Community and Communication: GIEU India 2015 (by Monica)

The Golden Temple is often spoken of in conjunction with it’s great sense of community. All are welcome at the Golden Temple; they don’t ask for passports, visas, money, identification, or a million questions about why you’re visiting. We do get some odd looks while walking around, but no one tells us we aren’t welcome at the Sikh temple. While doing seva, the people already working there welcome us into the groups already washing dishes, rolling roti, or peeling garlic. The langar hall itself brings so many people together into one room to share the same meal. We sit amongst the locals; some glamorously dressed in bangles, rings and, rhinestones others wearing a long dirty T-shirt and no shoes, some have three or more young children with them and others come with their two best buddies. The Golden Temple brings together all sorts of people to make this one global family.

One of the limitations to becoming closer to my global family though is the fact that we don’t speak the same language. The Temple attracts people of all cultures, religions, and corners of India and the greater world. Typically people at the temple either speak Punjabi or Hindi, and some of the younger ones know a little English as a second language. Despite the fact that I can only say “what is your name,” “my name is,” “a little,” and “more” in Punjabi, we’ve managed to communicate and have become very friendly with the others doing seva. Through limited hand gestures and one or two words in English we can have conversations and make bridges between our two cultures. So while our cultures are literal poler opposites found on different sides of the planet, it’s extremely fulfilling to know that we are all in this game of life together.

-Monica

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