Ever wonder how some people have this passion, this aurora, this fire that burns so bright? It is the excitement in their voice when they are sharing their work or something they care so much about. It is the smile or sometimes the serious look. It is gesturing of hands in anxiousness to get their thoughts across. It is an accumulation of everything you see, you feel, and you hear. I think it’s just beautiful to witness it and to feel it yourself.
I’ve been fortunate, that’s all I can say. I found community in the people around me wherever I went. Don’t get me wrong, I did face many hurdles- from people saying I was too Sikh or not Sikh enough. However, I had parents who cultivated a strong foundation for me and allowed for my curiosity to grow, well within limits they are Punjabi after all. (Mom & Dad I’ll never be able to repay you for all that you have sacrificed. Thank you to all the parents who have provided for their children and continue to do so). My pillars of support have taught me to face the challenges, at times with a smile and other times with tears, and not hide or walk away.
That spark I talk about. I found it while I was in undergrad through my education and extracurriculars. I found it in being a Sikh, a learner. I recognized and allowed it to grow through the Jakara Movement, my sangat in California, and my education. I pushed myself to new heights, tested uncomfortable boundaries, and sailed waters I never thought I would. I mean, did we ever think growing up we would have an all girls’ Sikh leadership retreat that talks about social justice, issues girls face growing up, Sikhi, and so much more? Bhujangan was established in the beautiful summer of 2012. Did we ever think of trying to connect Sikh high school students or for there to be a Sikh high school conference? Nishaan and the Sikh Honors and Service Society were a reality earlier this year and last. Did I ever think a Sikh organization would be fully functional with local chapters and multiple full-time employees? Honestly, I never even know you could work for a Sikh nonprofit or that this was a priority our community saw there to be. But it was all possible and is possible. I sit here smiling and my screen because I have to reel myself in before I get too excited about talking about the real impact we are making (yes, you included). All of this, it starts from sparks. Sparks of excitement, activism and conversations that lead to actions.
It is a spark that allows us to not feel like work is work and allows us to stay up into the late hours of the night without thinking about the sleep we are missing out on. I continue to find that spark at each new corner because I believe we all have the ability to make a difference with our actions. Small or large, it has an impact. You know why? Because you never know where you might just spark someone else’s passions. Here’s to continuing the conversations and doing the work that makes us happy.