I wore my first turban to this Spiritual Fair sort of event where we had a Bhajanist booth. This was in Philadelphia in 1972 or 73. All the cults were there, the Hari Krishnas, Ananda Marga, Divine light Mission and we thought we were way cooler but of course! I remember everyone told me that I looked pretty. I had pounds of bright red hair I was covering up. My family (all redheads) was more freaked by my covering my hair than the other aspect of Bana I think.
Anyway, I disgraced myself because about three hours into the event I had to go into the bathroom and rip my turban off and let my hair down. My hair wasn't trained yet to be happy in the UP direction. It felt like each hair had become a wire that was being forced to bend in a bad way. I took the torture for as long as I could and then freaked. And I felt I had let the Ashram down.
After that I started wearing a turban for short times each day until I trained my hair to be comfortable while UP.
From: SATKHALSA Feb-26-2002
First time that i wore a turban I was called a Paki as I walked down the street. Two kids about ten years old in a school yard yelled Paki at me and then ran towards me throwing stones. I felt an indignant thrill that I was being persecuted so quickly and ignored them so as not to give them any energy and raced out of stone throwing distance on my bicycle. This was in Saskatoon, Sask. I was shown how to tie a turban by an Indian Sikh. I didn't feel comfortable that I knew how to tie it and went back to the bandana that I had worn for about a year once I started letting my hair grow.
Later, I moved to Calgary to join a real Ashram and I got instructed on how to tie a turban. The first time I wore it down the street I was very unhappy with the way it looked: it was the wedgie. I was very scared when some large guy in black leather and chains walked towards me and most impressed when he walked across the street to get out of my way!
It took me awhile to learn to tie a turban confidently. I wore it for at least a decade. I started feeling that it was a barrier between me and other people. Plus they made my ears bleed even when I wore bandages on my ears. I quit wearing it for about five years. About a year ago I started wearing a turban again. I am no longer insecure about getting it perfect--I know that I can tie a turban under any time pressure in any situation that will look good enough. Now i don't care at all what other people think--if they are going to have a problem, that is their problem. I am unconcerned. It used to be that I was self-conscious about wearing a turban, but now I basically forget that I am wearing one. Now I feel that the turban is just me and I love it. Plus, I experiment with all sorts of unusual and invented turban styles and colours and patterns. (I remember YB said that if you want a colourful life wear lots of colours!) I must confess that I love turbans. At the same time, I think I am less uptight than a Punjabi-born Sikh about taking it off, say, to play basketball or whatever. I just changed my thinking about turbans to appreciate them as a good thing and a choice rather than to see them as something that I have to do--when in doubt, I tie three bandanas on my head. Way cool. The brothers can't figure it out and I hope for the day that I see someone else borrow the idea. Does anyone have any books/sources of information on how to tie turbans in different styles? I'm interested
In 1973 or so, we actually starched the mens turbans. We used this powered white stuff, and we flipped the turbans' dry, which was hard hard arm yoga which I hated. Then as a Bhajanist wife you had to learn how to hold and fold your husband's turban right because it was important. The men were sensitive about their turbans, or was it just my husband? I remember that all the couples seemed stressed around men's turbans to me at the time, or was I just projecting?
From: OLDBROOM Jan-17-2002
I forgot about the turban starching. It was actually something I took great pride in, I thought I was a Top Ten Turban Tie-er, with a big swirly turban like some sort of soft ice cream cone atop me head. You had to have a lot of starch, and yes it had to be folded just right, and that list bit completing the front had to be just so.
I remember the panic when Argo starch announced it was discontinuing its powder form leaving only the much inferior spray kind - we all went out and bought big cartons of the stuff, the grocer thought we were mad.
And as a single guy I actually had to learn how to pin one end of the turban to a line and fold it myself!
It's funny the little psychic remnants that remain from that time - I still have dreams where I'm someplace in public and realize whoops! I've got a turban on my head. Now that's what one calls a real nightmare.
From: EARLYBIRD900 Jan-17-2002
I tied a pretty generic turban, though a few Indians told me it was an older style, and they liked it. Unless I was in a group of Sikhs,, where I could blend in, I never really liked wearing a turban. No matter how bright and shinty I was from Sadhana, there was always a wall between me and everyone else when I wore a turban. I really felt I was playing a role, but I liked the concept of it when I was home alone and feeling like a real yogi.
From: SATSELF Jan-17-2002
No, it definitely wasn't just your husband. The perfect turban was a major focus of male vanity and insecurity in many households.
Lest I sound like I'm picking on the guys...I found male turban vanity endearing, something that most women could identify with.
Women had so many other opportunities for vanity, and they could also decorate their turbans with chunis, pins, malas etc.
A friend of mine wore a tall stove pipe turban and often supplemented it with a large turban pin, long dangly earrings and cat-eye sequined glasses. Dharma chic or dharma geek? Hard to say.
My own turban never really felt right on my head. Kind of like Kamalla's experience of feeling like every hair was fighting gravity. I always considered it an engineering problem--some head shapes are more compatible with women's turbans than others.
WaheGuruji Ka Khalsa WaheGuruji Ki Fateh
Can someone try to depict the difference between an 'afro-cuban', a 'Jackie O pill box' and a 'stove pipe' truban?
I used to tie one of the boat turbans (down and up) and would tie them far too tight. I once went to a Raensabhai kirtan and whilst on the coach at about 6pm the pain kicked in. It was akin to wearing a a penitent hair shirt. By 10.00 am the next day when I took it off I had a bright red bruise. A few days later I had a bald patch at the front of my head!! It certainly made me laugh!
I was tipped off by an AKJ to wear the flat-fronted wrap around, which I know wear, and is much less painful.
I have friends who wear Nihung damaalaas so how they cope I don't know...
There does seem to be an almost obsessive strivance toward Pug perfectionism. I love it when you see a sardar who just doesn't care and the thing's just falling off his head! Equally when you see a Bibiji with a beautifully tied, immaculate dastaar..very inspiring.
From: ROSELOTUS1 Mar-7-2005
Afro-Cuban turbans are wrapped in a general back and forth motion but looser that Sikh men's turbans. They are worn commonly by women in the West Indies and in Africa, I suppose. They usually use bright African Print Fabric. Some African American women wear these sorts of turbans and Krishna Kaur in SD/3HO (an African American Bhajanist) often worn turbans in this style as well. She looked great!
The Jackie O Pillbox Turban, is a reference to the kind of little hats and handbags that First Lady Jackie Kennedy used to wear circa 1962. Premka Kaur had this look. This turban was compact and neat, the perfect accessory for a Channel Designer Suit. Businesslike and Voque.
Stove-pipe turbans were women's turbans that were very tall and straight. I wore a variation on this type, called the Cat In The Hat Turban, which is a stove-pipe turban that leans badly to the left.
Hope this has been helpful.
I am reminded of a Bhajanist child I once knew (an X-Bhajanist now, thank heavens) who sent home this picture of himself from India where he had been sent away to Bhajanist cult school.
Let me see if I can transmit this image:
This child was about 9 or 10 at the time and wearing blue Kurta with Kirpan strap etc. The photo was from the waist-up and this kid was dressed in the most formal Khalsa Nihung attire.
On his head he had tied a Nihung style turban, one of those huge ones, in fact it was so huge that he had tied it over his face! He had no face, just turban.
He had also tied metal objects into his turban, like some Sikhs do. But in his case it was:
1. A Fork, Spoon, and Knife, tucked into one fold.
2. An alarm clock at the third eye.
3. And on top there was a weathervane - the rooster sitting in the center of the letters, N, E, S, and W!
From: JCESINGH Mar-5-2005
WaheGuruji Ka Khalsa WaheGuruji Ki Fateh
I would love to see that photo! It sounds like the Nihungs had actually tied that damaalaa for him.
Only last night a very Nihung-ish Sikh was teaching us Shastr Vidyaa (knowledge of weapons). He was telling us to keep a pen on us to use in combat as an alternative to a classic Nihung weapon. He explained that the thinking behind Shastr Vidya is use anything you can find...even if it is an alarm clock.
Being a generally uninhibited person, I was surprised when I went to check my dog's poop for worms by taking a closer look. My husband sternly called me back.
"You can't look at dog poop with a turban on." he said. "It doesn't look good. People will think that that's what people with turban's do."
I, being somewhat surprised, could only answer back, "Then how will I ever know if she needs medicine?"