Happy Women’s Day! Celebrating Spirit with My Sisters at Gurudwara Sri Dukhniwaran Sahib, Patiala

Today is International Women’s Day! Happy Day, everyone!

Today I celebrate all the fabulous women in my life–my daughters, Michal, Maggie, and now Alex– my McKinney sisters, including Cynthia and Lahny– my Indiana sisters, including Katy, Diane, Marie, Julie, and Karen– my mothers, Becky and Anne– and my life sisters, including Andrea, Bridget, Dina, Debbie, Monica, Elizabeth, and Pat.

In this blog, however, I will focus on my new Indian sisters, younger and youngest– my fulbright sister and daughters Shveta, Aarza, and Seerat– my RGNUL faculty sisters, including Geetika, Gurmanpreet, Jasleen, Brindpreet, and Gagan– and my student daughters, including Nehmat, Ritika, and Shivani (among others).

The evening before Holi, Shveta, Aarza, and Seerat took me to Gurudwara Sri Dukhniwaran Sahib, a famous Sikh temple in Patiala. I offered prayers to all my Indian sisters and daughters (whether Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or other).IMG_1084Both Seerat (pictured above) and Aarza assisted.  They showed me how to wash my bare feet (after we removed our shoes in the car and walked to the temple) so we could walk on the spotless marble terraces. Dr. Shveta, Hindu by birth but Sikh by marriage, educated me on Sikh traditions and beliefs, including the presentation of the daily prayers from the holy book.

IMG_1067 IMG_1070As customary, I bought a pan of prasad (literally a gracious gift–here, a moist, sweetened, warm wheat cereal), a food offering for the temple and then received our share of the communal offerings in molded leaf bowls. We toured the temple in which the beautiful music and chanting accompanied prayers (but in which we did not take pictures), made our bows, said our prayers, and paid our respects.IMG_1077Outside, we touched the water where the carp and other fish swam– water with healing properties. Then we rested on a blanket to listen to the drumming, chanting, and music to say more prayers while the sun set. While there, several women came up to us to share more prasad or khoya sweets. We bowed our heads offering up open cupped hands and once we had the offering, touch hands to lips and ate. Shveta explained that families who are grateful for blessings, such as the birth of children, come and give offerings to all pilgrims, Sikh or not, at the Gurudwara.IMG_1087As we headed out, the days’ closing prayer began so we stood in silence at the gate while the smiling sentry with his fierce javelin behind us offered periodic supportive exclamations at appropriate intervals. There was no movement in the temple and you could almost feel the beat of the drums in the gentle wind.

IMG_1092With the peace and the calming chants of the Gurudwara still on my mind, I offer all of my sisters good health, prosperity, dancing bliss, and “pink auras” on this International Women’s Day!

Namasté, Jennifer


About Jennifer Drobac

R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law~ I began my journey in the San Francisco Bay area. A student at CPS in Oakland and then at Stanford University, I worked for several years before attending law school, again at Stanford. A trip around the world after taking the California Bar introduced me to more distant lands than I had seen during school days. I returned to clerk for Judge Barefoot Sanders in Dallas, Texas where I gave birth to Michal McDowell-- the best first born daughter and future doctor one can imagine. When she was two, we moved to Santa Cruz, California where I opened my own law practice. After I earned my doctoral degree (in law) at Stanford, I hit the road again and settled here in Indiana where I teach at IU McKinney. As I anticipate exploring the world again as a Fulbright Specialist (starting in India), I start this blog. A travel log of adventures in midlife!
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