Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Ultimate Sikh Detective

Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes are well known, but did you know that there was an even more astute Sikh conterpart called Triloke Singh Holmes? To prove the point here is a picture of him: 4/9/2005

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Nagar Kirtans

I've got mixed feelings about nagar kirtan events. I can recall some nagar kirtans where I felt involved, energised and uplifted. But recently I've felt more detached, and almost like a bystander. Could this be because nagar kirtans are becoming more like a mela, a day out, where distributing free food and drinks is the highlight? (I know some people for whom eating 'Rocky's' burger and chips IS the highlight!).

Also I've not seen any innovation or progress as to how the event is organised. We still don't seem to be able to to walk in a discplined and orderly way, without pushing and shoving. Maybe it's just me...

Anyway here are some pics of the nagar kirtan in southall, april 2005:

Panj Pyaray

The traditional Nagara being played

The decorated float graced by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

A view of the Nagar Kirtan near the Park Avenue gurudwara

The law, usually a low key affair as there is normally very little trouble

Another view of the Nagar Kirtan

This cameraman is probably from one of the asian satelite channel broadcasters

A short video of the nagar kirtan 6/9/2005

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Beyond Description

Click this link to listen.

Although we profess to describe how great God is, it would only be possible to have any inkling of His greatness if were to catch a glimpse of Him. Verily, God is beyond value or description, and even if we try to do so we would become lost in His infinite expanse. No one can describe the extent of His virtue or the vastness of His expanse.

Even if all the intellectuals and all the spiritual teachers and their teachers got together to discover God, they would still be unable to even begin to describe how great the wonderful qualities of God are.

Qualities of truth, goodness, austere discipline, moral excellence, and those associated with seekers of truth are solely in God's domain. But if God through his grace wishes to bestow these qualities on us then no one can stand in the way.

So we are helpless in describing God's greatness, try as we might to praise Him. He provides everything for us, yet we are unable to comprehend or describe Him. By realising this truth our life will surely take a turn for the better.

Link to Shabad in Punjabi 8/7/2006

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Blogging Question

There are decisions and questions that by virtue of their difficulty one might put aside to be dealt with on another day. Then there are those dilemmas which one tends to put on the back burner, not because they are hard to unravel, but because of the fear of having to face up to the implications of any conclusions arrived at from analyses of the dilemma.

Most bloggers will have suffered from mild symptoms of blogyndrome, when one begins to question the value, usefulness and indeed validity of one's blogging activity. The usual remedy at the early stage of the syndrome is to push the questions to the ‘back of the head.’ Those who pay a little more attention to the emerging malaise soon find that the syndrome is not such an easy one to deal with and cure.

There is, however a limit as to how long one can go on putting off facing up to the inevitable question of one’s blogging activity and dealing with the fallout from such an encounter. So how does one face up to and deal with the question that will not go away - to blog or not blog? To answer this question the starting point I think has to be gaining an understanding of the reasons why we started, and why we have been blogging up to now. This introspection naturally has to include a look at what benefits we have gained through our blogging activity, be it social, monetary, emotional, or therapeutic.

To succeed in this self-examination exercise it is necessary to be honest with oneself and to not be afraid to lay bare the true motives for embarking on the blogging path. Although most unlikely, it is entirely possible that it may transpire that one has been foolishly wasting hour upon hour of one’s time with little or no benefit to oneself or others.

It is only fair having pontificated on the blogging question, I come clean whether I have faced up to this question. Clearly not, as the few infrequent visitors to my blog will have observed. Not a squeal, though mind you, I have on occasions in my comments, referred to the nagging question (“…the question of whether to blog or not blog will simply not go away. So I may abstain for a while....”). So the best I can claim is that I have let the question around blogging simmer on the burner, with my fingers getting singed because I haven’t paid attention.

So what was the decision, after all the simmering and bubbling? To put it simply, there was no decision. In retrospect, this clever ruse by me to abstain for a while slowly, but surely extricated me from the blogosphere. Though it is not a course I would necessarily recommend to other bloggers, for it leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. And let’s face it, who am I to pontificate?

It would be remiss of me if I failed to mention the other side of the coin, namely that one’s motive for blogging may be altogether noble and commendable, such as sharing useful information, and promoting something one believes in. I guess the bottom line is the blog is here to stay, a tool that is still evolving in the way it is used and in the function it performs. Maybe one should not become too wedged in the groove of the blogging question while the birds still soar freely in the open blue skies.


Monday, January 03, 2011

Nemo - Punjabi Style

It occurred to me that translating some contemporary English text into Punjabi might give me some practice in my written Punjabi. When I came across this post on Nemo by SK on her blog, this was just what was needed to spur me into action. I really do think there is an immense shortage of Punjabi literature which children can relate to and really enjoy, and translations of popular novels might be a good start. Here's the result of my little effort:


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Jums are Coming

msingh, torn clothes, ragged look, haunted face,
sins exposed, running in fear to escape, quickning pace,
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain!

wilful, self-conceited, lost in maya, that was you,
no time for sewa, self-serving through and through,
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain!

losing your head, in wanton lust and greed did you revel,
the sins cannot be erased, face this now on the level,
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain!

face drawn, no tears left to flow, trembling with fear so,
imminent dharamraj's verdict, sinful body, where to go?
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain!

too late, lashes reign aplenty, streaks of blood, sharp pain
should have heeded earlier, now whipped again and again,
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain!

thrusting red hot poker, hair pulled and ripping skin,
now screaming with pain, lacerated body full of sin,
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain!

justice served, balance restored, under karma's role,
pray dear cybersangat for msingh's early parole,
the jums are coming, the jums are coming, fear of pain,
if only past unholy demons could all be slain


Monday, October 05, 2009

Beauty & the Beast

In today's world there is no shortage of aids, artifacts, chemicals,, etc. to bring about a show of external beauty. Waxing, perming, liposuction, bleaching,...the list goes on. Surely there is something to be said for the simple and natural approach - for one thing at least less time is wasted on the daily chore of grooming. There's also the question of for what purpose, or for who are we going to all this trouble for?

Perhaps it's the inner beauty that really matters, the one that exudes warmth, humility, sincerity, joy de vivre,...

But hey, who am I to judge - it's all in the eye of the beholder.

Click to enlarge


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shocking Story About Handsworth!!

Read this true story... and let everybody you know in and around Birmingham, especially Handsworth know this.......

My friend lives in Wolverhampton... One day he went to Handsworth to visit his uncle for some days. One evening he and some other of my college friends went to Priya's for a movie. He had so much fun that he forgot that it was very late. He reached Handsworth around midnight......

He had to walk about a mile from where his friend dropped him.... As he was walking alone, he could sense that the night felt very creepy as it was so dark. While walking, he was astonished to see an old creepy looking guy selling some books. It was a very unusual thing to see a thing like that..... It got the shivers on him when he noticed that his old guy is unusually pale and staring at him...

The old guy said "Son why don't you get a would keep you company". Then he did something which he would regret for the rest of his life .........

My friend started to act brave & thought why not & had a look at his collection.. he noticed that all the books were related to supernatural activities...but he found one that was very interesting. So he asked the old man "how much is it?"....

The old guy replied, "Well son...this is an interesting's only for £45" My friend was shocked and said "'s expensive"

This time the old man stared which freaked my friend. My friend quickly checked all his pockets, found £40 and said "This is all I have." The old guy replied "It's OK son can have the book for that price"

As my friend was just about to run for home...the old man called back & said "Son ... whatever happen, you don't ever flip the book to it's last page... remember these words or you would regret it...!!!!!"

My friend nodded and never looked back ... Reaching home...he quickly asked his uncle whether there was any new old book seller nearby? The Uncle replied "not that I know of but ...we've heard that there's an old man comes once in a while but I've heard that there is something creepy about it...why son?"

My friend freaked out... he told his uncle "nothing uncle...just asking". He started reading the book with the old man's words on his mind. At night, 2 o'clock, as he went to bed, a gush of wind blew which chilled him up to his bones. At that glimpse, he noticed the wind had blown the pages to its last page. He remembered what the old man has said! But we humans tend to have the tendency to know. Out of curiosity, he flipped to the last page & fainted..

Click here to see what he saw at the last page, but don't click if you have a weak heart, I warn you. 3/10/06

Original price: - £1.99

Promotion price: - £0.99

Ha Ha, sorry if I wasted your time, but you've got to admit it waw a good one!

A Damsel in Distress

(This is supposed to be a 'Manvir Singh' style post)

On tuesday of this week my brother and his family came to visit and see how dad was getting on. Having been to the hospital to see dad we managed to demolish a fair amount of food, including raj mah di dal, rice, mattar paneer, raita, not to mention the sweets, chocolotaes and ice cream afterwards. This was naturally followed by a nice cup of cha (not yogi tea). We then had a short 'kirtan jamming' session, a pretty amateurish affair.

I and my brother (or should it be my brother and I?) decided to pay another visit to the hospital at about 7 o'clock in the evening to see dad. So we drove there, parked in the hospital car park and began walking towards the main hospital entrance.

As we were about to come out of the car park an asian 'girl' (looked like she was in her late 20's) came up to us, obviously in distress (lips quivering, a shake in her voice) and said to us that she had just heard about her husband being involved in an accident in Milton Keynes, and that she was short of £12 for the train fare to get there. She seemed to be in a panic, had her mobile on her, and said we could have her number. Our first impressions were she was in distress and our hearts were saying we should give her the money.

"Another predicament you have put me into, Rab Ji", I thought to myself. Because the ligting in th car park wasn't so good my brother suggested we walk up to entrance and we would see what we could do (I think both our minds were trying to think rapidly wether this was a genuine request, or we were about to be conned). This gave us time to analyse the situation and to ask her some questions as we walked. We learnt that she lived about 15 minutes walk away from the hospital. This made me wonder why she didn't walk home to get the money, especially as it was on the way to the train station.

By the time we'd reached the entrance I felt 95% sure that this was just a ruse to get us to part with our money (a number of times when I had been duped in similar circumstances came to mind). I suggested that we were willing to take her home to enable her to get the money she needed. "Oh no" she replied, "I never keep money in the house, I've been burgled several times." I was even more convinced by now that she wasn't genuine (I could see my brother was still considering giving the money), so I said to my brother (in front of her) that I'd had some bad experiences in similar circumstances, and that I wasn't sure. At this point she very quickly got the point and realised the bait hadn't been taken and left, saying she would never have asked if she wasn't in real need.

"Chalo" I thought, "Rab da Hukam", feeling a little guilty because there was still the tiniest possibility that she might have been genuine.

This could well have been the end of this post, but guess what, Rab Ji had another similar experience in store for me! A few days later I and my sister were leaving the hospital after visiting my dad and this time we were 'accosted' by a middle aged muslim man (I could tell from his Punjabi). "Waheguru", I thought, "am I a magnet for these type of people?". The man displayed a handful coins to us, apolgised profusely for what he was going say, told us about how he often went to the gurudwara and sometimes even had langar, then got to the heart of the matter. Basically he was £1.50 short for something (I can't remember what) and asked if we could spare him the money. His whole performance was well rehearsed and not too unpleasant. My view is that the money was probably to finance his next bottle of alcohol. Having learnt from my recent experience I politely but firmly said I couldn't help him.

I hope I don't become such a hard liner that I fail to recognise and help a genuine person in need. 1/6/06

Monday, March 23, 2009

Damsel in Distress - Follow Up

I recently wrote about the episode when I and my brother were faced with the dilemma of whether or not we should give money to a damsel (apparently) in distress. Like all good “Manvir Singh” stories, there is more to this curious story.

A couple of days after the incident I had gone to the hospital to see my father, with just a tiny bit of remorse lingering in the back of my mind for not having given any money to this lady. At the hospital I saw that several other family members had also come to visit my father, including my sister-in-law. Imagine my surprise when I heard my sister-in-law start talking about a lady asking for money outside the hospital! “Kamal hai” I thought to myself, wondering if it might be the same person we had met. I was soon able to ascertain that this was indeed the same woman who had accosted us, but unlike our encounter, she did manage to get money this time. My sister-in-law facing the same request for £12 ended up giving £20 because she had no change.

There’s no doubt now that this lady was operating a scam, possibly netting a handsome amount on a good day. As to why she was doing this - my guess is that it may be connected with the need to buy drugs. Chalo, Rab bhali karey. 2/2/06