Keerthan Ceremony

The little girls Prabhgun and Hargun prostrated themselves in front of the Guru Granth Sahib(holy book of Sikhs); Following in the footsteps of her new friends was little Medha. With a piece of cloth covering her head like the rest of us at the Gurudwar, she joined the girls in singing their hymns.

Our friends Harpreet and Rajinder organized a kids’ Keerthan ceremony on their son Akum’s 14th birthday. When we received the evite for the event, we jumped at the chance to observe a different religion from up close. Not only would we have a quality Indian time, we reasoned, Medha would enjoy the music too.

And enjoy she did. The music kept her seated in one place for quite sometime but when she got tired of it she decided to explore the house. She even played with their family dog.

At the Gurudwar upstairs lay the holy book. Kids took turns fanning it with the help of a Chauri( a fan made up of a metal holder and Yak hair or artificial fiber). A projector screen stood at the head of the room where the lyrics and meaning of the songs sung were projected. Next to it sat kids singing devotional songs while playing a harmonium and drumming a pair of tablas. Never in my life had I seen children, and that too American-born, involved to such an extent in a religious ceremony.

From the translation of the verses on the screen I gleaned this- What the Sikh religion preaches is almost the same as the teachings dispensed in the Bhagavath Geetha or the Bible. I guess we all have a lot in common!  Spending time with a bunch of other Indians and listening to an Indian language, Punjabi, spoken so far away from home brought back memories of it. I don’t know why but both Prasad and I felt so proud to be Indians that day. We just hope Medha, some day,  appreciates where she’s coming from.

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