Eating Worms…?!

When I was in 1st grade/class in a public school in America I had different experiences being a Sikh and different. Kids used to say I was a girl and tease me because of my turban. That wasn’t too bad, but what was worse for me was how they made fun of my sandwiches (No, really!)

I was raised to eat very healthy food. We used to eat a lot of alfalfa sprouts (from the seeds) in our salads and in sandwiches to give extra nutrition. This was not the norm for most people in America who are used to having fast food and other processed foods. When I would eat the sandwiches at school the kids would see the sprouts and tease me that I was eating worms. This really bothered me. I told my mother about it and she had an idea.

Every friday we had “Show and Tell”, which was a time that you could show or tell the class about something interesting. That friday I had my show and tell idea. I was equipped with a jar, some seeds, a cloth and a rubber band. I then stood up in front of the class and told them that I was going to show them how to make sprouts from seeds. After showing them how it was done we kept the jar in the window so it would get sun. We watched it every day over the next couple days, and soon the sprouts filled the whole jar. All the kids thought it was pretty cool after I did that demonstration. I never did have a problem with eating “worms” after that week.

The point of the story is that even as adults we judge and criticize people. Much of this comes from a lack of understanding and not accepting people with differences. So, with a little effort we can avoid this by educating ourselves and others around us. Allowing for other ways of doing things (even if is different than your way). We are all Sikhers on this path of life, and are on many different roads. Your road is not better or worse than someone else’s.

9 Responses to “Eating Worms…?!”

  1. SikhsRus says:


    Some of us Punjabis have been living with a lot of garbage (negtaivity) around for a long time and have forgotten what the real flowers smell like, but it does not diminish the beauty and fragrance of the flowers, even after they die. And stronger and taller they get, eventually they will overtake the garbage smell. Please forgive those people with negative comments on your blog. They don’t know ant better. Chardi Kala!

  2. Gurinder says:

    School experience:

    I came to Canada when I was two years old and went back (6yrs old) to India in a boarding school for few years and came back to finish my school. When I came back my father took me to the mall and bought weights for me and I could not understand why I need to lift weights? I don’t want to be a muscle man! At that time I could not understand why? Then after week or so my father wanted me to attend martial art class three times a week (Gung fu). But I could not understand why? Our school started in Sept it was fine for few days but suddenly something wrong began to happen.

    I was in Junior high at Vancouver BC in my school there were about 20-25 Indian students. About 97% of the students were white. At that time there was only one Sikh student with a turban (not me).

    Everyday it was a torture to go to school because we were called bad names in the hallways and no one would like to sit next to us. Every time bell ranged it meant that next class will begin in a different classroom so we had to go our lockers and grab our textbooks and walk to a different part of the school for that particular class. Sometimes these classrooms were at the other end of the school building.

    Everyday we had to face brutality from our colleagues. They would call us bad names, someone would push me from the back hard against the wall, and someone would kick from the back while I’m walking in the hallway! Not even single day go by peaceful.

    A Sikh student who had turban, students would knock his turban off from his head and when he would reach down other students would kick him from the behind.

    Yes, teachers knew about it. They would not take any action but they would mention, “knock it off� and that’s it.

    Well, weeks passed by enduring the pain and humiliation caused by students. At that time I was 5 feet and 2 inches tall. However, the pushing and shoving progressed to more serious.

    One day, someone kicked my really hard from the behind while I was walking in the hallway. With pain, I turned around and yelled, “Stop it�. His response was “Do you want to fight!� and at that moment in anger I said, Yes I will fight you! He said, be ready tomorrow at lunchtime. This person was about 5 feet 10-11inches tall.

    Well, I went home and all this time I was thinking that this person is going to beat the heck out of me, because this person was well known hunk in the school. Then suddenly I remembered that Sikh warriors were only few in numbers who fought Moguls with large numbers. Then I prayed before Ninth Guru ji and Tenth Guruji to give me power to stop this person from hurting us.

    Next, day during the lunchtime somehow approx the entire school knew that there is going to be a fight during lunchtime. That person walks up to me and tells me that the fight will take place off the school property at nearby underground parking lot. I agreed and began to walk toward that parking lot.

    To my amazement almost entire school was gathered there with their brown lunch bags in their hands and they were laughing out loud and making comments that today one of the Hindu is going to die! While I was walking towards the underground park I was in meditative mode and praying before our Guruji to give me power!

    Well, I was at that place where we were going to have a fight! My very first fight in Life! There were at least 200-300 students at that place and ALL of them were chanting “KILL THIS HINDU� “ KILL THIS HINDU�

    Except one person his name was Bruce (white dude) who was my friend because we were learning martial arts at that time. I could here him saying, “ Gurinder stay focus�, “ Stay clam� amidst loud chanting, “kill this hindu�.

    Well, fight started! He was very tall for me to reach at his face! However, I focused on his abdominal and chest area! Kicks and punches were flying! By the Grace of Guruji I was Able to Block Every KICK and PUNCH of that person!!!!!!! He people were surprised to see that I was able to hurt this person despite of being small.

    From that day, other students wanted to learn to how to kick and these were the same students who used to kick us in the hallways and called bad names, and wanted to come friends. After this day students stopped calling us bad names and I had new courage to face the majority with the grace of the Guruji!!!

    In their Minds, now I was not a HINDU anymore but the coolest person in school.

  3. gurusharan says:

    You were not alone Gurumustak Singhji, most of us who migrated as youngsters shared similar experiences, and have survived the better for it.

  4. isingh says:

    thanks gurumustak! i’ve enjoyed reading the past couple of your posts.

    kids are mean. i found that kids were much meaner in punjab/india than they were here. much much meaner! i remember vividly our(myself(8) and my younger brother(5)) first days of a new school. we were scared enough that we’d be going so far away from home(an hour) for the first time and then we had to worry about the initiation process in the school van…i can’t even remember for how long…it felt like years. (but it was probly days) :) and we were all sikhs! we all looked alike. i remember my brother coming up to me during lunch with tears in his eyes worried about what the other kids were going to do to us. i told him not to worry and somehow i saved the day :))) and from that day on we were one of them. also, in school we were called “Dumb” and all those dumb jokes by hindu students because we were sikhs and jats(although jats and sikhs were synonmous where i lived). now who would put that idea in their heads (that sikhs are stupid)?

    but when the older kids graduated from the van and i was the chief i knew how the new kids felt and we never hurt new kids’ feelings again. so the moral of the story is…that it’s more important for the parents to teach the kids to not join the mob and instead help the helpless…this idea empowers the kids. it’s a much more uplifting experience for the kids

    and in america i never went to a school that was more than 60% white. and i think that helps. i found blacks and hispanics to be much more understanding and friendly than white kids. (just my experience).

    and all the bullies(kids) that i’ve encountered seem to be really soft in the inside. i’m pretty sure there are really mean kids but i’ve only seen them in the movies.

    gurumustak, that was a funny line about sandwiches. we can laugh about it now. since this is the age of “health food”…everyone wants sprouts(including me) in their sandwiches. i think “I TOLD YOU SO!!!” is in order to all the people who made fun of the “hippie” culture.

    i just saw this article on Yoga on I think it’s the nation’s third largest newspaper (behind NYTimes and LaTimes)…

    it’s called “A Good Age For Yoga”

    Sat Nam!

  5. Prabhu Singh says:

    Gurinder’s school experience reminds me of my own. Though it started when I was 7 and my brother and I were the only two people of a different race and we did have our turbans as well.
    Like Gurmustuk we were made fun of for everything. Everything I wore, everything I ate, everything I said, everything I did was wrong. Every kid in the school made fun of me and my brother. At the very least we were picked on once an hour for every school day for all my schooling years. The worst thing is when parents not only encourage their children but participate with their children in demeaning you. I knew as a child not to try and fight adults.
    My greatest challenge in life really has been to overcome the years of abuse from my school days. I got into some fights, but not a lot since people would have to face me and my brother. We were never big, but even in groups people didn’t want to face the two of us together. I remember one time when I was about 8, some kid from another school who was about 11 and a lot bigger than me started beating me from behind, but when I got up I nailed him and then ran away.
    A lot of my memories are just gone. I don’t know if they’re repressed or I just gave them up since they didn’t serve me. My brother will remind me of things sometimes that I would never have thought of again. Though he has probably forgotten a lot to.
    I was really angry as a teenager. I would wake up in the morning and be pissed off at the world. I couldn’t understand why I wanted to be nice to people and others simply wanted to hurt me.
    When I got into college I started meeting people that weren’t abusive. Also the Sikh community really started to grow. I started to know people other than my family that cared about me.
    Though I didn’t work through any of the anger until I started meditating every day. I haven’t stopped my meditations since I started and I’ve only done more. When I received Amrit I started reciting my banis everyday. By Guru’s grace I don’t feel angry.
    Compassion is so important! How can any of us think it is alright to judge others and tell them that they are wrong? Human nature may dictate that we make judgements, but we as Sikhs should be responsible and respectful enough not to pass those judgements on to others. Until each of us is Brahm Gyani, the knower of God, we should all keep it to ourselves.

  6. SikhsRus says:


    This idea is not related to the subject of your post and I hope you don’t mind me asking. What do you think of Sikhnet or your blog having a little job search section for our sikh community, where Sikh owned businesses can post job opportunities and solicit resume for a small fee. It would definitely help community grow and bring them closer and help you generate income. I apologize for posting it here.

  7. Thank you all for sharing the stories and experiences! Hopefully this will help others who read them.

    SikhRus: We did have a job section on SikhNet for many years but recently took it down because we couldn’t maintain it properly.

  8. isingh says:

    Come to think of it I may’ve been too old(12) for your kinds of teasings and harrasments. i remember on a school bus (about 5 of us) a hispanic girl offering me a kiss if i took off my Dastaar…:))

    also, i think the environment matters too. i remember my brother who was 9, FOB, hanging out with the kids in the projects and just having a blast no one ever picked on him…(we were living in the projects too). someone hit me on my head once but i turned around and said “stop! i tell principal” and that was the end of that. :)

    and i hope no one thinks i’m being a racist by saying that it’s better to attend a very diverse school than to attend an all white school (when you have a dastaar). i think it’s common sense not racism.

    sorry if i said anything wrong…blame the NyQuil! :)

  9. freesikh says:

    deeply humbling exp…yeah i guess it is so true…but i would like to say something is better to fight an enemy which is not hidden or doesnt know you well then to fight somebody who is familiar to you and knows your style .this is both in literal and metaphorical sense…

    Being away from your “land”,”people” can be discomforting and so frustrating but so is the hurt caused by your own folks ,your own people … sikh is made for struggle ..i guess we have never felt like master ..from the historical prespective always the underdog(punjabi sikhs)…and when we have the power we inflict countless atrocities on our own people.Like KPS gill(80s 90s),and many others…

    Point is make world aware of our existence ..Follow the teachings..Infighting must stop.. not be confused as hindus(@gurinder)…we have an identity..losing it means losing your existence..