Saturday, October 29, 2005

Happy Diwali/Halloween/Eid

Well, I am so glad to be done with the exam. Now it is just wait, wait and more wait till January and pray for good results.

Well, during the exam, I met an interesting lady in the mid 20's who was also an EE . She was sitting next to me. During a very brief conversation during the break, she asked me if I was a Sikh. I said yes. Then suddenly out of the blue, she said "I was was thinking about coverting to Sikhism because I liked the fact that they serve delicious food". Jokingly, I said "Well that is a good reason to convert." She continued that the Mosque does not do anything like that. I asked if she goes to Mosque and she replied no. She mentioed that she grew up in Sacramento area and had been to the Sikh Gurudwara there many times to attend weddings and everything. At this point, the afternoon part of the test was ready to begin and I asked for her business card. Looking at the name, I asked what kind of name that was and she answered Iranian. I am even more amazed. The test started and she finished her exam early and left before I did. That was the last thing I got out of the conversation and I wished I had more time to talk and find out more about her. I found this whole thing to be very interesting since this was the first time I had met someone from a Muslim country that had told me about an interest to convert to Sikhism. I wish I had more chance to ask where she was in her search for Truth and Sikhism. It just raised a lot of questions in my mind.

My opinion from all this and a few other little incidents is that there is a great interest in Sikhism in the World, but only sad thing is that I don't even think our Gurudwaras here in the west are prepared and know how to take people in that are showing interest. First thing being that the kirtan and katha are all in Gurmukhi, which is Ok but there should be some English. The granthis should also be able to converse and understand some English. Also, I wish the Gurudwaras would involve kids more in Kirtan and Katha. If someone were to ask me today what they need to do to covert to Sikhism I don't think I will be able to point them to the right direction as far as the Gurudwara/granthi are concerned. Sure I can give them an overall concept of Sikhism, seva, simran, bana etc. But to really point them to the right direction, and provide all details and everything, It would be very difficult. I guess since I find it hard myslef, how can I point someone else. Whenever people ask me about Sikhism I usually end up pointing to them to the most common websites such as or or and . I would love to hear other's thoughts and guidance on this as to how they would handle if some one shows them interest in Sikhism.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Any EE's out there?

Well, the PE exam is next Friday and I have ramped up the study session. If any EE's out there, I would take any last minute tips on the exam. I hope I pass this time around.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Morning Gurudwara, for sure starts my day right!

Well! stopped by the Fremont Gurudwara this morning. Surprised to see sangat just coming in and out. I would say, for a Tuesday morning, it was great to see at least 20-25 people starting their day with a Gurudwara. There was a huge pile, the size of a room, full of donations ready to be sent to the earthquake victims in India/Pakistan/Afghanistan. That is the Sikh spirit! It was a same feeling I got when once I went to Harminder Sahib as a kid in the early morning. It justs brings everything alive inside, seeing people coming in and out, listening to kirtan and recitation and the radiant sprit in the morning. To the ones that have not done so, please try to start your day at the Gurudwara if you get a chance. There is no feeling to describe it. Especially, take your young kids if you can, they will remember this for the rest of their lives and would really appreicate the sprituality that you have brought into them. It may even keep them off from drugs, alcohol and other bad stuff that goes on in this crazy World.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Punjabis must change mindset for development :Verma

Here is an old article that I read in tribune and would like to share with other Sikhs/Punjabis. I think the author has a made a great point about Punjabis:

Punjabis must change mindset for development :Verma
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 21
Just when the government should be concerned more about important, yet less developed socio-economic areas in Punjab, its bureaucracy was more concerned whether there should be a red light atop their vehicles or not.
''It is time that those at the top must act to free the bureaucracy from such official trappings and make them do what they are supposed to do—work in public interest and for the people's welfare''.
These views were expressed by Punjab Governor O P Verma while sharing his experience of Punjab with TNS at Raj Bhawan here today.
Since he frequently travels in the state, interacts with cross-section of the people, gets first-hand feedback on their needs and problems, he, thus, has a clear view of Punjab society, its trappings, failings of the system of governance and where the state is headed for.
Justice Verma believes that politicians and bureaucrats shall have to shift from rhetoric to implementing the socio-economic policies and mitigating the sufferings of the people. Aware of the midset of the Punjabis, he is convinced that unless this is changed and correctives are applied to emerging social negatives, Punjab could be in serious trouble.
Giving an example of ''self-help'' groups that people and panchyats have formed on their own in four villages near Morinda, which he had visited on September 11, Justice Verma said the poor, landless labourers there had proved what all can be achieved if the mindset was changed. Their net-working with the Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank has virtually transformed the incomes and economies of those poverty-stricken poor people and saved many a farmer's life who, burdened by debt, was on the edge of committing suicide.
Such efforts, he stressed, needed to be replicated all over rural Punjab. Yet, despite being a live example, babus and bureaucrats had remained oblivious of this social change. There are 31 groups and 370 members. The Governor had visited the villages at the invitation of Doomcheri sarpanch Gurmail Singh.
Justice Verma is concerned over the lack of education, more so quality education, that was available only in some of the districts. Neither was universal primary education available nor was the play field for all students alike. The gap between the rich, educated, urban parents and poor, uneducated and rural parents was widening. This was a disquietingly worrisome social aspect.
Another observation he shared was about the creeping in of social evils in the Punjab society. He identified these as gender discrimination, practice of sex determination to get rid of the female foetus, resulting in skewed sex ratios, prevalance of cult of dowry, torture, burning and desertion of brides, particularly by NRIs, child abuse, and now caste conflicts in villages.
Justice Verma wondered if such was the mindset of society, how could Punjab be called a developed state? Is the picture of a developed Punjab a mirage, one wondered, listening to him. If individual Punjabis were individually rich, it did not mean Punjab was prosperous. His study of the situation and operative system of governance showed that love for materialistic possessions, hoarding of latest gadgets had made people greedy and corrupt.
Punjab also lacked infrastructure to fulfill ''our needs'' and needs were no longer limited. Needs should enable one to live a decent life, as he put it. There was lot of waste as well in society, and also in government expenses. Both power and individual prosperity were operative in the government machinery, giving rise to corruption.
Today, politicians and bureaucrats were not doing their duty. They were engaged in ''extra curricular activities'', rather than serving the people. ''All states must emulate Kerala as a role model in governance, development, austerity and collective efforts to change'', he added.
Justice Verma said Guru Granth Sahib was a repository of the ''guidelines'' to help an individual to lead the entire life span. Its preachings were presented in precise, concise and cogent manner. But how many have actually read it? Only if one would care to read and practice the preachings of the Gurus and saints included in Sri Guru Granh Sahib, things would be much better and easier for society.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Wanted Sikh Volunteers

Volunteering- Very important for bringing Sikh awareness in America-and it is all Seva.

Every time I hear of a hate crime against a Sikh or even non-Sikh, I just feel so helpless and wished I could do something to bring awareness about Sikhism to my fellow American citizen. I don’t want to go out there and preach Sikhism to them, but I do want them to be at least aware of as to who we are, what we believe in, why we wear turbans, we are not Moslems or Hindus, and most importantly we are as much part of American life as anybody else. What does being in an American norm mean anyways? I guess it depends whom you ask. If you ask an Italian, it would be different than an Irish or a woman, a child, or a Jew, a Christian, or a Cuban or an African or an environmentalist. Yes! If a Sikh is an initiated (baptized) Sikh, he or she does not drink, smoke, and eat meat. Now would you consider that person being not a normal American? Is a Catholic more normal than a Baptist or a Jew or a Sikh? Is a cowboy hat more normal than a baseball hat, a rapper’s hat, or Santa Clause’s hat or my turban? I don’t know.

Anyways, without going off track further, what I want to say is that if more and more Sikhs with turbans volunteer for various causes, and take active role in learning normal American life, things will definately change over time. If every Sikh man or woman in the country, starts to volunteer to tutor kids during or after school, help in hospitals, shelters, sports activities, speak kindly, be good role models things will change. You don’t even have to mention the word Sikh even once, it is your turban along with the actions that will be enough to show future generations and other people that Sikhs are good. I don't even consider my self a kind speaker and learning how to be one. If you have a music talent or know how to do kirtan or story telling, go out and play music at the senior centers or kids hospitals or voluteer to tell stories at a camp etc. My kids and I did that in Espanola, New Mexico along with 15-20 other Sikh kids and adults in a senior hospital, the joy we brought to the faces of those seniors was just amazing. It is all seva after all.

I look at this way, if 100 people in America, see my turban and my good actions out there today, those are the hundred in whose minds, the curiousity I have raised. We have to be conscious about every action that we take, even little things such as showing a smile or shaking hands or saying hello or Sat Sri Akal or Namaste go a long ways. But it is us that have to make the effort even if we feel other person looks or sounds rude. In Martinez, my wife and I know probably around 500-1000 people if not more. First thing, we stand out as a couple, she being non-Sikh, white and I being an Indian with a turban. Then we have three kids in different schools, in different sports, soccer coaching etc. A lot of the times, people know me and talk to me but I have no clue who they are. We love this town where we live, since it brings a community feeling and people are very nice. The number above would just be 10-20 if we would just stay in house, watch TV most of the times and not be active in the community. The point is that it is we as Sikhs that have to make a lot more effort to bring a change in the mindset of our fellow Americans before the next terrorist attack happens and more Sikhs are attacked because of ignorance.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

This is life!

Well! The last few weeks have been real busy at work, home and studying for this PE (professional engineer’s) electrical exam that I am taking at the end of this month. I missed it by two points last time and hope I pass this time around. My wife and I have been also busy brainstorming on our business that we are thinking about launching by next year. There are a few hurdles that need to be crossed. I have had to self teach HTML, Javascript to work on the web page for our company, which has been both frustrating and fun at times. I have created the HTML files and an order form file. Next steps I have to learn are how to link them to the main front homepage and how to launch on the net. Seems so hard right now, but we will see. I guess I am just too cheap to pay someone to do it or may be it is the engineer in me that is driving me to learn some programming. And then there is soccer, which all three kids are playing this year, and one of those I am the coach. Can’t wait for Thanksgiving weekend, when all of this would be over and I can just sit on the couch and relax. Oh, yeah, I forgot, we also moved into this fixer upper house that we bought last September. My wife and I had been working like crazy fixing it. May be I will post some before and after pictures of it one day. You will see what I mean when I say fixer upper. We literally had no kitchen for whole three months. Had to gut out everything. New wiring, plumbing, drywall, tiling, cabinets, appliances and sink. I feel like a mistry, tarkhan, lohar, jat, etc. –all in one! I mean there was nothing. By December, we all were so tired of eating out that we did not want to see another subway, Mcdonalds, Pizza etc. for a while. Finally, by grace of Akal Purakh Waheguru! we finaly have a kitchen to cook real food. Next project, get ready for rainy season and put a drain around the side of the house.

Hey, I guess all of this is nothing. Sikhs are supposed to be in Chardi kala and radiant all the times.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Robonexus convention!

Robonexus, the largest Robotics convention event will be held this October 6-9 at San Jose Covention Center. I went to the one about two years ago with the kids. They ave robots playing soccer and other games. It is also interesting to see the latest gadgets and gizmos out there. For all those EE's. Teams from all over, Japan, India, China, Europe and local compete and showcase their latest projects. Check it out