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The Pride of a Lion

“Cut your hair, already”, several fifth graders yelled at me as they pushed me against the hard brick wall.

I tried to argue with them, but there were to many of them and then one of them punched me in the gut. I fell to the ground hard and started crying. I remember feeling so confused, trying to figure out what I had done to them. People started crowding around in large numbers, to see what was happening. Almost all the kids laughed at me, the older kids laughed because they were mean and the smaller ones laughed to fit in. Luckily, the bell rang and recess was over. I was truly, “saved by the bell.”

I had put it off for too long; I had to tell some one such as my teacher and my parents about these bullies.

I went to the front of the class where my teacher s desk was and complained to her about what had happened, “Some older kids were bullying me in the playground. They told me to cut my hair.”

“You should cut your hair. So much hair is disgusting, she told me viciously.

I went to the back of the class room where my seat was and I started crying with anger, not to those bullies or my teacher, yet to myself for being, so weird, and so different. I was now determined to cut my hair before the day was over because I could not take this any more.

Finally the long awaited moment had arrived; the day was over and my mom and dad were waiting for me outside of the school to take me home. My dad asked me how my day was so, I told him about my horrifying day. I told him about the teacher s cruel comments and the fifth graders bullying me. I told him that I just wanted to cut my hair today, and that my mind was made up. Understanding my situation my parents headed towards the closest barbershop.

On the way to the barbershop I started looking at my parents, with their uncut hair. And I asked them why do we have to keep our hair uncut and long. My parents stopped the navy blue Montana and parked it to the side. They told me everything about my religion and why we don t cut our hair and what is the meaning for not cutting our hair. My parents told me that the tenth guru or teacher of Sikhism named Guru Gobind Singh Ji put the final brick on the house of Sikhism. God told him that he was to make a new religion, a religion so unique, that when a Sikh is walking down a street that Sikh stands out from the crowd and everyone knows that he is the son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Now as I look back at what my parents told me; I understand that the Khalsa is founded not only to have a religion where nothing that god gave to us was changed. People were not supposed to cut their hair because God gave them hair and what he gave should not be changed. The Khalsa is also a religion free from all prejudice, this included social status and gender. All this and more made up the Khalsa.

After listening to that I told my parents that I wanted to keep my hair and be the son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. My parents looked at me with great pride and joy. On the way home my dad told me that he was going to switch me to another school, and that we would move away from here as soon as possible.

My dad transferred me to another school in 3 days. I had almost no trouble there because most of the students in the population in that school were Sikh and east Indians. I fitted in nicely, and I had no problems.

I came to another school for my fourth grade year. People kept on asking me, ” Is that a ball on your head?” The sting of racism was still present, but not at the same intensity as in my first school. Until around 5th or 6th grade in my elementary school many made fun of me for my long hair. They pestered me on and on about my appearance. Now that I am a senior in High School I feel that I have been accepted for my religion. No one insults me or pester me because of my appearance, yet they recognize me for it. I now have a sense of pride, a pride that doesn t let people make fun of me, a pride of a lion.

What I am today is based on all of the guidance and struggle that I went through in order to be what I am today. With my family and god on my side I overcame all barriers and obstacles in order to succeed. So, when I look in the mirror I do not see the pain or hardship that I went through but instead self respect. This is a brief glimpse of my life on what I went through in schools and how I overcome it.

I never had nor never will have the urge to cut my hair, and be like everybody else. I sort of like being unique and different, this way I am a voice in the crowd because I just do not want to blend in with everyone else.



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