“Cut your hair, already”, some fifth graders said as they pushed me against the hard brick wall.
I tried to argue with them, but then one of them punched me in the gut. I fell to the ground crying. I remember feeling so confused, trying to figure out what had I done to them. People started crowding around, to see what was happening. Almost all the kids laughed at me, the older kids laughed because they were mean and the smaller ones laughed to fit in. Luckily, the bell rang and recess was over. I was truly “saved by the bell.”
I had put it off for too long; I had to tell my teacher about these bullies.
I went to my teachers desk and whined to her, “Some older kids were bullying me in the playground. They told me to cut my hair.”
“You should cut your hair. So much hair is disgusting” she told me most spitefully.
I went to my seat crying with anger, not to those bullies or my teacher, yet to myself for being, so weird. I was now determined to cut my hair before the day was over.
Finally the long awaited moment had arrived; the day was over and my Mom and Dad were waiting for me outside to go home. My dad asked me how my day was so, I told him about my horrible day. I told him about the fifth graders bullying me and the teachers malicious comment towards me. I told him that I wanted to cut my hair today, and that my mind was made up. Understanding my situation my parents headed towards the closest barbershop.
On the way to the barbershop I started looking at my parents, with their uncut hair. And I asked them why we had to have uncut hair. My parents stopped the car and they told me everything about my religion and why we dont cut our hair. My parents told me that a saint named Guru Gobind Singh Ji first formed the Sikh religion. God told him that he was to make a new religion, a religion, in which the members have uncut hair.
Now as I look back at what my parents told me; I understand that the Khalsa was founded not only to have a religion where nothing that god gave to us was changed. People werent supposed to cut their hair because God gave them hair and what he gave shouldnt be changed. The Khalsa was also a religion free from all prejudice, this included social status and gender. All this and more made up the Khalsa.
After listening to that I told my parents that I wanted to keep my hair and be a true Sikh. My parents looked at me with great pride and joy. On the way home my dad told me that he was going to switch me to another school, and that we would move as soon as possible.
My dad got me switched to another school in 3-4 days. I had almost no trouble there because most population in the school was Sikh. I fitted in nicely, and I had no problems.
I came to another school for my fourth grade year. People kept on asking me ” Is that a ball on your head?” The sting of racism was still present, but not at the same intensity as in my first school. Until around 6th or 7th grade in my Middle School many made fun of me for my long hair. They pestered me on and on about my appearance. Now I feel I have been accepted for my religion. Almost no one insults me because of my appearance, yet they recognize me for it. I now have a sense of pride, a pride that doesnt let people make fun of me.
Sometimes I still have the urge to cut my hair, and be like everybody else; however, I never have and hopefully never will. I sort of like being unique, this way I am a voice in the crowd because I dont just blend in with everyone else.