“For me the word Kaur is a big identifier, meaning it it helps me connect from cultural, religious and tradition standpoints. When I was younger, I went to Gurmat camps. While I felt I was given exposure to our religion, I found we were being sermoned to rather than being engaged. My parents provided my brothers and I outlets to do Paat and weekly Gurudwara visits.
When I attended BCIT, I wanted to take elective courses focused on South Asian topics from Kwantlen. I was afforded the opportunity to learn about the religions of India, how Sikhi emerged, connections to other religions and the role women have played. I think my interest was so much more heightened because the courses were more history focused rather than preaching.
Growing up I spent a lot of time in Abbotsford because of my parents’ business. My parents worked so much, so we didn’t get to spend a ton of time with them, but us kids were lucky enough to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities. I think the biggest lessons my parents instilled were to work hard, to never feel you are entitled to anything or believe you deserve something. Instead, my parents were excellent examples and showed that effort and hard work will lead to positive outcomes.
During high school, our family moved to Richmond and like any kid who changes schools it was a challenge. I think this philosophy played out in my first job and actually really my career. I remember being curious about marketing and working as a co-op student with a company that later would hire me on. I stayed with that company for nearly six years and they became almost like family. I learned as much as I could about marketing and then went on to spread my wings.
I found being a part of a cultural festival in the city for years helped me to reconcile how I saw negative media attention about our community. I felt it was important I be a part of the marketing of this festival so that I could be a part of something positive and help change simple perceptions of our community beyond gangs, shootings, or other negativity.
I definitely lucked out when finding my husband, my life partner. I wasn’t necessarily looking for someone with a similar background, but I now realize how having the same religion helps. We are able to understand one another from that perspective without having to talk about it. Now we go to the Gurudwara on a regular basis. Its a tradition that was instilled from a young age for me and it provides an opportunity to slow down, be introspective, and gain peace of mind.
Its interesting how much pride I feel when my husband, who is a police officer, participates in the annual Vancouver Nagar Kirtan. I think all these connections to our roots help us to be grounded, especially now since I am pregnant with our son. We have had numerous discussions and it is important that we carry on the legacy of our culture and understanding of our religion.
While my husband and I are not hyper-religious, we have decided to select our son’s name with the tradition of a Hukamnama. We also have decided that our son will be keeping his hair, especially up until he has maturity to decide if he would like to continue on the path of having a turban or not. I think as an almost new parent, there is fear about whether we are doing enough, will our language or religion disappear with this new generation. These are all worries or thoughts you start to have when you are about to become a parent.”