Sikh is KIng
One of the primary reasons I travel the globe, besides the drive to volunteer, is the adventures that fill every trip. India was perhaps the biggest cultural shock for me; I can assume that if you ever make a first-time trip there, you will have the same feelings I did. Even the first moments of landing in the Indian airport were a thrill. I often found myself laughing at all the peculiarities. When I arrived at the airport, I needed to contact the hotel so I could arrange for my transportation. I went in search of the nearest pay phone, but instead of finding a standard coin-operated phone, I came across a set of regular house phones guarded by a man. To utilize the phone, you would have to pay him directly, and then he would allow you to dial. This was extremely odd and seemed like a waste of human resources – having an actual person do nothing but guard a phone and collect change. However, I found this quite amusing; it set the tone for the rest of my adventure in India.
The drive itself was a surreal experience. Cars drove by my cab on every side, and there was practically no inch of the street not already taken up by a vehicle. There were large crowds of pedestrians and even cars driving in the wrong direction. I felt that a car accident was about to take place at any moment. My driver joked with me, telling me that a special permit is required to drive in New Delhi
When I arrived at my hotel, I didn’t have any plans for my first day, as I had booked all my tours for the later days of my trip. Right before I walked up to the hotel, the cab driver had asked me if I wanted to see the “real India” for my first day. Of course, I jumped at the chance to go on a little adventure. The first stop was the Sikh temple. The driver told me that “Sikh” is apparently king in India. (You may know them as the individuals wearing turbans.)
When I arrived at the temple, I had no idea what to expect. One thing that was different from other temples I had visited was that your head had to be covered out of respect for GOD. You would put on the turban before entering, then take off your shoes and wash your hands. Shortly after I learned what makes the Sikh stand out so much in India.
“Langar” is the term used in the Sikh religion for the common area where food is served for free in a Gurdwara ( a place of worship for Sikhs) everyday to all the visitors to all their temples around the world. I was walking around when one of the Sikhs pulled me aside. Next thing I knew, I was washing dishes. He kept smiling at me while I washed the dishes; I could feel the love in his heart. While I was taking care of the dishes, he talked to me about Sikh culture and how everyone is welcome. They never discriminate against anyone. At this particular temple, they feed thousands of Indians each and every day. The point he wanted me to understand is that we all bleed the same. I can tell you, from that day on I have understood the meaning behind the phrase SIKH IS KING.