Last week, I wrote a post about ABCâ€™s Notes From the Underbelly (which, btw, is on tonight at 9:30) and most of the comment thread was as fun and fluffy as I expected it to be. In light of that, I am half-willing to apologize for my bromidic attempt at virtually playing the right and left sides of the audience off each other, like it was an old skool rap concert or a pep rally, but most of you resisted my super-smack talk about Sunkrish vs Sendhil so allâ€™s well that ends well…or is it?
One of the last comments on my post was left on Thursday, and it has bothered me since:
Punjabi Sikh kudis prefer clean-shaven men sans turban. They are quite vocal about that on all the Sikh dating and matrimonial sites. It has reached a crisis level in Canada and US with many Sikh men having to go to Desh to find a woman willing to take them with beard, turban and all. [link]
The handle this person chose (Broken Hearted Munda Looking for Kudi) made me extra sad. One of my closest friends is in this exact situation. Heâ€™s brilliant, hilarious, considerate and one of the sweetest people I have ever metâ€”and heâ€™s still single. And in his mid/late 30s. What would â€œnormallyâ€ make a non-trivial number of girls gasp or pick out curtainsâ€” i.e. every attribute I listed in the last sentence PLUS two ivy degreesâ€” seems to come second to the fact that he is a rather Orthodox Sikh. I donâ€™t think the issue is his tee totaling/clean living; I think itâ€™s his turban and beard.
Today, we received another pained comment, from a different person (Munda Still Looking for Kudi), on the same thread:
These women also cite 9/11 and subsequent discrimination against turbanned men as an excuse to avoid us like the plague. They say they don’t want to attract unneccessary attention and inconvenience and do not want to see their men and future children placed in possibly dangerous situations. Is this a cop out? [link]
Oh, 9/11. You changed everything. Now you consistently inspire nightmares like last week’s violence against an innocent Sikh cabdriver in Seattle, who was just trying to help an inebriated person get home, per the policeâ€™s request:
Trying to escape the attack, the 48-year-old victim stopped in a car pool lane Saturday night on Interstate 5, near Columbian Way, and scrambled out, state troopers said. His attacker had punched, choked and bitten him, calling him an “Iraqi terrorist,” according to police reports…
The suspect knocked off the victim’s turban and tore out clumps of his hair, according to reports. The beating continued as the victim fell onto the road. The victim briefly was hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center for injuries that included a concussion and bite marks on his head, according to police and acquaintances.
State troopers were called about 8 p.m. A Metro bus stopped next to the cab to block traffic after seeing the suspect attacking the victim in the road. Witnesses aboard the bus made dozens of calls to 911, Merrill said. [MSNBC]
The only comfort I take from that story is that the bus stopped while its riders frantically called 911…to report a crime which was inspired by those very numbers.I must say, I canâ€™t see any of my Sikh female friends â€œcoppingâ€ to the reason which Munda Still Looking for Kudi cites; while plenty of them will bashfully admit that they want a clean-shaven mate, itâ€™s not because of â€œinconvenienceâ€ or fears over discrimination. My friends are fierce, and take exhortations to be brave seriously; donâ€™t go looking for a fight or commit some injustice in front of them, theyâ€™ll get righteously medieval on your kundis. (See: SM kudi Camille). But these women are also human. The heart wants what it wants and thatâ€™s demoralizing for people like my friend, with the stellar professional and emotional resume.
I know Sikh men who were born and raised here, who have gone to India for a bride and I know Sikh men who were born and raised here, who canâ€™t conceive of such an undertaking. In three years of mutinying, Iâ€™ve heard from hundreds of you about how some of you donâ€™t think your vesternized-selves could marry someone from the other side of the world– and yes, before a few of you angrily flame, weâ€™ve also heard from those who are more than happy to find love thither. Why should wearing a turban or not shaving alter such feelings of apprehension regarding one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make?
What I want to know is, what do you think of these two comments and by extension, this issue? Do those of you who wear a turban plan on raising your sons to wear them? Are we heading to a future where little boys donâ€™t run around in patkas, whether for their own safety or their future success with the kudis? Iâ€™m sure this already has been discussed on Sikh-centric sites, but I can sense that some of you want to raise your concerns here. Well, I heard you– and now Iâ€™d love to read what you have to say.