Saturday, October 1, 2011

Playa in the Himalaya’s: Day 2- THE GOLDEN TEMPLE aka CLUB GT !!!!

I know I may have left you hanging and wondering what happened….but that’s the point right.

Day 2:

Luckily the bus driver was a nice guy and decided to make me move. At first I didn’t know how to react to this but I listened and once I got to the front of the bus, he warned me that I wasn’t around safe people and that I shouldn’t fall asleep near them. He gave me the okay to fall asleep in the front of the bus but after his warning I still didn’t feel comfortable. After a 12 hour ride and what turned out to be the best chicken I’ve had since in India from the side of the road, I finally arrived in Amritsar at 7:30am. I came all the way to see the famous Golden Temple. It is known as one of the most beautiful and the most sacred site for the Sikh faith.

Before entering the temple I was instructed to cover my head, take off my shoes, and wash my hands and feet. The security took these rules very seriously; I put my shoes in my bag because although it was a temple, I remembered that scene from Slum dog Millionaire when Jamal and Salim steal people’s shoes from the Taj Mahal. The guard saw them in my bag and would not allow me to enter without taking them to the shoe stand, then once I returned he questioned me several times about whether I had tobacco or alcohol in my bag. I repeatedly told him no but even after letting me pass I could tell he didn’t believe me. Upon entering I literally stopped at the top of the stairs and could do nothing but say “ WOW”. That was just the first of my many WOW moments on this trip.

I walked down the stairs and stood across from what I thought was the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. An immediate reverence came over me. I stood and just looked for about twenty minutes then I sat and looked for another 20 minutes. There were fish in the water and people dipped their feet in, washed their faces, and some had their full bodies immersed in the water as if they were going for a swim. I couldn’t dare put more than my feet in the water. Everyone was looking at me like” Why is she here?”, but I was grateful that rather than asking me questions that in the temple all they felt was appropriate was a simple stare. The stares only heightened once I decided that I was going to actually go inside the temple and see what goes on. As I stood in the never ending line of people with offerings known as “langars” I could only imagine all that was going through their heads, and I know they were dying to ask me something. Once I finally made it inside I was greeted with drums and singing. There were elaborate decorations of orange and fuchsia flowers to compliment the gold everywhere. I really don’t mean to offend anyone but being inside made me think of being in a nightclub. You know the fancy ones that have 3-4 levels and every floor has something different? That’s exactly what it felt like, upon entering each floor there was a different drummer ( dj) and form of worship occurring (dance). I went all the way to the rooftop where there were very little people. The people up here were devoted worshippers and engaged in their praise. A man came over to me and asked me where I was from. I kindly told him the U.S. and geared up for the many questions that would follow. Instead of questioning me he simply shared some advice and you couldn’t tell me God wasn’t speaking through him. “ You know, you may be having a hard time with your job, feeling uneasy or like things aren’t right, but this is very peaceful place; sit here for maybe five minutes and just think and clear your head, everything will be ok”. For those that don’t know, I have been more than uneasy and unsure about my job here in India. I’ve shared about me doubting my purpose but over time it has grown to just being frustrated with everything about the job. Just before leaving for this trip I had a hard week, and felt that I was becoming a target but prayer helped me handle the situation the “Spelman” way. I read somewhere that if you don’t like the situation you’re in, you don’t have to settle for it. So I asked God to send me a sign because I seriously started to consider if I was settling. Now, I usually struggle with signs because I’m a very direct person so I was nervous that I could miss it, but God knowing how I am gave it to me straight on that rooftop. This man not knowing anything about me decided to share that of all things with me. I sat down on the rooftop and prayed and cried. I had an overwhelming gratitude for what I had just received.

I walked away from the Golden Temple knowing that God has a plan for me and that India and the challenges that come with it are a part of it. So from the words of P.Diddy in “Let’s Get It”....” I was born ready….I was already on fish and spaghetti...take that”. LOL. I know that was a lot but I had to give yall that…it was only right.

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