My Nine Day Treasure
- Sardarni Avleen Kaur
All seats taken. Bus full of enthusiastic kids and youth. And then by God’s grace they took us in. We were adjusted by these two Jalandhar boys who stood through the entire 7 hour journey so that we could sit.
And that bus took us to heaven.
Reaching the academy in Dehradun, where we knew no one around and also being a little ill, made me minutely apprehensive about what would follow and I wanted to rush back home, THANK GOD WE DIDN’T!
The Disciplined Fun Routine
Soon the whole routine began. Getting up at 4:30 in the
morning and lining up for taking a bath, something which
seemed impossible, started being fun and the queues a
startup to new early morning friendships. The fall-in’s and
call-in’s, crossing the highway showcasing our culture to
the pedestrians, the march past practice, helping the
senior Bhenjis with combing the little boys’ hair and then
attending The Diwan.
I am still in awe of the IIGS jatha's soulful kirtans and thrilling 'Bole So Nihaal' which uplifted the spirits of the 500+ students. The amazing connect all the senior Veerjis and Bhenjis have with the kids, the fine Gatka classes, Sikh History classes abound with stories of martyrs and saints, the question-answer DOST sessions, I loved it all!
However the best part about the journey was getting to understand the true meanings behind Japji Sahib, how they are supposed to be done being Svach, Savdhaan and Shudh with Sneh and Shraddha and how much power the bani instills in us.
The Never Felt Before Positivity
I felt sort of disappointed to notice that I had spent 18 years of my life not thinking about Waheguru, knowing that his awareness is the sole motive of living! Also, I got to learn so much about Sikh History and Culture, knowledge that I couldn’t have gained anywhere else! The connect with the almighty, the closeness that you feel is something beyond words. We started walking on the path of knowing who we are and what we should be. Reciting Path from the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is something we should blindly believe in but not blindly follow. The main purpose of doing path is getting close to God and imbibing his values among us. And trust me, when you take Waheguru’s name with that impeccable faith, all kinds of fear vanish.
Along with these great seniors, I also found some lifelong friends like Daljeet, who was there to promote her album ’35 Akhri’, an initiative to regain our Punjabi roots. The JCTs' (Junior Counsellor Trainees) and Counsellors' continuous whistles and announcements, however irritating at that time are also deeply missed.
Kesh Darshan and Other Events
Kesh Darshan is one important event everyone looked forward too. All boys and girls had to open their hair and admire God’s creativity expressed in curls, straight hair, different colors, volume and length. The same day, everyone had to tie a keski on their heads, I tied a Dumala instead and the experience was utterly memorable!
There was a Talent Night organized where people exhibited incredible dances, songs and other skills. A ramp walk also took place where our handsome veerjis donning the true sikh avatar complete with kalgis and kirpans stole the show with pride. Not to forget the mesmerizing parade where everyone dressed in white marched around the ground roaring jaikaras.
The Water Park Day completely escapes my memory! An amazing day filled with lots of fun and laughs.
We were also shown some remarkable movies like Empty Inside and The Dark Tunnel, both of them focusing on drug addiction and prepared by budding artists.
What we’re taking back
The midnight fun in the hostel, performing all the sevas, attending lectures, having amazing food and making new friends, all of this made way for some beautiful memories.
But the whole experience was so moving, enlightening and fulfilling that I didn’t miss home even once! Even my parents were so delighted noticing the small changes in me and had a great time listening to our stories (which didn’t end till a week)
Im going to the 81st Sikh International Camp next year. Are you?