| Opinion | 1 March 2017 | Asia Samachar |
By Jagdesh Singh
We devoured the curry mee, a traditional Malaysian Chinese dish, with a-gusto. No, we are not in a stall hidden in some backstreet, but within the confines of a gurdwara in the cool sleepy Taiping. Typically, chapatis and dhall was served. Nevertheless, everybody in the Langgar Hall enjoyed this vegetarian version of the noodles.
In the background, over through the loudspeakers, melodic chanting of ‘Waheguru’ woven within heartfelt and stirring keertan shabad, is playing loud and clear.
Just a couple of hours earlier, the same crowd was boisterously enjoying themselves fooling around in the cold waterfalls of the Burmese Pool, somewhere near the Lake Gardens of Taiping.
Laughter and joy was prevalent. Young and old, the crowd was mostly from busy stressful city of Kuala Lumpur. They retreated away from their bustling lives in the week to be together in Taiping, in the Malaysian state of Perak, for the weekend. Mostly family units, there were the young with a couple of toddlers, the teens, the newly married and the older, all here because they wanted to meditate together as a one big family.
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Every year, for the past six years, around this time, these like minded souls have been retreating together. Simran Camp is the name they have coined for the get-together. At the center of it all, the ever welcoming and gregarious Harcharanjit Singh aka Raja – a part time lawyer and full time spiritual singer or keertani – laughs the loudest. As the host, he welcomes everyone with hugs. Sharing the responsibility is the ever smiling Harminder Kaur aka Min, his life partner. There’s a tireless and dedicated team of close cohorts and friends, with bonds stronger than family, working around the clock to ensure everyone who joins the camp are comfortable. Their names won’t be mentioned but they know who they are behind the scenes. Not to mention how the Gurdwara Sahib Taiping management committee and the wonderful Sanggat took it upon themselves to ensure everyone felt as at home.
There are no agendas, no messages to take back, no lessons to learn, no awareness to be had. Just a get-together of like-minded friends who like a certain style of chanting and singing together, away from the distractions of the busy daily life. This almost same group of friends, minus or plus many more, have religiously been doing the same singing and chanting in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on a weekly basis, every Wednesday, without fail. Food, really good food, compliments the energetic get-togethers, as was highlighted in the Simran Camp 6.0 (coined cleverly by the organizers) – curry mee, nasi lemak, bolognese spaghetti, chendol, satay, cheesy wedges, the list goes on.
But make no mistake, it’s not even close to being exclusive. Anyone and everyone can join the weekly get-together or the annual Simran Camps. The laid backness of it all, the family oriented environment, the ever relaxing ambiance and best of all, the flexibility to participate in any of the activities that you think you’d like, makes it one of my must-check calendar entries for the past two years. And to top it all of, my family enjoys themselves as I sit down with my old friends, sipping my third cup of chai of the day, while the singing and chanting goes on melodiously in the background.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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