Heading to Toronto (June 10, 2016)

It hasn’t been until now that I’ve allowed my mind to start slowing down. Well it’s kind of difficult to do anything else as we are in a plane en route to Toronto. Among planning for the launch event, going to work, being there for the kids, and going with the flow for the unknowns, we just haven’t had time for anything else really. No complaints as this is life and we are extremely thankful for it. We watch daily as the demands and wants of our children change. One day they need us for one thing and the next they’re independently doing it and we long for the days when we could do it for them. However, rest assured they come up with many, many other grandeur ideas where they keep mom and dad busy! It is interesting how we long for what we had. In this reflection we tend to miss the present. We spend so much time planning for the future and looking back at the past that we forget to be present.

As we go through milestones in a variety of capacities, it’s intriguing to see what switch is going to be turned on and lead you down what path. Veerhood. It is one of those paths. In our wildest dreams growing up, we would never have thought of speaking about our culture, let alone promoting it with such enthusiasm and passion. We are proud of who are as Panjabis and we want to share that. We want to speak with others and learn about their perspectives and insight. We are curious about the who, what, when where, why and how’s of our culture. As kids, we did as we were told without questioning why such behaviour was appropriate or what the meaning was. We went wherever our parents took us without asking what was going to happen there and why. You just did it.

We don’t want you to just do it. We want you to want to do it. We want you to be curious. We want you to question and understand why our culture is the way it is. Pique your curiosity and start to quench that knowledge gap. It is only when we start to understand the intricacies of our Panjabi culture that we can evoke excitement and passion in our younger generation.

I have had the honour and pleasure of speaking to a variety of individuals over the past few weeks with the planning of Veerhood’s launch event. Wow! My mind has truly been stimulated and challenged in these conversations. These interactions start very simple with a moment of us speaking about what Veerhood’s vision is and what Bridging the Gap is. The responses and questions that we have received in return have been overwhelmingly fantastic! Like-minded individuals just needing a platform to speak about what’s really on their minds. In the most positive way, it’s like waking a bear after hibernation… All rested, filled with ideas and ready to share but not knowing where and with whom as you enter this new area.

Talking about new areas, Toronto is our new area. We are looking forward to Seva Food Bank’s annual gala tonight. We have seen, heard and spoken to individuals passionately involved and emotionally invested in this cause but now it will become our reality. We are looking forward to gleaming from this energy and how we can be challenged positively to evoke more conversation. It’s great to speak and share but I would like to sit back and listen and learn tonight. Your mind never tires of learning. We are ready!

Coming home (June 13, 2016)

Well, here we are, on our way back to Vancouver. What an amazing trip it has been. It was relaxing, eye-opening, stimulating, rewarding and motivating. Throughout the weekend I attempted to chronicle in my head what I wanted to see on paper as I started to share my thoughts. However, there was too much stimulation for us to even attempt to capture everything. So I let go and allowed myself and us to enjoy the moments, the present. I am pleased that we did and am proud of us for letting go.

Our night at the Seva Food Bank gala was motivating. We saw a passionate group of individuals who came together for a cause that effects people without barriers to age, sex, race, creed, nor religion. Food security is a huge social issue across our nation that we sometimes take for granted as we are not exposed personally to not having enough to eat. As a matter of fact, we take advantage of what we have. That’s where our pause occurs…

Our objectives are grounded in our values of optimism (chardi kala), humility (nimrata) and service (seva), inspired by the community (sangat) for the benefit of all (sarbat da bhalla). For these reasons, our allegiance to Seva Food Bank was strengthened this past weekend. The parallels in thinking and beliefs with this community of people has empowered us to continue with our message and fuelled us to work harder. Work harder to getting the youth intrigued with their Panjabi background and teachings. This is the vision of Veerhood and what we are trying to do, that is bringing the culture to younger generations. Seeing this explicitly this past weekend has reaffirmed our vision and the passion and motivation we have for it.

Motivation. We have even more motivation now. Motivation to continue sharing, expanding and strengthening the need for Panjabi cultural awareness. Our culture holds a wealth of knowledge that we need to tap into and share with everyone across generations. We do our part by researching and connecting with individuals to learn and expand our knowledge base. However, the story-telling history that we learned through artifacts and commemorative materials was amazing! You would be surprised to learn about some of the present-day fashion statements, beliefs and rationale for doing things actually originates from Panjabi culture. This goes back to the why are things the way they are questions we posed earlier. Very intriguing and thought provoking.

Here we go again, thinking. However, this time the thinking is not about the worries, the stresses of tomorrow and definitely not about what will people think. It’s about immersing ourselves in our Panjabi culture and pulling out key facts and information that will entice our younger generation to want to know more. Our challenge is going to be sifting through history and carefully selecting items that will guide our youth to want to know more. Support them to ask questions. Give them confidence to want to know more. But most importantly, to ignite that spark to start having conversations about our culture.

What is Veerhood all about? Evoking conversations. As we become more receptive to asking questions, the richer our discussions will be. It’s okay to say, I really don’t know much about my Panjabi culture. Veerhood will provide a platform to allow one to feel accepted and further foster that growth of cultural awareness. The more and more we talk about being Panjabi, the more it will become a part of our everyday conversations and allow for the passing of information from generation to generation.