SAMELAN 2014: Cold as ice water bucket challenge


[Blogger mum Jasbir Kaur shares her experience at the Annual Gurmar Parchaar Samelan 2014 that was held in December in Bentong, Pahang. Organised by Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia, it is an annual camp held at different towns in Malaysia.]

Scene captured at the Bentong camp. - Photo courtesy of SNSM
Scene captured at the Bentong camp. – Photo courtesy of SNSM

When the announcement for 2014 Samelan’s venue was announced, I was thrilled. I reminisced about my 6 wonderful days spent in Bentong Samelan, five years ago.

Fresh air, cool breeze, thick and misty low clouds, flooded my memory. The weather, in Bentong, is a big deal to me because I am a sucker for cold weather and it fills my heart with joy, knowing I will be experiencing it, once more.

Waking up to a beautiful sight of lush green mountains, walking amidst thick fog, enjoying my hot cuppa of cha and not feeling sweaty or sticky throughout the day was a fantastic bargain for me not to skip Samelan despite being a little under the weather. The joys of chilly weather even overcame the drawbacks of having to shower in icy cold water, that was sure to send shivers down my spine, each time I poured a bucket full of icy water on my body. That was my closest experience to an ice bucket challenge.


Every year is a learning opportunity

Every year, since 2005, I had volunteered to be a Nikkey Khalsa sewadar and took on some responsibilities. Nikkey Khalsa or Nursery is the place to be for moms and dads like me who want to be part of Samelan despite having very young children – infants right up to 5 years old. It’s a beautiful group with tiny beautiful souls that get-together and never ceased to awe me with their innocence. But this year, I ventured a little further due to certain unavoidable situation and learned some new tricks. I was introduced to the Media Crew, the people behind the scenes, who captured and released memories of the day on print and social media. The media crew virtual-connected people who were unable to attend Samelan, so they felt like they were still part of Samelan. Gave them an avenue to witness and experience the joys of Inspiration Sessions (IPS), while being at the comfort of their own homes. IPS is the kirtan-talk combo session.


Small is good

Either the school was big or the crowd was much smaller this year at Samelan. I personally liked it this was because there were fewer complaints of stolen slippers, extremely long queues for the showers or at the langgar hall. It was blessing not needing to rush in a bid to beat the crowd. It didn’t matter waiting in the queue – for breakfast, lunch or dinner – with the rest of the participants, be it Mighties or the Jathas because at any given time, there would only be a handful of participants standing in front of me to be served. Some were empathetic and offered me to cut their queue while some even brought food for me and my toddler.



Food for the soul

IPS sessions were a bliss. The Darbar Sahib looked very comfortable and inviting for a mother with an active toddler, who has yet to master the art of sitting still in the presence of our Guru Pita. Knowing she had space to explore while I emersed myself and became lost in the power packed yet melodic IPS sessions, was a relieve. Even during the last IPS session which is usually overcrowded wasn’t an ordeal. There was no need to keep moving my sleeping toddler, each time participants had to move forward in the Darbar Sahib, to make space for the swelling crowd that kept walking in. The last IPS session is always magical and many will try to be part of the magical moment to celebrate the joyous occasion of welcoming the Amrit ablakhies.

Not needing to rush, proved to be a key to my joyous time spent at Samelan 2014, Bentong.

What was yours?


Jasbir Kaur blogs a blog A CUPPA FOR MY THOUGHTS.