Being Equal Under a Golden Sun

 

Probably one of the most humbling experiences that I’ve ever had when traveling happened in Amritsar, a town in Punjab which is the most holy of holy town for Sikhs.  Amritsar has the Golden Temple, one of the most, if not the most, sacred temple for Sikhs.  We visited there and walked around in awe of the splendor of the temple.  Unfortunately, the holiness and spirituality of the temple was missed out on us as our knowledge of Sikhism was none existant.  At this temple, everyday they cook a pilgrimage lunch and everyone is welcome.  So we decided to go and have this lunch.  We were given our steel plates.  We went into this massive dining hall with rugs rolled out in rows.  Everyone has to sit down side by side cross-legged with the steel plate on the floor.  These men come along and slop some gruel on your plates and water in your cup.  You have to cup your hands together so that they can throw some chapatis in your hands.  Then you bend over your plate and eat the food as quickly as you can.  As quickly as we were shoveling the food down our throats, we were still the last to finish in our row and the workers were busy trying to wash the floor getting ready for the next round of people.   I had this 12 year old girl beside me with her family.  She kept tapping me on my knee and speaking  to me.  She wanted to know how old I was, where I was from, how long I had been in India etc.  All of this in a mixture of English and Hindi.  The experience was so special.  It was so humbling to be equal with everyone in the room.  Although some people were intrigued by our presence there, we felt so equal to everyone eating the same gruel as everybody else.

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