video conversations as well.

    Narayan said he would email me every day, so we’ll see how that goes. He is still learning to type, but I set him up with a nice @khalsa.com address (guess his address?). Big difference from when I was in school over 25 years ago and the teachers used to write our “personal” letters to our parents on the black board for us all to copy down (“Dear, mummy and daddy, how are you, I am fine……”)

  4. Jaswinder Kaur says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Please keep us informed.

    Guru Fateh!!!!

    Jaswinder

  5. I first want to applaud you for your candor. The first year I sent Guru Prakash Singh, I was devastated, a complete wreck for a long while. It is amazing how technology has advanced- I didn’t hear a thing for 3 weeks- no arrival email..waiting forever to get through on the phone lines…
    Back then (all of 6 or 7 years ago) there wasn’t much acknowledgment of how painful the whole process was. It very well could have been too painful for parents to talk about, so maybe they were just putting on a brave face, but I felt so alone in that sadness. Even at the airport, everyone left as I stayed to watch the plane take off. I remember crying in my car on the way home when Guru Bachan Kaur called me and insisted I come over and spend the night. Sat Bachan just hugged me and let me hold her baby! It was so melodramatic!
    Him being my only son, and doing it all alone had its unique challenges, and also meant it took a while to re-orient my life. I had to let go, the center of my universe had to shift, for me and for him.
    It is the greatest sacrifice we make for our children the consequences and benefits are sometimes immediate, sometimes not and yet still we sacrifice.
    God bless you and your family!

  6. Simran Kaur says:

    Thank you Gurumustuk Ji for sharing your emotions through this roller-coaster ride in your and your family’s life. I just want to tell you and all the other parents like you who send their kids off on a journey like this……..you are such inspiring examples of what an ideal parent should be like. Just as you explained, it may be easy to say to yourself that as a parent one does not own their child but is only the temporary care-taker until they learn to handle life on their own. But I can imagine that it takes incredible courage and strength to actually take this step of letting go of a part of you (literally), only keeping your child’s best interests foremost in your mind.

    It’s so good to connect with you all through platforms like these…..so many different perspectives to learn about and from.

    Rab Rakha :)

  7. TejPal Kaur says:

    Wahe Guru
    I wish you parents all the best in this process and thank you Gurumustuk Ji for sharing your emotions. Parents who take this actions, like you and your lovely wife are so important in this moment, and kids with these experiences like Naranjan is what we people and the world needs for our own health.
    Blessings and would love to follow up on you guys and Naranjan.

    TejPal Kaur :)

  8. Gurdev Kaur says:

    Well Done Gurmustuk Singh Ji ! If Narayan Singh turns out any bit like you after having studied at Miri Piri, then the world will truly benefit! Keep us all posted and Good Luck in the journey ahead.

  9. Siri Amrit says:

    Gurumustuk,
    Thank you for sharing all this!
    Narayan is like a little brother or nephew to me, and I love him more than I can express. Even for me, from this far away in time and space, I’ve been feeling sad. With our own child on the horizon I can only imagine what it must be like to go through this process. You both are amazing people and parents and I love having you in my life. Through your lives, you and Arjan humbly teach and inspire those around you. Bravo for being so brave about this, so real and open. My love and support goes to you all,

    Ama
    AKA Siri Amrit Singh

  10. Satnam Singh says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
    I like your group and jatha
    I like your youtube videos and thank you so much.

    I wish I was in this sikh group

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

  11. Satnam Singh says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
    I like your group and jatha
    I like your youtube videos and thank you so much.
    I wish I was in this sikh group
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

  12. Kanwar Singh says:

    My best wishes to Narayan on this grand adventure. My wife and I have started to talk about Miri Piri academy for our girls as well….although it’s still several years away. I completed my bachelors in education a few years ago and I have to say that public education in North America is sorely lacking in many areas of development and I think it is only getting worse as government budgets shrink. I just hope that we have the courage to go through with it when the time comes because it will be heart breaking.

  13. Khalsa Lakhvir Singh says:

    a heart-warming account of emotions … all the best to you and to narayan :)

  14. Gurjeet Singh ( Happy ) says:

    SSAJI Veerji,

    Just wanted to let you know i was at MPA dropping my kids Simran Kaur and Japji Singh, and had a chance to meet Narayan Singh Personally, did talk to him for 5 mins, mentioned that i knew you through your blog. You really need not worry at all, he seems in very high spirits, really no sign of the ” homesick ” blues in him, he was real excited and i did ask hime if he missed home, he answered me that he has not really had the time to miss home yet but would probably miss once in bed at night. My son Japjis bed is just next to Narayan Singh, i introduced them to each other and asked them to be friends. I am still in India for another 3 days , and i keep getting their calls like 30 times a day, they still are very homesick specially at night time, but i am sure in a few weeks they will all be ok. They will be going to Anandpur Sahib on the coming Friday, as of today all the elder students have left for Hemkunt Sahib, so its just them Juniors at school, so i guess its going to be a little boring for them until their trips start.

    Take Care,

    Sat Sri Akalji

    HAPPY

    • Gurjeet Singh, thanks for the update on Narayan. That’s great that Narayan is doing well. It’s great to hear how your kids are doing and know that things are well. It’s definitely a change not having your kids with you all the time. Life at home is definitely simpler with one kid! 1+1 = 11. So now I’m back to 1 (rather than 11). Narayan is often “bored” when he is just at home and much prefers always being with friends. So MPA will be great for him, no more parents getting in the way of being with friends.

      Your kids Simran and Japji will do great once they have a chance to make friends, be away from you, and settle into the changes of MPA. It’s always a transition. It’s the same thing even here when you send your kids to day school for the first time. It takes at least a few weeks, sometimes with crying every time. This is normal.

      Glad you took the leap to send your kids to MPA. They will do great. Watch how they will change from just one year in school!

  15. INDERPREET KAUR says:

    SAT SRI AKAL G,
    im inderpreet kaur from amritsar.punjab………..im veryyyy happy nd feel good for its site .its unique and a magical site in its own way…ur really true its a good job to join all sikh communities in one thread………keep it up……..
    WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA
    WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH.

  16. Dilpreet says:

    Gurumustak, narayan will do great. it is amazing how much strength the kids have and this will only make him stronger… and you will do absolutely fine too…and the meeting (vacation) time after this absence is a joy.