Sunday, October 15, 2017

Visiting a Sikh Temple

Photo: Kerri Singh
Every moment of the day has seemed precious to me.

I particularly enjoyed lunch (langar) with Kerri today.

I have been wanting to attend the Sikh Temple, ever since Pouria told me about his own visit to the one in north east Calgary.

Kerri told me that she would take me to the one in southwest Calgary someday, and that day occurred today.

She explained a few things to me in preparation for our visit.
Photo: Kerri Singh
Both women and men have their hair covered in the temple. 

As well, there are no shoes or sock worn. She told me that we would sit upstairs for a while, listening to music and hearing some text.

I really did have a wonderful time. 

Most people sat cross-legged on the floor – all but the very old who sat on wooden benches around the perimeter of the room.

People entered, and at the offering box left what they wished to give and also knelt and bowed their heads to the floor.

Photo: Kerri Singh
I was mostly watching the old people as they did this.

One of them bowed and then popped himself up as though he were a 20 year old.

On rethinking today’s experience, I should have gone to him and asked what is his secret to long life and good health.

And flexibility.

I identified more with the old man who made it to the floor, but only with a helper. And getting up was also a problem. He should have just come and sat on the side with the rest of us.

On the other hand, I give him that he needed to perform that ritual, even with the aches and the loss of balance that was his.

Photo: Kerri Singh
The trio playing the instruments must have been doing a familiar melody to most of the people there. 

The woman next to me seemed to be humming along with him. To the left of me, I could feel her rocking and hear her voice.

Veer delivered a substantial ball of food to me as I sat listening to the music, more than a golf ball, but much less than a tennis ball. I later learned this was Karah Parshad (sweet flour and ghee-based food),

Kerri could take the recipe out of her head as she told me what was in it, ending with, "and Veer loves it".

Photo: Kerri Singh
 I sat and ate, watching others to see what the method was.

Veer seemed quite happy downstairs when we went there and began to get our lunch.

Kerri thinks that the abundance of it might be signalling Diwali.

Today there were lots of sweets, some pekorahs and samosa and a veritable vegetarian feast along the buffet line.

There were 2 sizes of plates: medium and large. 

This is the perfect way for my food.
I like everything separated ... not touching.
Veer took the large one, so I did as well.

 The only place I faltered along the line is when the server asked me, “One chapatti or two?” Without breaking the rhythm of the work he was doing he gave me what it seemed I was asking for: two.

I had a paneer dish (that seemed like butter chicken), a vegetable dish, a garbanzo bean dish, some sweet cocoanut rice, and as Veer puts it, “liquidy yogurt with some cucumber in it today”. “

The spices in this food are going to make you very sleepy,” said Veer.

 He was right.

Delicious and I came right home and had a long nap.


PS  I ate with the headscarf on.  I am not used to eating in this fashion.  I found the scarf getting into my mouth before the food did and so I seemed to be jamming the food into a cloth barrier.  I am going to give this some practise before I go back next time.  And I will be going back.


  1. I want Veer with me when I get to go to the Sikh Temple. What a wonderful guide.

  2. If you sit beside Veer, he will tell you everything that is going on. Who is scrapping the plates, who puts them in the rinse water, and then how the washing machine works. He will give you a detailed description of the food, and the important flag outside of the Guru Dwara. The only down-side for Veer is that he will be talking so much that he will forget to eat his food.

  3. I am definitely putting that on my to do list for my next trip to Calgary.

    For my belated birthday party (planned many weeks in advance), Julie and Marla took me out for dinner. We started heading to Quaaout Lodge , but a phone call to make sure they were open made us turn around. A power outage resulted in them not being able to serve dinner that night.

    Our Plan B was Namaste: Authentic Indian Cuisine . We shared three plates: palek paneer (heat chosen was 3/5), butter chicken (heat of 3/5), and veg jalfreze (heat of 2/5). Rather than rice or naan, we all chose rice and naan (two garlic butter naan orders, one plain).

    If it is your birthday, you get a free desert. It was a hard choice for me between gulab jamun and mango ice-cream. The mango won out, at least for my 51st year to heaven.

  4. Thank you for your Dylan Thomas reference. You couldn't be more fun. Buy yourself more mango ice-cream before your 52nd birthday comes. Have that flavour many times a year. I am still staying with vanilla topped with a raspberry syrup made from the bushes in the garden.