Saturday, November 25, 2017

Episode 1 of Punjab Travels: Flight from London to Amritsar... (Part 2)


We continued to the customer service desk at the end of the airport after walking around like headless chickens. There were approximately 8 people talking among themselves, whilst there were 2 customers, and later more, waiting to get some help. Nothing to get surprised by in India, but the 8 people were happily chatting away and having a laugh and had no concern that customers were waiting. My dad had to shout out for help and only got their attention when he asked to immediately speak to a manager.

When the manager arrived, my dad explained that our flight has been delayed, the wait is too long, and the service is unacceptable. The manager said that he will see what he can do and try to book us in an earlier flight. My dad quickly got out his phone and took his photo to his surprise. He said, "Why have you taken my photo? You are not allowed to do that. It is against the law." My dad replied, "Well, I need proof of who I spoke to. If you do the job, nothing to worry about. If not, I will be complaining to Air India and sending names and photographs of staff." I explained, "I think it is within the law to have some proof of who you are dealing with. You seem a nice guy and I am sure you will resolve the issue quickly." The guy seemed rattled, but the photo trick worked! We were booked into the next earliest flight (which still meant 3 and half ours more wait that originally planned).  Drama over?  Obviously not- it's India!

We were told to collect our new tickets at the desk that we had previously gone to and where they were extremely friendly and helpful (note: that's sarcasm!). We went to the desk with a print out and with a service "without" a smile the Air India staff told us to go to the check-in desk instead. When we got the check-in desk, there was one man doing the running around and helping to address issues of angry and frustrated customers, whilst other workers were talking among themselves and lazing around. It turned out the man who was doing the running around was the supervisor at the Air India checkout and the people lazing around were his workers, who clearly didn't respect him or follow his instructions. It got to the point that my dad shouted at some workers saying that they are lazy workers and how rude they behaved towards their supervisor who was running around whilst they were just standing there.

This supervisor's name was Abishek Bana.  A really nice guy, stuck among fellow work staff that clearly had little or no work ethic. The poor guy was getting customers left and right shouting at him, but in all fairness people were being sent to him to get things done because the other Air India staff were too lazy to solve their issue. Everyone afterwards felt sorry for the guy.

Anyway, he got our new tickets. But the problem was that he had to retrieve our luggage from the flight that we had previously checked in to (on the say so of Air India clueless staff). The drama continues. Will anyone in Air India baggage pick up the phone? ...No! Will they respond to their radio? ....No! Will any worker asked to go to retrieve the luggage, come back having the job done? ...No. Abishek Ji, had to physically leave his desk and go downstairs and retrieve the bags and re-tag because no one else was competent or responsive to do the simple task. However, it took a while. All the angry customers, gradually became calm when they saw how much running around Abishek was doing and how he was trying his best he could.

Everyone was getting tired of standing up for such a long time. With no seating available (welcome to Delhi airport), I thought getting a wheel chair was the next best option (not for myself!). So I went to get a wheel chair from the counter 2 meters away. I pointed at my dad and Bhua Ji and said, "These elderly people cannot stand, can you please provide two wheel chairs." There were about 10 guys standing there doing nothing (-seems like a reoccurring theme)!  They said, "Okay". A minute later, they are still standing there doing nothing. So I just got a wheelchair and said, "I am taking it." The came back and said, "We need to swap the wheelchair." They kept starring. I realized that they wanted a tip. But I think they had the wrong guy to ask for a tip- as they weren't getting one!

Whilst all the upset passangers from our flight got together, it felt like we had formed a small support-group. 8 hours just flew by in the airport by talking to one another. Abishek came back and had re-checked in everyone and re-tagged everyone's luggage. We felt so sorry for this guy who was the only one seemed sincere about his job that we got him to join us for a group photo. Everyone appreciated Abishek's efforts.

Abishek gave all the passengers a free meal pass considering everyone was hungry. The place where they could eat was through security in the waiting area of the airport. After going through security, we went to the waiting area. Whilst waiting we found out it was one passenger's birthday. Everyone sung happy birthday. She said, "This is the most memorable birthday she has ever had." (I wouldn't recommend celebrating your birthday at Delhi Airport or an Air India check-in desk!). After doing morning Nitnem, those who wanted to eat went upstairs to this vegetarian restaurant and showed them the meal passes that Abishek had given. Guess what... The restaurant worker got upset and didn't accept them. After arguing with the restaurant worker, the manager eventually came and reluctantly allowed the passengers to have a free hot drink and meal (after seeing the group photo with Abishek!). The size of the coffee cup was so funny. It was the smallest cup I have seen!

Anyway, we eventually arrived at Sri Amritsar.

To be continued...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Episode 1 of Punjab Travels: Flight from London to Amritsar... (Part 1)

Passages from my diary of my trip to Punjab and India in November 2017:

We set off from London Heathrow Airport. Security checking was find. The staff knew about Sikhs wearing a small Kirpan and said nothing. I was waiting for my bag to come out of the scanner and realized that it had not come out. The lady on the other side of the desk had pulled it to the side. She said that she is going to check the bag. I said she cannot do this. She said "Why?" I said, "It has my food for me to eat. You cannot touch it. I can open it and show you instead." The lady looked confused and bewildered by my request. She repeated, "I just want to open it up and check everything. I repeated, "I am happy for you to check but you cannot touch my food. I will open it up for you." She said, "I will wear gloves(?)" I said, "Even if you wear gloves, I will not be happy." In that time, a Gursikh who works at the aiport arrives (good timing) and explains to the officer that I can open it up. She then said, "Okay, please open the bag." I said, "I can't just open it. I have my touched my shoes. I need to wash my hands first. I cannot touch my food bag with dirty hands." The lady probably thought I suffered OCD (which for the record- I don't). She looked so confused and bewildered. I went to wash my hands and came back. I opened my bag and showed that I had Sabjee in the Thermos pot. She was satisfied and we moved on.

When getting on the plane (Air India), the staff looked so depressed. My dad and I were discussing that it looked like they were being forced to work. Service with a smile was not on the menu for the flight. After the 8 hour flight, we arrived in Delhi to catch our connecting flight. If you thought you would get smiles, "please" and "thank you" at Delhi airport, then you got to be kidding. People looked so depressed and emotionless. Another observation was that you have 5 people to check your passport in the distance of 2 metres (perhaps slighly exaggerated!). Makes you think someone thought "How can we reduce unemployment?... I know what... we can get people to sit around the airport doing nothing and get people to flash their passports at the them." Vaheguru!
 The plane landed around 10pm and the connecting flight was at 5am to Amritsar. We were asked to collect our luggage and re-check in the luggage for the domestic flight. We collected the luggage and went towards the check-in counter. The Air India guy says, "The flight is now leaving 9am!" (Yes- 4 hours delay!). What we call "delayed" in the UK, Air India calls "not delayed, but re-scheduled!" I explained that aviation law says that customers are compensated for delays, especially 4 hours. The guy was adament that flight is not delayed, but it has been re-scheduled, so we shouldn't complain! 

So we check-in our luggage (for a flight that flies in 11 hours time!) and go upstair to complain to the Air India help desk. Sounds easy, you think. You got to be kidding! We got to one desk of Air India and see several people sitting there and chatting amongst themselves. You would think people are being paid to meet their friends and catch up on talk. After disturbing their (non-work related) conversation, they asked (without a smile), "What do you want?" We explained that our flight is delayed by 4 hours and we need an earlier flight. Are they going to help?.... No.  "You need to go to the customer service desk at the end." They probably thought, "Thank God! We can carry on with our tea party and chat now."

To be continued...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Beatifully sung Keertan by a non-Punjabi Gursikhi child...

Below is a video of Kirtan by Bibi Amrit Kaur. She is originally born in Holland to white Dutch parents. With Guru Sahib's Grace her mother and her discovered Sikhi and took Amrit some years ago. In a short period of time she has learnt to speak Punjabi, read and write Punjabi, read Gurbani and do Keertan. It is an inspiration for all of us, especially those who make excuses for not being able to read and sing Gurbani or be able to speak fluent Punjabi.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Smart Sikhi 101 - Karam Philosophy

Amazing new short Sikhi videos by Share Charity UK:

Smart Sikhi 101 - Karam Philosophy
Karam philosophy also known as Karma is the framework in which we create our destiny. A lot of which is determined through our previous lives. We have an opportunity to meet the True Guru or Satguru while alive. The Gurbani in the house of Guru Nanak destroys our Karam. This videos describes the different states of Maya and the Fourth State of Sehaj.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Punjabi poem about Guru Nanak Dev Ji...

ਕੱਲ ਰਾਤੀਂ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੇਰੇ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਅਾਿੲਅਾ...

Author: Unknown
ਕੱਲ ਰਾਤੀਂ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ
ਮੇਰੇ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਅਾਿੲਅਾ..
ਕਹਿੰਦੇ ..ਕਾਕਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਸੋਚ ਦਾ
ਅਾਹ ਕੀ ਹਾਲ ਬਣਾਿੲਅਾ ..?

ਮੈਂ ਕਿਹਾ ..ਬਾਬਾ ਜੀ ਅਸੀਂ
ਅਾਪਣਾ ਫ਼ਰਜ਼ ਨਿਭਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..
ਤੁਹਾਡੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਲਈ ਰੋਜ਼ ਹੀ..
ਫੋਟੋ ਅੱਗੇ ਮੱਥੇ ਘਸਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..!

ਦਾਤਾਂ ਲੈਣ ਲੲੀ ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਤੋਂ..
ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਧੂਫਾਂ ਧੁਖਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..
ਥੋੜੇ ਥੋੜੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਬਾਅਦ..
ਅਖੰਡਪਾਠ ਵੀ ਤਾਂ ਕਰਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..!!

ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਦੁਅਾਰੇ 'ਤੇ ਵੀ ਅਸੀ
ਕਰੋੜਾਂ ਰੁਪੲੇ ਲਗਾੲੀ  ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..
ਸੁੱਖਣਾ ਸੁੱਖ ਤੇਰੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੱਗੇ..
ਰੇਸ਼ਮੀ ਰੁਮਾਲੇ ਰੋਜ਼ ਚੜਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..!!

ਸੁਬਹਾ ਸ਼ਾਮ ਅੱਧਾ ਅੱਧਾ ਘੰਟਾ
ਪਾਠ ਦਾ ਫ਼ਰਜ਼ ਵੀ ਿਨਭਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..
ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਜ਼ਨਮ ਦਿਨ 'ਤੇ...
ਦੀਵੇ ਬਾਲ.. ਪਟਾਕੇ ਖੂਬ ਚਲਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..!!

ਪਹਿਰਾਵੇ ਭੇਸ 'ਚ ਕੱਚ ਨਾ ਰਹੇ..
ਪੂਰਾ ਦਿੱਖ'ਤੇ ਜੋਰ ਲਗਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਅਾਂ..
ਤੁਸੀ ਪਤਾ ਨੀ ਕਿੳੁਂਂ ਖੁਸ਼ ਨੀ..
ਅਸੀ ਤਾਂ ਹਰ ਰਸਮ ਨਿਭਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਾਂ..!!

ਬਾਬਾ ਬੋਲਿਅਾ..
ਮੈਂ ਕਦ ਅਾਖਿਅਾ ਸੀ
ਮੇਰੇ ਵਿਚਾਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਰੱਟੇ ਲਾਓ
ਮੈਂ ਦੱਸੋ ਕਿੱਥੇ ਲਿਖਿਆ ੲੇ..
ਭਾੜੇ 'ਤੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਪੜਾਓ..!!

ਮੈਂ ਕਦ ਅਾਖਿਅਾ ਸੀ..
ਮੇਰੀ ਫੋਟੋ ਨੂੰ ਧੂਫਾਂ  ਲਾਓ.!

ਮੈਂ ਕਿੱਥੇ ਲਿਖਿਆ ੲੇ..
ਮੇਰੇ ਦਿਨ 'ਤੇ ਪਟਾਕੇ ਚਲਾਓ..!

ਮੇਰੀ ਸਮਝ 'ਚ ਕਿੱਥੇ ਹੈ
ਕਿ  ਗੁਰਦੁਅਾਿਰਅਾਂ 'ਤੇ  ਧੰਨ ਵਹਾਓ ..!!

ਮੈਂ ਤਾਂ ਸਿਰਫ ਿੲਹ ਚਾਹਿਅਾ ਸੀ..
ਮੇਰੇ  ਵਿਚਾਰਾਂ  ਨੂੰ  ਅਪਨਾਓ..

ਬਾਬੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੀਅਾਂ ਿੲਹ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੁਣ ਕੇ

ਮੇਰਾ ਚਿਹਰਾ ਹੋ ਗਿਅਾ ਬੱਗਾ ਸੀ..
ਮੇਰਾ ਰੋਮ ਰੋਮ ਕੰਬਣ ਲੱਗਾ ਸੀ..

ਬਾਬੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਨੇ
ਮੇਰੀਅਾਂ ਅਖਾਂ ਵਲ ਤਕਿਅਾ 'ਤੇ ਕਿਹੰਦੇ

ਤੁਸੀ ਮੈਨੂੰ ਮੰਨੀ ਜਾਨੇ ਹੋ
ਦਸੋ ਕਿਹਣਾ ਿੲਕ ਮੇਰਾ ਮੰਿਨਅਾ ਜੋ
ਮੇਰੀ ਸੋਚ--ਵਿਚਾਰਧਾਰਾ ਤੋਂ
ਤੁਸੀ ਸਭ ਖਿਸਕਾੳੂਦੇ ਕੰਨੀ ਹੋ..!

ਿੲਕ ਤੁਹਾਥੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਵੇਲਾ ਸੀ..
ਗੁਰਦੁਅਾਰੇ ਭਾਵੇਂ ਕੱਚੇ ਸੀ..
ਸਿਖਿਅਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਅਮਲ 'ਚ ਸੀ..
ਤੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਭ ਪੱਕੇ ਸੀ..!!

ਸੰਗਮਰਮਰ- ਸੋਨੇ ਲਾ ਲਾ ਕੇ..
ਭਾਵੇਂ ਮੰਦਰ ਪਾ ਲੲੇ ਪੱਕੇ ਨੇ..
ਦਿਖਾਵੇ ਅਡੰਬਰ ਅਮਲੋਂ ਖਾਲੀ..
ਮੇਰੇ ਸਿੱਖ  ਸਿਖਿਅਾ  ਤੋਂ  ਕੱਚੇ ਨੇ..!!

ਮੈਂ ਬੁਤ ਪੂਜਾ ਤੋਂ ਰੋਿਕਅਾ ਸੀ..
ਤੁਸੀਂ ਮੇਰੀ ਫੋਟੋ ਪੂਜੀ ਜਾਂਨੇ..!

ਮੈਂ ਰੋਕਿਅਾ ਅੰਧਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ਼ਾਂ ਤੋਂ..
ਤੁਸੀਂ ਧਾਗਿਅਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਹੀ ਡਰੀ ਜਾਂਨੇ ..!!

ਮੈਂ  ਜਾਤ- ਗੋਤ  ਛਡਾੲੀ ਸੀ..
ਤੁਸੀ ਨਾਵਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਸਜਾੲੀ ਜਾਂਨੇ..!!

ਲਾਲੋ ਲੲੀ ਮੈਂ ਲੜਿਅਾ ਸੀ..
ਤੁਸੀ ਭਾਗੋ ਨੂੰ ਜੱਫੀਅਾਂ ਪਾੲੀ ਜਾਂਨੇ ..!!

ਰਾਜੇ ਸ਼ੀਹ ਮੁਕੱਦਮ ਕੁੱਤੇ..
ਤੁਸੀ ਤਖਤਾਂ' ੳੁਪਰ ਬਿਠਾੲੀ ਜਾਂਨੇ..!!

ਮੈਂ ਸੱਜਣ ਠੱਗ ਭਜਾੲੇ ਸੀ..
ਤੁਸੀ ਹਾਰ ਤੇ ਵੋਟਾਂ ਪਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ..!!

ਛੋਡਹਿ ਅੰਨ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਸਮਝਾਿੲਅਾ ਸੀ
ਤੁਸੀ ਖੁਦ ਹੀ ਵਰਤ ਰਖਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ...!!

ਪਹਿਰਾਵਾ ਭੇਸ ਹੀ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਨਹੀਂ..
ਤੁਸੀ ਕਿਹਨੂੰ ਬੁੱਧੂ ਬਨਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ..?

ਸਿਖਿਅਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਕੋੲੀ ਮੰਨੀ ਨਾ..
ਪਰ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਕਹਾੲੀ ਜਾਨੇ..??
ਮੇਰੇ ਲਈ ਤਾਂ ਦੋਸਤੋ..
ਿੲਹ ਝੰਜੋੜਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਖੁਅਾਬ ਸੀ..
ਸੁਪਨਾ ਸੀ ਜਾਂ ਸ਼ਾੲਿਦ ..
ਮੇਰੀ ਜ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੀ ਹੀ ਅਵਾਜ਼ ਸੀ..!!