Saturday, 23 August 2008

Little Miracles...

I’ve not been well last couple of weeks, doctor’s order - to rest as I had torn stomach muscles due to the roads. I knew something moved when I was jolted 10 inches in the air on the 3 wheeler oh well! I‘ve had enough of being battered and bruised by such drivers that I have now bravely taken the on the roads of India… its been such an adventure and now hoping and with Gods blessing to have my own car where we can take the kids around more freely and more frequently and a heartfelt thanks to friends and family who have supported me - will love you always. I’ve also been at home and hoping to go back to pingalwara in the next few days (can’t flippin wait - miss the kids so much). Mum’s been here too so that’s made life a little easer but life back home seems very surreal compared to the world here. When you have no choice but to rest, reflect and analyse you begin to question what type of life you have been living. What is reality and it feels as though you’re torn between two worlds physical and spiritual so in limbo til gods decides further. Mum visited pingalwara and was not happy with my ling conditions and the motherly instinct came out with vengeance and orders to come back home INSTANTLY not to mention the fuel filled questions about why was here… whats compelling me to stay here? You have such a comfortable life back home why?

How could I possibly begin to tell her about the love and passion I feel from the children, and the only way was to show her as no words could describe the intensity of what I believe here… and it worked, Sona and Mona asked for some sunglasses as they wanted a pair like mine, so I told mum to give them and then she realised why I’m here, she had tears in her eyes and said only now...only now I understand why… we should appreciate what we have…Wow... I couldn’t believe it was the same woman demanding me to come back home and that’s the power of unconditional LOVE.

It was also nice for mum to celebrate Rakhri here in India after 30 years, makes you realise how much your parents really did give up!

It was the my first time where I was not there in England, that was tough but then my brother said “its not about a thread around the wrist its about the deep bond we share in our hearts which is eternal and for life” gosh man… what could you say to that? My brothers are god sent but they are the ones who can kill you with words and melt you at the same time!

My Amazing family (my brothers and nephews)

One such story which will be told separately about a brother who sold his sister ...

We also visited Pingalwara on the day of Rakhri and everything has already been ordained which we know but this was another day about the heartfelt wish of children.

Gagan had spent most of the week making for me a rakhri which was so heartwarming i‘d never had something like that made for me and this was my first rakhri.

The girls in the hostel had made Rakhris for brothers they did NOT have and in hope had been awaiting anxiously all day for someone to come. I had come with my cousin and they requested whether they could they could tie it on him he was such a darling he had no qualms about it and even said God willing I will come again next year.

Its little miracles like these that make you speechless!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The reasons for this BLOG...

There are many questions that have been asked both by the media and people in India to why I am here. I would like to make very clear that my purpose for this sewa is not for praise nor is it about the ego, there are many other people in this world who are far greater, humble and deserving of credit. So I take none for what has been written in my fate and what I to come, I have been blessed with my fathers wisdom so conversing with people of age is due to my father otherwise having such knowledge at my age is unheard of unless one has been blessed by kindled spirits.

The reasons for this blog is simple, if one person just one person can have inspiration and then follow their dreams then this blog has achieved its purpose. My life is about giving light and spreading the action of love… not by mere words but by living by the principles I have been brought up with. If I wanted fame and money my family would have married me into the rich families who promised would never have to work for the rest of my life or maybe even taken up opportunities that came knocking on my door again materialistically based… but this was not my path!

The children here are thirsty for love and if I can try and quench it for a little while then why not… why not bring smiles to their face and twinkle in their eyes…

Cute Little Chetan

There is no need for me to say anymore I think the photos below speak a thousand words and show the reasons why I am here…

Sona and Mona Conjoined Twins

Beautiful Tanu and Simran

What a week...

What a busy week it has been and I spent my first weekend here at the complex. I know I keep complaining about the weather but its challenging and difficult, I was speaking to my elder brother and mentioned how helpless I feel when I’m surrounded by anguish, pain and heartache, to know you’re a little fish in a huge ocean I wish I could do so much more. I now question myself “how much difference can I possible make?” my brother advised the need and importance to remind myself these too are Gods children and they will be provided for, it is HIS will it always has been and remain to be.

I have much reverence and respect for kindled spirits like Bhagat ji, Mother Theresa and the mothers with maternal instincts who serve selflessly without condition they permeate love from every cell in the body and not to mention touch and change lives on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, God did bless us with cooler weather so getting things done was a lot easier and much more enjoyable. Shopping as always is great fun and the girls had a great time choosing although at times they got rather overly excited but that was to be expected. What I did find is that the girls became quite selfish by not sharing with those who have a disability or cannot talk and hear. I noticed there are groups of friends which also exclude, which is such a shame as they should be one big family but I guess this, is part of growing up. But do the other girls with a disability not want to look pretty? Do they not wish to spend time and get dolled up? Well this is exactly what I did with Daljit, gave her a mini make over and the her expression of love was just as wow… she was on cloud number nine as everyone told her beautiful she looked - new suit, earrings, hair and make up done!!!

She then woke me up the following day signing hair and make up - it was amazing to see and to be part of! How one little gesture can make such a difference to a personality and I’m hoping to frame some of the photos and gift them so they remain a wonderful memory for us both.

I actually met with the lady who brought her to Pingalwara and what a story,

Daljit lived in a family of nomads and her home along with the rest of the nomads was set on fire, she escaped but her parents, brothers and sisters were burnt whilst asleep, she was wondering nearby with only 16 rupees and the rest is history. She always has a welcoming smile on her face, talks 100 miles per hour when you can understand and has many stories to tell all by shouting and signing. She has given me so much joy in such a short space of time and her love, hugs and kisses are truly heartfelt.

As expected the more time I spend here and new people I meet I am getting a true glimpse of what Pingalwara is on many levels, the heart wrenching stories and the pain surrounding all corners. The stories pierce through your heart like a hot knife to butter, some women victims of rape who have given birth which has resulted in mental instability, another was sold by her brother resulted in a 12 year punishment regime to pay the money back, how families have not supported those who have lost their parents and left them at Pingalwara and I’m sure there are many more to come to surface. One such case is of Pushpa a 21 year old breadwinner who has experienced pain that we were up till 3.30am one night (the full story told separately). I was at darbar sahib and I saw a frail old lady lying on the floor, where was her family, children and husband? Where are the loved ones at her time in need? I guess I could not imagine how people could abandoned their family members or leave them at Pingalwara – but seeing this lady definitely gave it a sense of reality that these things truly do happen and are taking place on a regular basis.

The longer I am here the less I miss my family I know this sounds strange, I love them all dearly but I am beginning to realise the purpose of life. No longer is making money a priority and no longer getting married and having children is the be all and end all, god has a plan for everyone who knows that plan – the key is to surrender to his will and allow life to take its course the way its meant to.

A couple of newspapers wanted to write an article about why I am here I wish to clarify the reasons for this sewa and for the blog separately. I would also like to thank my friend Sandeep from the U.S for sending a donation for the kids along with DVDs and other bits and bobs to keep us all occupied his friend and family were completely dumbfounded by the hot the weather especially the little ones who were very hot and bothered bless their hearts.

Bhagat Ji’s 16th Death Anniversary...

It was my pleasure to be part of the grand celebrations, Bhagat Ji’s life reminds me a little of our founder of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Sant Baba Puran Singh Ji.

How blessed are we to have and serve such great saints who truly live the way our Gurus have taught. Who serve endlessly and selflessly with great compassion and humility, I have seen many people serve but who serves god with his high consciousness connected? With Baba Ji’s teachings and my fathers principles we have been taught from a very young how first and foremost to become good human beings, spiritually inclined and then embrace religion to enhance that spirituality this is a universal message for all, no matter what religion.

Bhagats ji’s life was not about recognition from man but love for the sick and lifeless, he did not differentiate in gods creation human or animal and when deserted he immediately prepared a grave and initiated a deserving respect of death. His love for his first child Piara Singh became the epitome of what Pingalwara should stand for and its purpose. Bhagat Ji chose to be surrounded by the lowest of low, sickest of sick and poorest of poor. I remember a shabad by Guru Nanak Dev Ji (I don’t have Punjabi font but certainly give the English translation)

“Nanak seeks the company of the lowest of low class, the very lowest of low. Why should he try to compete with the great? In that place where the lowly are cared for – there, the Blessings of Your Glance of Grace rain down.”

To witness such celebrations maybe I underestimated the impact Bhagat ji had on so many lives and many more to come into Pingalwara, I have yet to write about first hand experiences that Bhagat ji gave to many children and look forward to hearing how their lives were touched and changed forever.

There was also a seminar at Guru Nanak Dev Ji University about the environmental challenges and social responsibility in Punjab. This was an immensely informative seminar even on the basis that I knew nothing about the subject, how farmers in Punjab use chemicals and pesticides which result in ill health, pollution and may other fatalities both to the population and environment. We visited the farm which is the example of natural farming and it was great to see something being practiced rather than preached. The work Biji is carrying out is a true testimony of Bhagats Ji’s vision and aspirations of what life should be lived by the average person living in Punjab.

All I can say at this point is: The more I learn the less I know!

A hospital is currently being built in the grounds of Pingalwara but this does not deter the patient numbers and wounded coming in so blood is needed on a regular basis. It was my good fortune to see such a brilliant turn out of healthy people wanting to give something to the needy and less fortunate at the blood drive. It was great to see the younger generation so willing to give without question of why and how? Some younger girls however were underweight a so disappointed and dishearten when rejected to giving blood. Making them understand their intent and being there they have served their purpose and the have reaped the fruits from God was important.

My message:

True knowledge is the service of eternal values, the service of god, the service of humanity, the service of the poor and lowly. Dr Radhakrishan philosopher and former president of India.

Along with prayers in his memory there was also a cultural evening which the children have been practicing for weeks and weeks, the time and dedication by staff and children was great to see but my heart poured our to those who children who could not be part of the celebrations for whatever reason. One particular girl pulled the strings of my heart the moment I saw her on my first day, she since recognises my voice and touch - her name Jeevanjot (life of light) she is totally blind, so I took her to try and attempt to be her eyes. Again why could she not enjoy the music and laughter? All her other senses are available for her to have a full life but not the time and understanding of others.

The 21 year old breadwinner...

Pushpa’s father passed away when she was only 15 years old, her mother could not endure the heartache and stopped living a normal life, she could not gain strength from her children nor from god which is so very unfortunate for all – this is when faith truly becomes the pillar of existence. She gave up on life and when Pushpa was 17 years old her younger sister who was a little unwell passed away at the tender age of 14, this was the straw that broke the camels back for Pushpa’s mother and 5 days later she too passed away in her daughters arms.

Pushpa now works for 2,400 rupees ($50 dollars) a month where she is the sole breadwinner and looks after her younger brother (16) and sister (15). She endeavours to give them a good quality of life and her life is no longer a priority. As we were shopping I realised that her needs have been on the backburner for many years, the prices were too high or she remembered that her siblings needed something more. God blessed me with the opportunity to treat her, the expression in her eyes and love that she showered thereafter was priceless…

I then reflected her story to my own reality well to my own so called truth … what a delusion my nephew is only a year younger than Pushpa, yes he too has had testing times but nothing in comparison. He has not a worry to vend for others, his expenditure is taken care of and he works for the family business not to mention he is loved immensely by his elders… what a different world to Pushpas and other 21 year olds who are educating themselves for a better life.

Her so called relatives have also shown their true colours by stating that her parents are dead and you children are a burden. Her faith in God has very much faltered she questions his will and blessings

What has he done for me?
He has written nothing but sorrow in my life?
I feel as I though I am burden to this life?
I cannot see light at the end of the tunnel and I accept my life to be filled with sorrow.

What words can heal such wounds? What can one say to someone?
Only those who have experienced such devastation can understand or have a inclination of the pain the other person is enduring.

I could only give examples of how came out of the devastation in my life, how I overcame the biggest test of my life and not to mention regained faith in God after loosing everything I believed in.

One can only share, hope and pray that Pushpa can find it in her heart to embrace the love she once had for God and accept his will, but its so much easier said than done!

For those who know me very well... I never shut up but hearing stories likes Pushpha’s story I am left speechless on a regular basis, I am left in awe and utter shock at the same time.

That said I now feel it’s always about ones outlook on life, as they say do you see you glass as half empty or full?