Kelowna, British Columbia
I crossed Highway 97 leaving behind me suburbia and entered orchard land. What’s exciting about each new day and each new place is that there’s a new road to explore.
Down this windy rural route, A Sikh farmer on his tractor shouted, “Bhagavan ki jayho!” He recognized my cloth and felt that some good fortune had come his way. He stopped the tractor, turned off the engine, descended the machine and proceeded to greet me. With a high wire fence between us we talked as best we could, he is pure Punjabi and me in English with some attempt at miniscule Hindi.
The farmer was exceedingly excited. To see a Vaishnav monk on his turf was a first for him. After some communication I walked on until I came to a cul-de-sac. Upon my passing by the farmer’s cherry orchard once again the farmer, who identified himself as Singh, halted his tractor again to see me once more. This time he insisted he feed me but I couldn’t oblige as I had to return to Vancouver with my crew.
What I did learn from this encounter is that at the heart of Indian culture is this remarkable warm hospitality. It’s something we can learn from in the west. Of course, there is something to be said about the softness people of Indian origins have for the Sadhu (monk). Respect or reverence is to be commended and not demanded.
I hope that one day I can fit the shoes of a genuine sadhu. We certainly have to go beyond dress code and decorate ourselves with true quality.
I was happy to have met farmer Singh. I made a friend because I went for a walk.