Wild Flowers – I

It was close to ten in the night. A light mist settled on everything around. There was a slight nip in the August air. Rishikesh seemed to be light years away from the hubbub we were all coming from. Even then, there was a buzz of activity here, too. But of a different sort. We were standing in the premises of the Rishikesh Gurudwara. We removed our footwear and covered our heads. We walked into the ‘langar’ area. This was the famous community kitchen that Sikh religion is often identified with. We washed our hands and feet and walked into the hall. As soon as we took our seats, there were plates and glasses and rotis and lentil and sweets materializing out of practically nowhere, in no time. There were people whom I had never met before, serving me as though I was a long-lost kin. Delicious second helpings later, we were guided to the quarters. There were rooms where weary travelers could stay for the night. Free of charge. They gave us blankets and basic beddings. They showed us to our rooms. They made sure we were comfortable while we were in the Gurudwara. I witnessed, for the first time, in close counters, the sense of selfless giving. This was the best form of faith being preached. Selfless giving. Expecting absolutely nothing in return.

~~~ * ~~~
Every trip gives rise to a set of jokes that seem funniest during the trip, and later, when everything is over, those very jokes are repeated to evoke a wistful smile from the then-travelers. Every trip has its own set of earworms. Those God-awful songs that forever stay with you! And whenever you hear a strain of the song later on, everything about the trip comes rushing back to you in the delay of a second.


Filed under Musings

3 responses to “Wild Flowers – I

  1. I saw an interesting Michael Palin documentary where he visits a Sikh temple in Amritsar…there he visits a famous Sikh kitchen that offers Chappati and Dal (and the food isnt crappy looking either…it looked first-rate) for anyone and everyone who visits…to this day, i wonder how they manage to feed so many people…Good to know that you are having a nice time. Kesi

  2. Kesi,It’s called a ‘langar’. I have seen this happening often out here. In fact, some churches have adopted this practice out here, in Delhi. They feed numerous people on special days. I have wondered just how such establishments work. But when I saw people simply removing their gold bangles and dropping into the offering box, I guess I got my answer…The Sikh community is known for their selfless serving of the community. You should come to these parts of India to see it. I guess we all need to look at this community a little deeper, rather than just those Santa-Banta jokes, eh?:o)

  3. had spent one night at the gurudwara at gangria (that one just before hemkunt). wore a towel over my head and had food with all of them. they call you ‘maharaja’ and serve you. the food is vegetarian but tastes like non-vegetarian. they gave 3 woollen blankets (wasn’t enuff!) to sleep.one can see such gurudwaras at different places. almost all serve others freely i think. sleeping on the floor with more than 100 (in that floor) sardarjis and sardarnis (ya mixed, the gurudwara is a sacred place) was indeed an experience!

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