By Jagdesh Singh | OPINION
We peeled the warm soft dumpling rather roughly and laughed as we chewed on the pieces already in our full mouths. Not a pretty sight, considering our facial hair, our moustache or mucha getting in the way as we chewed opened mouth and talking very loudly. We weren’t drunk Vikings, mind you. Just three old tea totter friends having Chinese Bau for dessert after lunch.
The conversation turned serious when one of us shared a gossip he had heard of. It was about a daughter of our very own close friend. The burden of proof was there for all to see on Instagram. She was seen enjoying herself in a night club, looking slightly intoxicated. But we warned ourselves that looks, especially on social media, can be extremely deceiving. We suddenly felt like the old women of past generations that we had often laughed and mocked at before, gossiping and spreading stories. The young girl in question was barely a legal adult, on the precipice of furthering her tertiary education.
There was an awkward silence after the gossip was fully told. I hurriedly announced that I’m in no position to even say a word about this piece of gossip, simply because my three daughters will soon come to that adventurous age, and I have not an ounce of confidence that I can foretell anybody’s future let alone theirs.
But what was really so bad about the story of this girl enjoying herself with her friends? Who are we to judge her? It’s a bit rich, especially coming from me when I was a rogue teenager who had consumed alcohol and cigarettes. I had hated anybody who had even so much as cast a look at my direction as a sign of judging my actions.
But her parents, we further argued amongst ourselves, would be devastated having worked so hard to bring her up as this sweet nice typical girl, embedded with the pillars of a practicing Sikh. Her parents would’ve expected her to abstain from alcohol at least.
But how would we know if her parents were not aware and had full confidence that their child was equipped enough to make her own decision? Perhaps her parents were alright with it. Perhaps her parents had an understanding amongst themselves that she herself has her own life journey to pursue. And perhaps experimentation of vices such as alcohol was a life lesson she needed to experience herself as part of her maturing into an adult.
But wouldn’t her parents be affected by others, such as the three men at the table now, talking about and judging their daughter? The family was an insular unit, happy with themselves, not really dependent on anyone outside their family circle to really matter. They shouldn’t be affected, nor should they impose any of their affects onto their child. She has only her parents to answer to and nobody else. And they had nobody to answer to but their Guru.
Ah yes, but their Guru is our Guru! And our Guru forbade His disciples from any forms of intoxication. Now we’re on to something! But the parents had only to answer about themselves individually to their Guru, as well as the daughter will have to answer to her Guru herself. It is her intimate relationship with her Guru.
Nobody else could impose anything on her apart from only providing advice and guidance. She is of the age where she can certainly decide for herself, and her understanding of her Guru. We, including her parents, can only advice and guide, but ultimately she is His responsibility as well. Her Guru and Him alone will judge her for her actions. But not to condemn her path into the burning fires of Hell because there’s no such belief in our system of such. He will judge the kindness of her heart more, and perhaps take this tiny adventure as a tiny bump in her journey towards spiritual liberation. Or it may not, who knows. We certainly don’t.
But what if she turned to abusing alcohol and her life would be devastated with the affects of alcoholism? Now this was straightforward. This warrants us as friends of the family, responsible members of the society, to step in and act upon it. If she had turned to being an alcoholic and isn’t functioning well as a responsible adult, then intervention is required. A stern word with the young lady, a watchful eye, and support for the parents, we must all play a role in making sure she transforms herself back into who she was before, hopefully learning from it to become better as a person, as a daughter, and as a Sikh. Only then can we involve ourselves. Not judging but just acting upon our internal instincts of taking care of our own.
We finished our dessert. And walked away into our own separate directions after acknowledging that we have learned something today.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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