Baba Ji’s Room

Guest blogged by Hunny Singh

Recently I went home to the East Coast and had some inspirational time with my family. While snowy conditions prevailed outside, inside the house, a pizza soon to be shared joined a confused and yet open love for a dance. I had an interaction with my mother that got me wanting to share with yall. Heres the story

As Ma Ji pokes her head out from behind the curtains, she pauses ever so slightly, and says:

Remember the Guru with every passing day.

She returns to being with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, glasses on, focused gaze settling back in. Especially endearing to me are her engaged brows, lifted eyelashes, and soft thought.

In the dim light, I see the reflections of the Guru’s words bringing meaning upon her eyes.

Yup, Ive seen that look before so many times.

She is in Baba Jis room.

I dont remember when the Baba Jis* room became a part of our house and our lives, but I do remember it always being there. Thats the only name I have ever known for the room. I think this room is something that many Sikh folks share, in some way or form–a special intimate space.

This room in particular, the one I have always known, is currently formed as an extension of the basement’s corner walls. Two soft length-mismatched curtains placed on rods meet to form the other corner. At the center of the room the Sri Guru Granth Sahib sits, flanked by pictures of four of the ten Gurus who used movement of air as one of their forms of communication. There are usually fresh flowers releasing their scent, sometimes roses, and a stack of gutkas. These same Gutkas, with their Latin lettering of Gurmukhi text on paper, sweeten my mouth with a phonetic sound of Sikhi. This room has been a rock in my life, a place of inspiration, substance, and every day reflection.

Baba Jis room is a space in which the people who deal with the after effects of trauma inflicted on our generation of Sikhs connect with the joyous message of Sikhs who faced similar time-tested challenges in the past. The stories continue, aging timelessly, a shared peoples history continues to form. This space is the where and the how that supported my familys healing. My mothers words, floating from behind the curtains and into my ears act as a running reminder.

A few questions to discuss:

Do folks have a space or Baba Jis room that they have a connection with and would like to share (home, gurudawara, a friends house, etc.)?

Does anyone have access to oral or written traditions that talk about Baba Jis room or how the Guru Granth Sahib came from places of organized worship into peoples houses?

*The link for the definition of Baba Ji on wikipedia is provided. Please look at the partial, and what I gather to be incorrect, definition is for Baba Ji in relation to Sikhi. From what I gather Baba Ji is not a Sikh holy man, it is the divine Guru, who we see as the Infinite One, and most definitely not a living man. Just a reminder to be critical in you analysis of biased mainstream media sources that give you knowledge.”

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6 Responses to “Baba Ji’s Room”

  1. i too have fond memories of my family's baba ji's room (which is what we called it) growing up. we would do mini kirtans there, just the four of us, sometimes on special occasions, and it was always a tranquil refuge in our home. i wonder how many of us second generation sikhs in the diaspora will continue having the Guru Granth Sahib in our homes and keep this important space alive in our homes. it's hard for me to imagine now, living in NYC where space is so limited…

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  3. ritu says:

    thanks for sharing .the memories of us with our family are unforgettable .the time spend with our nears and dear is precious .really felt good to read.try to visit my White ruffled curtains and drapes.

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