Years ago Shanti Kaur questioning the Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh about the practice of having the Palay (the shawl) wrapped over the Man’s shoulder, and the woman holding it from behind as the man leads the woman. She thought this was some old non Sikh practice and was wondering why we do this. Especially from the aspect of why the woman had to be in the back and following the man (being subservient). There was a first answer which I don’t remember…(Maybe Guruka singh can fill in) which she listened to but was not satisfied, so went back to him again. He said the second time….something like “You see the woman being dragged by the man and following him as a lesser than equal. Marriage is a carriage. I see the woman being the leader, holding the shawl like reigns of the horse, directing the Man from behind. It’s all how you look at it.”

Thanks to Gurmustuk for posting this!

Guru Ang Sang
Angad

Are you A modern Sikh??

July 26, 2005

On numerous occasions I have been asked by Sikhs and Non Sikhs if I am a Modern Sikh. When they are asked what do they Mean by modern. Yes! you guessed right. Do you have a turban or not?

Sada Sat Simran Singh is what I call a modern Sikh. A person who is modern in the true sense of the word. He is dressed in the full roop given to us by Shree Guru Gobind Singh Jee and he is enjoying a chilled coke.

Yes I wear a truban and I maintain my roop but I am modern because my thoughts are modern. These thoughts are such due to the teaching of my religion- Sikhism. Thus I believe the roop and the teachings of Sikhism make one a Modern Person.

Empty Pitcher….

July 25, 2005

AN EMPTY PITCHER MAKES NOISE

Life would be boring without jokes. We all crack jokes….. In India, most of the jokes, for some years now are being cracked on the Sikhs. There are these 12 o’clock jokes, Banta Singh-Santa Singh jokes, Giani Zail Singh jokes, Baldev Singh jokes, Khalistan jokes…….the list is endless.

Picture yourself as a Sikh and look for an honest response from within yourself…would you be able to handle these day in day out of cracks targeted at you by colleagues/friends/the unknown person standing next to you/anyone and everyone taking the liberty. I know your immediate reaction…….”sure man, it’s only a joke.” You are absolutely right, it is only a joke. However when a joke enters the bloodstream as a cancerous virus and you get targeted daily, right from your childhood, let me tell you, as much as you believe you can, the fact is you will not be able to handle them.

On the other hand, look at the Sikhs. Have you ever seen anyone of them getting irritated with these digs & cracks on them. You wouldn’t have. Ever thought why they don’t get effected? Well the answer lies in a couplet by Saint Kabeer :

Kaho Kabir chucha ghat bole. Bhariya hoe so kabahu na dole. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib…..Page 870)

Says Kabeer, an empty pitcher makes noise. But that which is full, makes no sound.

Sikhs by nature are self-respecting, courageous, hardworking and enterprising. Look into their short span of history and you will find their pitcher is full of sacrifices and hardwork which has contributed so much towards the nation building. If not for them, the course of Indian History would have been very different. That’s what makes them the SPIRIT BORN PEOPLE and gives the ability to simply ignore the digs targeted at them. Volumes can be written on contributions made by the Sikhs, who constitute less than 2% of Indian population. I am listing below just a few, which should make my friends start thinking…..

· Sikhs have always believed in the right of an individual to practice a religion of his own choice and have always fought against tyranny. Jahangir, the 4th Mughal ruler wrote in his memoirs, Tuzak-i-Jahangiri about Arjan Dev, the 5th Sikh Guru, “….for a long time the thought had been presenting itself to me that he should be bought to the fold of Islam….”. In 1606, when the Guru refused the forceful conversion, he was put to death by boiling in a cauldron and sitting on a hot iron plate.

· Aurangzeb, the 6th Mughal ruler was a fanatic ruler who desired to convert every Indian to Islam. Tyrannized by his forceful conversions, a delegation of Kashmiri Brahmins in 1675, approached Tegh Bahadur, the 9th Guru of the Sikhs. He offered to sacrifice his life for their cause. This was a unique & unparalleled sacrifice in the annals of human history. He laid down his life in defence of religious tolerance, of freedom of worship, and freedom of conscience. He gave his life so that the Hindu’s right to wear the sacred thread is not violated despite the fact that Sikhs themselves did not believe in these rituals. This was a martyrdom for the defence of basic human values.

· For about 7 centuries, since the invasion of Mahmud Ghazni in the 10th century, many ruthless invaders played havoc with the life of Indians. Recurring defeats had sapped the psychic energy of the Indians so much that they had resigned themselves to their fate. It was Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs who imbibed the fearlessness amongst the Sikhs to fight against all odds. He wrote to Aurangzeb saying “when all means have failed, it is right to pick up the sword”. In the year 1699 he proclaimed, “call me by the name of Gobind Singh, only if i succeed in making the sparrows (Indians) fight against the Hawks (mighty foreign rulers) and am able to make one Sikh fight against an army of one Lakh”. He set himself against oppression and intolerance. He did not fight against any territory or worldly power, or against any religion or sect. He made nationalism the religion of Sikhs. Apart from the numerous Sikhs who lost their life in defence of the country under him, his 2 sons were martyred on the battleground, while the other 2 preferred to be bricked alive than give up their esteem. In 1709 he left this world with a lifetime of heroic events which changed the History of India.

· Bulle Shah, a celebrated Sufi Muslim Saint has said, “I neither say of the past, nor of the future, but i talk of the time of Guru Gobind Singh & declare openly. That but for him, all the Indians would have been circumscribed and converted to a foreign culture and religion”.

· In 1710, Banda Singh Bahadur was the first Indian to re-establish Indian rule after 7 centuries of foreign rule in India, post a fierce battle with the forces of Aurangzeb, although this was short lived.

· Between 1713 and 1801 the Sikhs were homeless and living as Guerillas, demonstrating heroic acts of courage at every possible instance. The tyrant rulers had put a reward of Rs. 25/= for every Sikh head and Rs. 100/= for every Sikh caught alive. Those caught alive would be cut to pieces. Many new vocabulory (of which many jokes against Sikhs are made nowdays) were given currency among the Sikh guerillas which showed with what brave face and heart they had accepted the challenge of their persecutors.

· In 1738 Nadir Shah, the Persian ruler invaded India from Kabul and went on a rampage upto Delhi. He returned to Persia in summer of 1739 and carried back a huge booty of looted wealth, Kohinoor diamond, women, artisans and slaves. To avoid the summer heat, the convoy would rest during the day and travel in the night. At the peak of the day heat at 12 noon, the Sikh guerillas started attacking his convoy right from Punjab upto the Indus. They freed many women, artisans, slaves and deprived him of large amount of wealth. The Sikhs escorted the women back to Delhi. It was for this heroic act of fighting against the might of Nadir Shah by a handful of Sikhs and freeing the women, that the Sikhs started getting seen as people who go mad at 12 Noon and therefore the 12 o’ clock jokes of nowdays. When Nadir Shah asked Zakhariya Khan ” who these barbarians where and where they lived”, Zakhariya replied ” they are the followers of Nanak & live on saddles of their horses”.

· Post the return of Nadir Shah to Persia, Zakhariya Khan went on a rampage against the Sikh movement and killed 10,000 of them in a few days.

· Between 1748 & 1765, Ahmad Shah Abdali the ruler from Afghanistan rampaged India 9 times. Again the Sikhs attacked his returning convoys during the peak summer heat and freed 2200 women and escorted them back to their homes. Yet again a heroic act at 12 noon, which unfortunately the others perceived as a maddening act and therefore further strengthened the 12 noon syndrome. These acts of Sikhs aggravated Ahmed shah Abdali, who swore to take revenge at an appropriate time. During the 6th invasion, he caught the Sikhs unaware and 25,000 of them were killed in a few days. But the spirit of the Sikhs remained high as one Nihang Sikh of that time commented “only the soft and unbaked ones of us have fallen off”.

· Finally, Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, in 1798 bought to an end the 800 years of foreign invasions into India through Khyber pass, by bringing it under their control. This was the best gift the Sikhs gave to the nation which finally allowed the rest of India to breathe in peace. Hari Singh Nalwa, who manned the Khyber pass for years became a household name in Afghanistan. Even today, the Afghani mothers put their children to sleep with the threat of Hari Singh Nalwas name.

· It was Ranjit Singh who bought back to India, the world famous Kohinoor diamond, which was looted by Nadir Shah earlier.

· If not for the Sikhs, who captured Kashmir in 1819, today it would have been a part of Afghanistan.

· Ladakh, which earlier was a part of Tibet, owes its existence on the map of India to Zorawar Singh, who captured it in 1836.

· Sikhs were the last to surrender to the British in the sub-continent and were the first to raise arms against them.

· After 2 bloody Anglo-Sikh wars did British manage to annexe Punjab as the last kingdom on the map of British-India Empire. It is an irony of fate that the Sikhs had to fight against their own countrymen as British forces in saving Punjab from British annexation. It was not due to lack of soldiers courage & conviction that the wars against British were lost, but a treachery by Gulab, the Dogra primeminister under Ranjit Singh, who joined hands with the British in exchange for the title of Kashmir on winning the war. British records say about the Sikhs “….such a mass of men, fierce and untamed in their dying struggle, who fought like Lions and ran right on the bayonets and struck on their assailants when they were transfixed”.

· Inspite of the loss of empire to British, the spirit of freedom amongst Sikhs was soaring high. Whereas the British would daily fire a canon at 12 noon by the East India Co. time, which was the Calcutta time, the Sikhs on the other hand refused to recognize the British time. There is a one and a half hour time difference between Calcutta and Lahore time and therefore the Sikhs maintained their firing of the Canon at 12 noon Lahore time. Amongst the general public there was a confusion as to which canon denoted the 12 noon and therefore at the fire of the first canon the public would say “12 o clock of British” and on the second fire, an hour and a half later, they would say “12 o clock of Sikhs.” Soon the spirit of defiance and freedom was forgotten by fellow Indians and they started linking the madness demonstrated by them during Nadir Shah and Abdalis invasions at 12 noon to the act of defiance during British period and there took place the 12 o clock jokes.

· Much before 1919, when Mahatma Gandhi issued the call for satyagraha (boycotting English goods), the Sikhs under Baba Ram Singh had started the boycott movement in the year 1863. Eighty-two Sikhs were tied to canons & blown apart by British.

· Sikhs were the only Indian community to be internationally acclaimed as early as 1897, for their heroism and valor. Where in the history of warfare can you find the instance of heroism as demonstrated by 22 Sikh soldiers manning the signal post of Saragahi in North-West province with no ammunition back up. All the 22 of them fought till the last bullet had been fired against an Afghan army of 7000 warriors. The 22 soldiers then charged with their kirpans to be eventually cut down to pieces. The easier way out would have been to surrender but the spirit of Sikhs has always made them do what Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru had said, “Grant me this boon, O Lord, at last when the end of life is near, I may die fighting in the battlefield for the sake of righteousness”.

· The first battle for freedom from British was won by Sikhs, when after loss of many lives in 1929 they were able to take over the charge of their shrines from British. On this victory Mahatma Gandhi sent a telegram saying ” THE FIRST DECISIVE BATTLE OF INDEPENDENCE OF INDIA WON – CONGRATULATIONS”.

· Where in the world can you find an act of sacrifice like that of Sikhs in 1922, willing to offer lives of their wives, children and themselves by lying on the rails to stop a train of freedom fighters who only had to be fed because they were hungry. The train finally stopped after killing a few Sikhs.

· Not many can claim the valor with which Bhagat Singh offered himself at the altar of Indias’ freedom in 1931.

· There is not another instance of bravery as shown by Udham Singh in 1940, when he went to London and shot dead Sir Michael O’ Dwyer at a public meeting, as a revenge for the Jallianwala massacre.

· Out of 42,000 recruits in the Indian National Army under the command of Subhash Chandra Bose, 28,000 soldiers contributing 67% of strength, were Sikhs.

· Contribution of Sikhs who are less than 2% of Indias population , in the freedom struggle of India against the Book source : “History of Indian National Congress”.

· Partition of India in 1947 brought innumerable death to Sikhs and was the greatest disaster known in the Indian history. Surely the Sikhs paid the heaviest price for the freedom of the country.

· Punjab lost its most fertile part to Pakistan during the partition. However, today due to hard labor of Sikh farmers, the Punjab in India produces much higher quantities of food-grain than the fertile Punjab in Pakistan. Punjab contributes 40% of rice and 51% of wheat into the central pool of food-grain in India.

· Post partition, many of the landless Sikhs who settled in the jungles of Terai in Uttar Pradesh have today made the area as fertile as Punjab.

· Contribution of Sikhs towards the Indian Defense Services is the highest with respect to their 2% population size. This community has also won the maximum number of gallantary awards since independence – 5 Param Vir Chakras (PVCs), 40 Maha Vir Chakras (MVCs), 209 Vir Chakras (VrCs).

· During the emergency of 1975 imposed by Indira Gandhi, no organized protest was made across the country, by any section of community. Only Sikhs conducted daily morchas, involving 40,000 arrests.

· You will never find a Sikh ever begging on the roads, inspite of being uprooted & made homeless many a times, they have demonstrated the ability to rise back from the scratch. Each one of them actively contributes towards the nation building. Almost 30 years ago, Professor Milton Friedman (Noble Prize Winner) an American Economist, on his visit to India had humorously remarked, “Lease out India to the Sikhs for a while and there will be no problem of development”. Could there be any greater compliment to the Sikh spirit and enterprise.

Forgetting the endless contributions made by Sikhs towards nation building, our friends find them to be a laughing stock. Well, it makes no difference to the Sikhs as their pitchers are filled with unparallel acts.

As a nation we may lack the sense of humor but Sikhs are a rare species, with a great sense of humor. This community has learnt to fight, succeed and laugh.

It is time for my friends to do a bit of introspection.

Amardeep Singh

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July 25, 2005


Haha… Posted by Picasa

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July 25, 2005


Aakal Purkah Ki Fauj! Posted by Picasa

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July 25, 2005


The entire group that was at St John’s Island. I had a balst overthere. Thanks to all of you for making this camp a huge success Posted by Picasa

Waheguru Jee Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Jee Ke Fateh!

Thanks to Gurmustuk Singh who posted this pics on his blog. These pictures brought back memories of the time when I was at the Darbar Sahib on 12th April 2004. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to take part in this Sewa.

Guru Ang Sang!
Angad Singh

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July 25, 2005


Aardas being done before they begin cleaning the Harminder Sahib with milk. Posted by Picasa

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July 25, 2005


Scrubbing the floor of the Harminder Sahib with Milk Posted by Picasa

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July 25, 2005


Water is being pored, its done to wash away the milk that is used to scrub the floors Posted by Picasa

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July 25, 2005


The carpets are being laid and the Harmindar Sahib is almost ready to receive the Guru Granth Sahib Posted by Picasa

Amazing Kirtaneeyas

July 23, 2005

The Chardi Kala Jatha, 3 young American Sikhs who do beautiful Kirtan and are role models for youngsters all over the world. You can listen to their kirtan on line at Sikhnet by searching for Chardi Kela Jatha. If anyone knows where I can download/buy more CD’s please let me know.

Avtar Singh jee does beautiful kirtan. Here he is in Boston doing kirtan on a Tuas. He teaches Gurbani Kirtan. To read about him and to download his kirtan please visit http://www.gurmatsangeetproject.com/Pages/AvtarSingh.asp

Dharm Singh Zakhmi jee and his Jatha did amazing classical kirtan. to read more about Zakhmi jee and to listen to his kirtan please visit http://www.gurmatsangeetproject.com/Pages/DharamSinghZakhmi.asp

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

July 23, 2005


It’s a treasure that’s coveted by historians, souvenir hunters and antique collectors. These bags at the revenue records department contain documents that date back to the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the British government. These 200-year-old land revenue records have been with the government since Partition.

What makes these documents unusual from scores of land revenue records of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s darbar—known as the Khalsa darbar—are that they are in gurmukhi script. Historian and chairman of Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), J.S. Grewal says: ‘‘The official work in Khalsa darbar was conducted in Persian script as is evident from the large research material handled by the historians but I have heard that some of the private correspondence of the Maharaja was in gurmukhi.’’

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July 22, 2005


This is me..calm..yet ready to attack if i have to Posted by Picasa

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July 22, 2005


Mess with me..this is what happens Posted by Picasa

Song Of the Khalsa

July 22, 2005


Many speak of courage. Speaking cannot give it.It’s in the face of death that we must live it. When things are down and darkest, that’s when we stand tallest.Until the last star falls, we won’t give an inch at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone. Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

Guru Arjan gave His Life, to stand for what was right. He was burned and tortured, five long days and nights. He could have stopped it any time, just by giving in. His Strength a solid wall, He never gave an inch at all!

Sons of the Khalsa, remember those who died. Stood their ground until their last breath, so we who live now, might live free lives.

A princess is not royal, by her birth or blood inside.But if her family’s home is Anandpur Sahib,She’ll walk with such a grace and strength, the world will bow in awe. Until the mountains fall, she’ll never give an inch at all!

Daughters of the Khalsa, in your strength our future lies. Give our children fearless minds, to see the world through the Guru’s Eyes.

Baisakhi we were thousands, but only five had the courage for dying. Then one brave man, one flashing sword, turned us all to lions. And now we live His Legacy, to die before we fall. And like the five who answered the call, we can’t turn back at all.

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

The Tenth Guru gave even His Sons, to give the Khalsa life. His Words stand like mountains, against the winds of time, That Khalsa will rule the world, all will be safe in its fold. But if the Khalsa falls, there won’t be a world at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone. Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

Many speak of courage. Speaking cannot give it.It’s in the face of death that we must live it.When things are down and darkest, that’s when we stand tallest. Until the last star falls, we won’t give an inch at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.Gives our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

Sons of the Khalsa, remember those who died. Stood their ground until their last breath, so we who live now, might live free lives.

Daughters of the Khalsa, in your strength our future lies.Give our children fearless minds, to see the world through the Guru’s Eyes.

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

Mind and soul are His alone.

Warriors of the World

July 22, 2005

Warriors of the World By Manraj Grewal ,

From a little Punjab village, they set forth to fight in the 20th century’s biggest battles.IT was September 20, 1939. We’d just landed in Egypt when a heavy drone filled the air… I looked up and saw the sky filled with German planes. They came in waves and rained bombs.’’ An hour’s drive from Chandigarh, not far from the disputed Sutlej Yamuna Link canal, is a little village called Kalour.

In the falling rain, it’s picture perfect, with emerald fields just an arm’s length from colourful concrete houses on brick lanes that meander in several directions. On the surface, it’s a regular Punjabi village. A little run-down, a little frayed. But if you care to listen, the place is brimming with stories of battles, heroes and camaraderie.

At last count, the village had over 190 war veterans. Eighty-eight-year-old Subedar Niranjan Singh, his beard rolled up fauji style, is not the only one who paints a sepia picture (Singh was with the British army in Egypt during World War II) for the mind’s eye—of booming guns and marching troops. Kalour’s faujis take you everywhere—from one battle to another, from the Congo to Gaza, Egypt to Waziristan, Italy to Burma. ‘‘I didn’t get a single letter from my family during my two-year stint in Egypt, they thought I was dead,’’ grins Niranjan Singh. Kalour also sent many of its men to Basra before Independence. Sepoy Waryam Singh, 80, who was with the British Army’s 26 Frontier Force at Basra in 1942, recalls how some villagers even penned a ditty to the Iraqi city: ‘‘They used to sing ‘Na jayeen Basra nu, lekhe jaan ge naale’ (Don’t go to Basra, all your deeds will travel with you).’’

Set on undulating acres of green, the village’s tryst with the army dates back to the days when it was part of the kingdom of Patiala. “Kalour was known for its tall, strapping men, for whom it was a tradition to join the royal army. Later, the British encouraged them by giving handsome jangi inaam (war rewards) to parents who sent two or more of their sons to the armed forces.” It was while scouting the Punjab countryside for World War II veterans that Bajwa chanced upon this village. “To my surprise, I found that it had around 200 veterans, many of whom were of British vintage,” he says. Naib Risaldar Kaka Singh, the tall, strapping kind, is among them. A champion wrestler and discus thrower, Kaka Singh fought in Albertville in Congo where his 63 Cavalry took on the Kantangan rebels in 1961.

While stories about battles fought for the British resonate with the romance of foreign lands, the real pride is obviously reserved for the wars India has fought since 1947. Naik Gajjan Singh, who served with the 2 Sikh, one of the most highly decorated Infantry battalions of the Indian Army, was there when they picked up a Maha Vir Chakra during the 1965 war with Pakistan. Stationed at Poonch, 2 Sikh was given the task of capturing Raja Hill picket from the Pakistanis. ‘‘We made a final assault on September 6. Our commanding officer, Lt Col NN Khanna, fought like a lion. He ultimately fell to the bullets, but only after capturing the picket,’’ says Gajjan Singh. ‘‘Later, we used to say, ‘Asi raja lita, te raja dita’ (We won a king, but after losing a king),’’ recalls Gajjan, who specialises in chronicling the 1965 Indo-Pak war. Five members of his family, all from Kalour, fought in the war. In fact, every period has its historian. The year 1947, for instance, belongs to Niranjan Singh, who tells you how his men installed 200 phones at the Red Fort on August 15, 1947. A month later, they used a raaj hal—a plough drawn by four bullocks—to lay phone cables at Ambala. Havaldar Harchand Singh is the expert on the 1962 Indo-China war. ‘‘It was a disaster. The enemy was only 200 metres away, yet we didn’t have orders to fire,’’ he fumes, recalling his artillery regiment’s humiliating retreat to Misamari in Assam. The ’71 war? Ask Sepoy Kaka Singh of Bombay Engineers, who suffered permanent injuries in both legs after a burst of enemy fire made him dive into the Ravi from a Bailey bridge he was working on at Chhamb Jaurian in Kashmir. What about Kargil? ‘‘Actually, the two soldiers who took part in it haven’t retired yet,’’ says Capt Mewa Singh of Artillery, who is fiercely proud of India’s victory in the battle. But the truth is that the village of proud veterans hardly boasts any serving soldiers these days.

Army as a tradition is on its way out. ‘‘Youngsters these days are much more ambitious,’’ explains Niranjan Singh, whose grandchildren are bankers and IT professionals. Ardent fans of cricket with a team of their own, the village youth are now looking forward to a computer centre. ‘‘An NRI has promised to open one for the village girls,’’ says Mewa Singh. With IT, cricket and even fashion designing vying for their attention, the armed forces don’t stand much of a chance. But the old soldiers still hope against hope. ‘‘There’s nothing like the Army. Money can’t buy izzat,’’ says Niranjan Singh. Izzat they still have in plenty. Why, just look at grand old Niranjan Singh. In Kalour, his word is law. Tell him that and he laughs. ‘‘I am so old, but remember fauji taan marde, marde wi nahin dam torda (Soldiers never say die, even till their last breath).’’

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“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is totry to please everyone.” – Bill Cosby

This quote caught my eye. Most books and people talk about how to succeed. This quote talks about the same thing but in a very different way. It tells you the key to failure. The moment you do that you will fail. So as long as you don’t try to please everyone, you will succeed, its that simple!

Guru Ang Sang!
Angad

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July 21, 2005


My Nani Jee, she is just amazing. Posted by Picasa

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July 21, 2005


Sirjan My cousin bro. Just started tying a turban..not bad huh?? Posted by Picasa