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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:55 pm 
Chapter One

Prior to boarding school in India, I was a bright and creative child with a kind and compassionate nature and a goofy sense of humor.
I seemed to be at the right place at the right time quite often to help animals, insects and other children out of difficult predicaments. There was a dog that always sought me out whenever he had a thorn in his paw he needed removed, which was nearly every day. I released birds when they got stuck in vines, rescued bugs from puddles and defended other children from bullies as far back as age three. I had a zany sense of humor expressed through little cartoons that I would draw for my family to make them laugh.

Around age 9, I became aware of the legends circulating in the community I was part of, about an amazing and mystical school far far away in "the Land of the Gurus". A school in paradise just for us Sikh kids, where no one would bully us about wearing diapers on our heads or for eating the yellow-green mungbeans-and-rice glop our parents lovingly sent us to school with.

The more I heard the propaganda about this school in "the Land of the Gurus", the more I wanted to go. There we would finally be with our own kind, in the-land-of-the-gurus, and all troubles would be over. Peace would ring through out the land. We socially engineered misfits of society, would fit in at last.
Yogi Bhajan, our beloved teacher who loved us so very much, would come be with us every year. It would be warm and cozy, spiritual and beautiful. Our hearts would expand and grow and we would be groomed to be humanitarian saints performing God's work in the world... in the-land-of-the-gurus.

On that fateful day that I boarded the plane to fly clear across the world, I had no idea there would be no turning back. There would be no way out. I didn't know I would be in jail for seven years of my life.. On the plane, the radio was an exciting novelty, as it had been forbidden fruit. Listening to rock and roll on the radio was considered a sin according to our beloved teacher, Yogi Bhajan. Back home, I had secretly listened to "Billy Jean" by Michael Jackson on the radio and became an instant fan.
Little did I know as I listened to the haunting lyrics of, "Sweet dreams are made of this" by the Eurythmics, that it would be the theme of my incarcerated life at Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary Jail.

The other forbidden fruit I immediately had access to was sugar. This was practically against my religion back home. We exited the plane a grueling 24 hours later and were corralled into a dark and dingy military green room with oppressive 6 foot low ceilings, where we could drink sodas, eat roasted peanuts ... and wait. As I sipped on Orange Spots and Limcas, I wondered where I was and why I was there. No one communicated with us; we were cattle. One doesn't need to explain to cattle where they are being taken or why they are waiting in a holding cell.

In a delirious daze of sleep deprivation and culture shock, we were herded onto buses to continue the long and arduous journey into the unknown. I will never forget the ten hour bus ride where my senses absorbed India for the first time. I had not been warned about the poverty and the living hell that beings suffer in, that I would witness. I cried the entire ride as I witnessed diseased people without legs or help left to suffer on the side of the road, people living in structures made of garbage and cow dung, and animals that were nothing more than rotting skin and bones, sadly haunting the streets.

The scenery changed as the bus barreled recklessly around curvy switchbacks, making it's way up into the mountains as we drew close to our destination: Mussoorie. We arrived somewhere and as I got off the bus, I looked around in utter bewilderment thinking "where is the school?" This can't be the mystical place of the legends of the-Land-of-the-Gurus..

In this moment of shock and horror as I nervously crunched on hard candy, I took in my foreboding surroundings with a sinking feeling of absolute dread. From nowhere, a man I didn't know walked up to me, reached out, grabbed my ear and twisted hard as though he was trying to pull it off. He then walked away, no words, no explanation, leaving me so confused wondering what I had done wrong. I had never in my whole life been intentionally physically hurt by anyone, let alone a grown man. My heart shattered.

This man was Nanakdev.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:09 pm 
What you went through was just awful, but that's a dreadful understatement. I just don't have the words to convey the depth of my anger, sorrow and sympathy for you and all the other children. Please continue sharing your story if you can.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:06 am 
EDITED ON 6.14.14

Dear Aletheia,

I'm so sorry you were abused and imprisoned in harsh conditions.

Your story sounds a little like the Buddha's. After an enchanted childhood, he abruptly (in his case, of his own free will) left the garden of Eden and was immersed in the suffering of the world. It caused him to ask profound questions about the nature of life and the universe. I imagine that you have that capacity too, although right now it may feel drowned in the PTSD you are experiencing.

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