My name is Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa and this website is a personal (yet very public) online journal to share my family, experiences, thoughts, local sangat, and how we live as Sikhs. One of my goals with this website is to build bridges of understanding between the different Sikh communities (particularly Sikhs like myself who are not from a Punjabi Origin). There is so much mis-understanding in this world and my hope is that as you read articles, watch videos, Listen to audios, and look at pictures that you get to know us better. Hopefully you learn something new and share it with others.
This blog started in March of 2005 with casual pictures of my family and has really grown into something much more useful and interesting. When I was starting out It took a lot of time just to post the family pictures (The blogging is what I do in my “free time”), so I said to myself “If I am going to keep doing this, it has to have a bigger purpose.” It’s not enough for me to just entertain people with pictures and happenings. I guess this is how my family raised me, and the way I am. For me everything has to be productive and have some value. When I was growing up my father worked a lot, and most of what we did together had some level of educational value. We didn’t watch sports and I rarely played video games (Though back in my younger years (80s) games were pretty basic. Anyone remember castle?). So, that rubbed off on me. While I was getting into computers and setting up SikhNet, many of my friends were playing video games late into the night or just passing time with this or that. I guess I felt like watching too much TV or games just wasted the time away and didn’t give me a sense of accomplishment. Everything I do is measured in what I have accomplished.
For the past few years I was feeling boxed in. In the early SikhNet years it was just me developing the website. I used to come up with ideas and “Just do it” (create the service). Over time as there were more services on the website, the number of visitors increased, and the staff of SikhNet increased, it took much more time to maintain. (SikhNet is now run by 5 different people in various capacities. A few of us have roles in our jobs that fall outside SikhNet so in reality we have about 3-1/2 full time staff hours).
I found myself trying to “keep my head above water”, and struggling to keep up with the day to day operations of SikhNet. I had to do more management stuff, budgets, financials, manage employees, figure out funding to keep up with the growing expenses, and stuff like that. This
was a shift for me. I love the creative and teaching aspect of SikhNet and found myself not having much time to do these “fun projects” anymore. I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing the things that I wanted to do. I enjoy creating NOT maintaining. My main motive for SikhNet was to provide a way for Sikhs to connect all over the world and to support the Sikh youth.
I remember the end of 2004/beginning of 2005 feeling empty, uninspired, and not excited about my work and life. I know I needed some change or shift in my life, but wasn’t sure what. Guruka Singh had just come to work with SikhNet as Executive Director (as well as working with other areas of some of our organizations) which was such a blessing! Siri Singh Sahib had passed away earlier in the year and we were all going through personal changes. There was a large group of people that went to India in January to bring the ashes (from his cremation) to spread in the river at Kiratpur Sahib (Just outside Anandpur Sahib). I went on this “yatra” to participate, document and photograph the event. This trip to India gave me the opportunity to get out of my normal day to day routine and have a chance to think about my life. It really did help to break my normal pattern of day to day life. For me this was much needed. When I got back I had a renewed sense of mission and inspiration. I felt it was time for me to “Just do it” again, and take more of a leadership role.
Over the past years I have been so busy just keeping up with SikhNet stuff and haven’t kept up with the latest technology and internet trends. My friend Ashvinder Singh who is much younger than myself had the time and kept up with latest tech trends. I visited him while he was still living in Toronto, Canada and He showed me his blog and how easy it was to add pictures. He was trying to convince me to blog but I didn’t quite get what a blog was and it’s uses. I didn’t have much free time, and didn’t understand what benefit would come out of blogging. I am a photographer and take lots of pictures, so when I saw how easy it was to post them to a blog decided to give it a try.
This blog has evolved since then to what it is today. Once I got started, things just kept on moving. I’m up to my neck in blogging that’s for sure (I starting podcasting too, yet another new thing to explore). About four years ago SikhNet bought a video camera because I had plans to do little educational Sikh videos for the youth. I never found the time to do this at SikhNet, and it wasn’t until this year that I just jumped in and decided to do it in my free time. Blogging is pretty time consuming. I work all day at the SikhNet office and then end up again on the computer at home. If this were not being done for a good cause I don’t think Arjan (my wife) would let me spend so much time on the computer. I tend to live a lot on the computer, so I am always struggling with keeping balance in my life and taking care of myself and my family. I feel like there are never enough hours in the day to do the things that I want to do.
A big part of what motivates me to spend the time doing this, are all the emails and comments from people. I am always blown away with how this blog and SikhNet has impacted so many people. It has been such a wonderful learning experience for myself and many others. It has put me more in a role of teaching and sharing rather than just providing a Web service. I have always felt that my destiny was to teach and share with others (“Guru Mustuk”). Service like this is what gives my life purpose and satisfaction. I try to stay humble and just leave it up to the Guru to guide me since I know it is not really me that is doing this. I definitely feel my life being guided by some higher force and know that ultimately everything is always taken care of and goes the way it is supposed to.
I am really happy to see our little Sikh Blogiverse grow and to see so many other Sikhs use this medium to share with others in a very personal way. I wish to thank all of you who have participated in this evolution and supported me in a big way. My prayer is that Guruji continues to guide me in my life so that myself and others can continue to share with you all in this way. Thank you again, and I look forward to more blogging adventures in the years ahead. – May 13 2006