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Wearing My Faith On My Sleeve

ਮੇਰੀ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਮੇਰਾ ਜੁਨੂੰਨ ਏ,
ਮੇਰੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੀ ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ੀ ਰਹਿਮਤ ਏ।
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My Dastaar Is My Passion,
A Blessing By My Guru.
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I started tying it when I was around 9 years old. Which means, more than 20 years now. More than two-thirds of my life.
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This is why, I do not feel odd while tying it. I feel odd when I am not tying it. I feel incomplete. It has grown to be a part of me. My Dastaar.
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It has had its own challenges. Imagine a girl of 9, who already looks like a boy, tying a knot on her head. Bullying even by kids that small is possible.
Imagine a young girl, entering her puberty, tying a turban. A butt of jokes.
Imagine a teen, fully into her youth, tying a turban.
I have had kids approach me giggling, and ask me whether I am a boy or a girl, in super crowded places like markets and stores.
I have had young people, standing in groups, staring at me, pointing fingers, and giggling, laughing and making fun of me.
Sadly, all this happened in my own state, Punjab. Where I belong to. Where my religion was born.
It was clear bullying. I know what impact does it have on a young child’s psyche. Fir years I dressed up to vanish in the background. Unflattering clothes and colours. I developed a bossy nature, because I had to overcome a lot of complexes. It was a defence mechanism.
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Yes, I survived all that.
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Moving down South was a relief, honestly. I had people come to me, curious to know why I tied a dastaar. I would talk to them happily. Complete strangers. Talking to me, enquiring about my faith and giving me a hug or a handshake before leaving, saying ‘good job’!
A girl once came up to me in my office in Pune. She said, she had observed me in our Mysore training campus. After many months! And she gave me a hug!
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Delhi was not different in treating me as my homeland Punjab did.
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Yes, the behaviour is starkly different. So much that writing about it has brought tears to my eyes right now, no kidding.
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But Guru’s love and strength made me sail through. So much, that today, I do not bother. I am at my sassiest I have ever been in my life.
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One thing remained constant.
My passion for my Dastaar.

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