By Akashdip Singh | OPINION |
It is a Sunday afternoon, May 2020. The last two months has changed my perspective on what I used to consider normal. With the pandemic, it is no longer acceptable to shake hands, let alone giving someone a hug. When situation returns to ‘normal’ or perhaps the ‘new normal’; however we may want to call it, one major aspect that should not be taken for granted is the community kitchen in our Gurdwaras.
Today we generally serve ‘karah parshad’ [also called degh] once the programme is complete with bare hands. During langgar, we serve bread (parshada) with bare hands as well. Do we want to continue doing this? Should we consider using a ladle for serving karah parshaad and putting on gloves or using tongs when serving parshada to avoid direct contact?
I have observed sewadaars (volunteers) using their phones when they are serving. I am particularly concerned about the food that is being served that has direct contact with the bare hands. We have heard that the phone is a playground for germs; yet we accept food from the sewadaars whom we may have seen using their phones when they are serving during langgar. We take the easy way out, not wanting to be impolite and we do not tell them to wash their hands.
Today, the situation is different. We are currently experiencing a global pandemic. Should we still accept it being normal to serve using bare hands? What could the implications be if we were to continue doing this? The main reason for not touching food that is ready to eat with bare hands is to prevent viruses and bacteria from contaminating the food that could still be present even after hands are washed.
All of us who attend Gurdwara need to give this a thought as I am sure that we do not want to saunter through life from this point onward. May Guruji grant us the wisdom to do the right thing.
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