Tuesday, 29 May 2007

A Journey Inside: Women’s and Men’s Camp Asia

Living in Malaysia puts quite a distance between us and 3HO-related events like the Solstice (Española) and the Yoga Festival (France). In recent years Rajvir and Guru Jaswant have been organising Camp Miri Piri in Singapore to get things moving at our end and things are picking up gradually.
It was at the first Camp Miri Piri that Mataji met the lovely Shanti Kaur Khalsa, and they decided it would be amazing to have a women’s camp in Asia – Mataji had been to the one in New Mexico in 1984, and yours truly had hopped along, although I was only a 1-year old then :)

Ladies Camp, New Mexico, 1984
Ladies Camp, New Mexico, 1984

Mataji and ickle me

And that is how the first Asian Women’s Camp took place in 2005 in the beautiful island of Bali. We were truly blessed to have Bibiji, Shanti and Sat Nirmal come for the camp, and women from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand got together to heal, juvenate and rejoice in being women.

Women's Camp, Bali, 2005

Bjibiji with Mataji

Two years since, the team is again organising the camp, and this time having one for the men as well as they were feeling a little left out previously :). And so this weekend we all head out to Kuantan for what promises to be a wonderful retreat. Shanti is coming again, and we also have Guru Chander Singh, Kirn Kaur and Nirvair Singh; and hoping dearly that Bibiji will be able to join us also.
I can’t wait! Having missed out on the first one as I was still in London then, I was one of the first few to sign up :). Somehow I’ve been building up to this: lately I’ve been wanting more and more to crawl into my shell and hide from the big, bad world. 4 days of yoga, meditation and bumming with the girls is exactly what I need!
Also, this Friday (1st June), Shanti, Guru Chander, Kirn, Nirvair, and (hopefully) Bibiji will be leading the meditation at Klang Gurdwara, 7.30 pm. Do come and join the sanggat!
(For further details re camp and/or Klang programme, please contact Sri Dasmesh School, dasmesh@streamyx.com, 03-2288 1600)

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Love from Sweden

The Malaysian sanggat will most definitely remember our dear friends from Sweden, Jasmeet and Virpal, who were here for the Samelan. Virpal left soon after, but Jasmeet was completing a semester of uni here so she stayed on and only recently left for to go back to Stockholm.

I met Jasmeet at the Sikh Student Camp (which, for those who don't know, is the best camp evvvvvvveeeeeeeeeer!!) last year, where I had all the Swedes in my group. Viz-kavina A1! Did I say that right? :) It was wonderful to have someone from my London life here in Malaysia with me, and I miss having her around.

While here, she had quickly became a part of our sanggat and a regular weekend resident at Sabha House; we all know her as the sweetest thing :) I’ve been keeping in touch - she misses us and here’s a text from her for all (it’s in Malay, which she picked up at uni).

Saya bagus bagus! Sangat rindu semua malay kavan-kavan saya. Apa khabar?




(Translation: I’m doing very well. Miss my Malaysian friends very much. How are you?)

Jasmeet, kami rindu kamu juga. Mungkin satu hari nanti kamu akan kembali :)

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Fired up by Tango

My birthday celebrations began super early this year thanks to Surabhi – she told me quite a while ago to block the 16th of May to receive my gift and refused to offer any other information, abandoning me to feed on the voices in my head (which is never a good thing!).
The long-awaited date finally arrived and we rendezvous-ed (is that even a word?) at the agreed location at the predetermined time and voila! She handed me my birthday present: tickets to watch Tango Fire – a tango show by a troupe coming from Buenos Aires.


Maybe I should backtrack a little to explain why this was the perfect gift: Surabhi and I go back a looooooooooong way, since we were 7 (oh my god how many times have we told this story already!?!). Somehow our paths kept crossing and we both ended up studying in London and even lived in the same house for 2 years. The Victoria League House rocks! (Sorry, I had a flashback moment there :p). We have always been very close but London was different – living, laughing, backpacking, crying, turning suicidal before exams and starving together took us from friends to family.
One of the delights we both share, besides our priceless books, Mr. Darcy (only when he’s played by Colin Firth) and Johnny Depp (or is it George Clooney? – I always lose track) is our mutual love for the theatre. While in London we went for a musical as often as we could afford to and have seen almost every musical worth saying anything about – in addition to concerts, plays, comedies and a circus (Cirque Du Soleil - animal-free of course!). And as we traveled we went on to gather under our belts a flamenco performance, a marionette show, a ballet and the opera. In fact, in Romania we even had the opportunity to BE the show but I’ll spare us the embarrassment and not elaborate further :)

waiting for the flamenco in Sevilla

So it was only a matter of time before tango came our way – I just never expected it to be in Malaysia! It was also symbolic because Buenos Aires (where the troupe was from) is one of my favourite cities in the world (from the few that I’ve had the chance to visit) and we both dabbled in a bit of Spanish while in London. Then there was the time that I was hopelessly addicted to Mexican/ Venezuelan soap operas (don’t ask me how they became popular in Malaysia – we have no connection to the Spanish world at all but they were a hit).

So you see there are a lot of connections to be made!

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that the show was awesome :)

I admit to be a tango-ignoramus, and my naïve perception of tango being hands-clasped-rose-between-the-teeth-marching-up-and-down was shattered – here I saw a stunning display of legs, legs, and then more legs flicking as though they were a butterfly’s fluttery wings. Their movements were swift and glamorous; sometimes tentative and uncertain, yet other times so very dramatic and forceful. I spent most of my time holding my breath, thinking that at any moment now they are all going to get horribly entangled and make a mess of themselves. My worry proved to be unfounded because it was all one: the dancers, the music, the lights. They were not separate pieces of the puzzle being put together; there was no puzzle! A spot light followed the dancers and I kept looking back and forth between the dancers and their reflection trying to decide which one I was more captivated by. The dancers were a wow - the men, fantastic though they were, I don’t think got much of the glory; they were more like a part of the furniture while the women stole the show – after all it was the women got to strut up and down the stage, full to the brim with Latina attitude, in those gorgeous dresses and exaggerated stilettos.

It was so typically Spanish – all they did was dance and fight, or sit at a table to watch others dance and fight (pardon the stereotyping, but remember that my experience comes from watching Venezuelan soaps! :p).

I think I would still prefer to take my taste of tango in a lovely restaurante, amidst a gregarious crowd enjoying their dinner, from which a dark-haired beauty suddenly slips out of her chair to command the floor. On the spur of the moment and unpredictable – exactly how it should be. Still, seeing that this is an unlikely reality for me at this point in time, Tango Fire was a good enough substitute! ...

Surabhi, thank you so much for this. I know I’ve already said that I loved it a thousand times, but now you have it in black and white :) ...

Oh, and what are you thinking for next year? You do know that I haven’t seen Riverdance, right?? :p ...

(And no, Irish dancing bus drivers will NOT do – even if they come from Birmingham!)

Monday, 21 May 2007

Bow to the Earth, to the Trees, to the Sky


Prayer has nothing to do with what is known all around the world as prayer. Real prayer is not a ritual. Real prayer has nothing to do with the church or the temple or the mosque; real prayer is neither Christian nor Hindu nor Mohammedan. Real prayer has nothing to do with words. It is not verbal. It is silent gratitude. It is a silent bowing to existence.

So, wherever, whenever you feel like bowing to the earth, to the trees, to the sky, bow. That bowing will help you slowly, slowly to disappear.

Prayer is one of the greatest methods of destroying the ego, and when the ego is gone, God is left. It is ego that is hiding God in a dark cloud. When the could is gone the sun shines forth in all its glory, beauty, grandeur, splendor.

~ Osho

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Let me be the Murky Water…

...from which the Lotus of the Guru blooms.

Gurudarshan and I were going around the Parkarma at the Hari Mandir one morning when she said this.

I suddenly recalled those words as I walked in our garden one day – Mataji has some beautiful lotuses and a pink one was in full bloom (pictures).

I remember thinking that with a Guru as wondrous as that lotus, who could give up the chance to be the murky water?

Thank you Guru D, for that thought!

Friday, 18 May 2007


Tired of work and people and places, last weekend I commissioned myself to voluntary house-arrest. Ok, ok, I’ll be honest. I didn’t really move from the TV couch – and to my surprise discovered that reading, watching telly and eating are a pretty exhausting combination, therefore I was forced to space them with a dose of sleeping here and there :)
I ended up watching the only movie that seemed remotely interesting - Octopussy. Bond undoubtedly kept me entertained - what more could I ask for than to be a part of an attempt at world domination involving a Faberge egg? When I went to Moscow last year I did see the intricate Faberge eggs at the Kremlin, and I thought how thrilling it would be to be caught up in a chase involving them.
Faberge eggs aside, the story was quintessentially Bond: the Russian official who got tired of playing comrade and defected, bits of East Berlin, a Swastika or two, threat of nuclear warfare, Bond’s almighty watch, the beautiful women that he always seems to attract, the car chase, the gripping flying incident, and the sea of destruction he characteristically leaves behind.
What I loved the most (aside from the cheesiness factor, that is) was that it some of it was set in India, hence the classic Indian formula was applied through and through: fortresses in the hills, heartbreaking beauties, pilgrims bathing in holy rivers, jasmines in hair, beggars, traffic-stopping cows, arched corridors leading to nowhere, heavy-lidded eyes lined with kohl, beautiful bougainvillea amidst lush palms, and draped windows with veiled women peering through.

Craving for the local flavour, Bond rode around in an auto-rickshaw and gate crashed a local village festival of fire-breathers, hot coal-walkers, snake-charmers and sword-eaters; before braving the Indian jungle in his perfect white suit, where he was hunted by an elephant, a Bengal tiger and a crocodile, but still came out unscathed and with every strand of hair perfectly in place.

My favourite scene was undoubtedly the one where the vampish Miss Magda, after stealing the Faberge from Bond’s pocket, delicately tied the pallu of her saree to the balustrade, leaped over the balcony and exquisitely twirled out of it, to be received on the ground by an exiled Afghan prince who wrapped a silk robe around her shoulders and whisked her away. Wow.

Somewhere in the film our exiled Afghan prince, Kamal Khan declares: Mr. Bond indeed is a very rare breed, soon to be made extinct….

Naturally he realized the folly of that statement, and not long after, he remarked: You (Bond) have a nasty habit of surviving.

Oh yes he does. And with lots of saddies like me rooting for the eternality of Bond, I think he will thrive for a long, long time :)


The first time I saw the letters www, I had just been listening to Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, and in my sweet ignorance I thought that’s what they stood for. Now I’m a little bit older (though not much wiser), and still I think that my version holds a little more charm.
Recently this little memory of mine resurfaced and I thought there could be no better way to describe my space in the World Wide Web than to draw from a little bit of child-like innocence.
Hopefully, through these pages I will be able to share a little bit on the wonders from my own little world :)

Hello World!

Satnam to all!
Welcome to my little share in the infinite space of Blog-land. I suppose it was only a matter a time before the bug bit me, and now I too have jumped on the bandwagon, along with countless others, to share the past and present of my thoughts, experiences, pictures, moanings, musings and wisdom (hmm, perhaps not so much of that :p).
My previous blog, from my time at Amritsar, had a particular focus and a known lifespan. Now I feel as though I’m at the deep end, drowning in the vast sea of options - suddenly my world seems so big and how oh how will I decide on what to share and what not too?
Bear with me as I chart my own direction and create some sort of line of thought. For now, I promise to be random and inconsistent :)
Welcome to my world!
Harkiren Kaur