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Simran with the Seagulls

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Tejwant Singh, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jun 30, 2004
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    When I saw the picture of a Burqini in an article in Time magazine recently, a number of thoughts swam through the mental ocean.
    Laura Fitzpatrick writes:

    "Since the full-coverage swimsuit dubbed the Burqini (as in burqa plus bikini) hit the international market in January, devout Muslim women have been snapping them up. The polyester suits were designed to accord with Islamic laws that require women to dress modestly and to eliminate the risk of drowning when the yards of fabric used in traditional burqas get soaked. Now, however, non-Muslim beachgoers are getting into the full-covered swim. Whether women are worried about health, weight or the tolls of age, the Burqini offers a comfortable alternative to a skimpy two-piece or clingy maillot".

    With the freestyle stroke, Burkini became SwimBana - the perfect swimwear for Sikh women of all ages. One more stumbling block turned into a stepping stone.

    We have borrowed a lot from the Muslim culture. The best examples are the dome architecture of our gurdwaras, salvaar kameez, and many other things which are used interchangeably in both cultures. Hence, no cultural clashes here. Just the sangam - the perfect blend of the two - once again.
    The sight of my daughter, Jaskeerat, who is a senior in high school, with her first SwimBana on, swimming in the ocean with dad, floating on the salt water, looking at the blue sky, watching the soaring seagulls doing simran in unison in their own language, gave the aura of the perfect Sadh Sangat between Jaskeerat, myself and the birds of a feather.

    The relationship between the daughter and the father is unique. I was there when she was in a hurry to come out of her mom's womb into this new world. It took her ten hours to complete this journey. A few moments before, she was floating in the ocean rapids of the womb. Now, she was on the solid ground of her mom's arms and feeling the warmth of her bosom for the first time.
    She experienced this metamorphosis like any other newborn. We adults are alien to that. We slap the baby's bottom and hear her scream while she is gulping in her first breath of oxygen. Her cry becomes our joy. The umbilical cord is cut off.

    Nature - the forces and processes that collectively control the phenomena of the physical world independently of human volition or intervention, sometimes personified as a woman called "Mother Nature" - and Nurture ballet together, when mom puts the little girl on her chest and offers her the first succulent little gulp of breast milk.

    Thus restarts the everlasting bond between the two, which had taken root at conception.

    The first cry also morphs into an invisible umbilical cord attached between daughter and dad, through which both get nurtured for the rest of their lives. It is interesting to notice how we adults and the newborn acknowledge this from the two opposite ends of the same spectrum.
    "Hello World!" cries the newborn and then hides herself for some more nurturing.

    Happiness is difficult to express.

    It is like gungei ki mithiai - the expression of joy on a mute person's face when she is savoring her favorite candy.
    What a perfect metaphor!

    Gungei ki mithiai: the look on Stephen Hawking's face when he got rid of his wheelchair for the first time after four decades, for a few moments, to experience the freedom of zero gravity. A picture is worth a thousand words. Hawking called the experience "amazing", exclaiming: "I could have gone on and on - space, here I come".

    It is the same joy that I, as a dad, experienced at the moment of Jaskeerat's birth. It felt as if she had nurtured me with love through our invisible cord during the very first moments of her existence. Love to last me a lifetime. The aftertaste is even better. It has eternity stamped on it.
    SwimBana is a dream come true for many Sikh women. They can feel free from the moral judges that also act like "fashion police", who are trying to shackle Sikhi with Abrahamic and Vedantic chains, while sitting cross-legged on their high chairs.

    Jaskeerat loves to swim. She swims as often as possible in the summer in our little family pool. She feels comfy wearing a swimsuit and shorts. The problem is that no swimming cap is big enough for her hair, which is frustrating when she wants to swim laps. SwimBana would be the perfect fit for her hair. She would be able to swim more often.
    Now, any Sikh dad can imagine his daughter's dream of being a lifeguard at some crowded beach coming true. After all, seva to help others in trouble in the ocean is also the Sikhi way.

    Come on, Sikh dads, gather your daughters, let's go and do simran with the seagulls.
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