Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coming to a Foreign Land - The first month

Why did I come here? That's the question I'm trying to answer since I have arrived in US (almost going to be a month now). Ofcourse, there's an official purpose - education and a good career afterwards. But before coming here I had numerous other reasons for being here. Maybe after coming here, I've forgot most of those. One of them being to make myself stronger internally - spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. Also, somewhere inside me I wished experience a life without the leisurely comforts I have been used too; obviously it was very stupid to think so.

My first few days were really bad. It was a complete change of life for me. I had to do the daily chores which I hadn't done ever before. Adjusting to this was difficult and it took time to get used to it. Also, one of the most distressing thing was that I could not do my daily Paath and Hukamnama routine. I did start doing Paath after 2-3 days, but still there was something missing. I didn't had a laptop, so taking a hukamnama was almost impossible. I got my laptop after 5-6 days; but it took me around 12-15 days before I could get back to my routine. But... (I don't know what to say...) Still, I feel deprived of something; maybe my Gurdwara routine.

Another reason for my distress is my roommates. I guess, I have chosen wrong roommates to live with. They are not like me; and I can't definitely become like them. They drink and one of them was a surd who has cut his hair. I have friends who drink and had thought I would be able to live with people who do so. But the only thing they have to talk about is drinks, sex and none of their sentence is complete without a abusive word. I had wished companionship of 'Sat Sangat' (good people) and I had to live with people like these. I never even maintained acquaintance with people like these and now I'm in a situation where I have to live with them. There's nothing I can really do about it and was afraid that I don't take any of their bad habits.

But then, as always, there was the power of Gurbani to help me out. A katha by Prof. Darshan Singh Ji of the shabad 'Jo-Jo Dise So-So Rogi' came across my mind. I had listened to it several times, while driving. In this Prof. sahib metaphorically describes a Sikh's life as that of a sandalwood tree. He says that the poisonous snakes can never harm the fragrance of sandalwood, instead the sandalwood still spreads its aroma inspite of being surrounded by those snakes. Similarly, a Sikhs life can't be harmed by bad people, rather they spread their own fragrance. This one example gave me strength. I try to fill my inner mind with the chants of Waheguru whenever I hear a abusive word from them. Ofcourse, its not always possible; but still I try. Maybe that may help me keep-off acquiring some bad habits. Its not that I myself don't have any bad habits, I agree that I do have many - infact a plethora of them but am always (maybe, sometimes or maybe, a very few times) trying to improve.

One of the most disturbing thing while living here is the feeling of loneliness. Back home, I had a great support system of my family and friends. Out here, there's no-one with whom I can talk. Sometimes I feel that where have I come. There's nothing out here, just a laptop with which you have to hang out in your room. I do talk with my family almost daily, but can't share everything with them; else they may take tension. I do call up a few friends sometimes but the time-difference and their schedules usually restrict me of the opportunities I can get to talk with them. This feeling of solitude sometimes takes such a large toll that it haunts incessantly. I sometimes feel that, I should leave everything out here and go back "home". And yes, there's a certain positive thing about all this - I have suddenly become more obedient of the advice/suggestions of my family members, which earlier I sometimes wouldn't agree upon.

What I am overall experiencing out here is a miserable state of mind. "Miserable" also looks like a euphemism to describe it; it almost feels like I've come from heaven to hell. Here is a couplet which comes to my mind:
Jadon Na Kuch, Vikhe Agge
Taayion Banda, Vekhe Pichhe

(When the future looks unclear; only then a person looks back and relishes his past)

P.S.: I was in a deplorable state of mind when I started writing this post. (So, I really don't know what all have I written in it and where it came from. The post maybe incoherent and ungrammatical.) But, after spitting out everything I am feeling a lot better.