Thursday, April 27, 2006

Catching up with myself

My it has been busy. I keep meaning to check in here to post my movements in the world of Warrior Saints, but then something else comes along and adds to the heap of news items to report. Finally I’ve decided to cut my losses and just list what I’ve done over the past month, just for the record. I can’t go into nearly as much detail as I’d like with each of them. Maybe this means I need to get involved in fewer activities so that I can get more out of the ones I decide to do?

There is no question that this project for me has made me more sensitive of the need to be mindful and conscientious about how one goes through life. That is perhaps the single most important tenet of Sikhism, because from that state of mind springs all kinds of enlightenment, goodwill and peace both inside and out. It’s a great state of mind to be in, and not one that happens as often as I’d like, at least with myself. But just typing these words helps me to get there. I can just recall the past month of activity and not feel compelled to write grandiose accounts of each thing I did to impress anyone who reads this. I can let them rest simply as markers of past experiences that I will always enjoy remembering.

First, to wrap up my March trip to San Francisco:

Friday 3/24 - Met Gagandeep and Mansheel Singh, two University of California Berkeley students who are fighting for their right to wear the kirpan, a Sikh article of faith on campus. Also interviewed Pritpal Singh, a Bay Area entrepreneur who is also an active contributor to the Sikh community.

Saturday 3/25 - Visited Yuba City California, the historical heartland of Sikh America. There, a kind gentleman by the name of Dr. Jasbir Kang showed me around and helped me to interview two people who are firsthand witnesses to the plight of Sikh Americans post-9/11. Gurpal Singh is a truck driver who was roughed up by the Oregon Highway Patrol when they suspected him of being a terrorist because of his turban. Harbans Singh is an 80 year old gentleman who was pushed off his bike and taunted by kids because of his turban.

Monday 4/10 - My brother competes on Jeopardy and pulls off an incredible comeback victory, thanks in part to a category called “Hide and Sikh”. You WILL get to watch this on my site – I’ll try to post it early next month.

Saturday 4/15 - Rajinder Singh Khalsa's daughter's wedding in Richmond Hill Queens, a gorgeous occasion – I may try to post photos later. The second Sikh wedding I’ve attended (and apparently not the last – I have a bachelor camping trip to attend next weekend and a bicoastal wedding in September).

Thursday 4/20 - Submitted a major proposal for funding – a real learning experience for me that changed my perspective on my own work.

Friday 4/21 - Spoke at the 2006 Ethnic Pen Conference at Bay Shore High School in Bay Shore, Long Island. Gurpreet Singh, a hate crime victim turned activist, presented DASTAAR to an auditorium of high school students and talked about his own experiences fighting intolerance. Met filmmaker Joe Fab, producer of the extraordinary documentary PAPER CLIPS, and received a lot of inspiring feedback from him on being a filmmaker.

Saturday 4/22 – Screened Dastaar at a Sikh Immigrant History celebration at the Queens Central Library in Jamaica, sponsored by the NYC Mayor’s office. Thanks Jaskaran Singh and United Sikhs for putting together such a successful event.

And this Saturday I am looking forward to the Annual Sikh Day Parade in New York City! Starts at noon, proceeding along Broadway from 40th St down to 25th St. Free food (Langar/ Community Kitchen) will be served to all. Be there!

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