Many of you will know, I have a keen interest in videography and photography. As I approach 1000 videos (thank you to the Bhaji who pointed this out to me!) I had a trip down memory lane and remembered how and why I started recording.
Almost four years ago now, I started university. I’m still there now studying my Masters in Mathematics. Bring dropped off and my Dad saying ‘bye’ was an interesting experience and although I missed home, the thing that hit me the hardest was moving away from Sangat, the congregation, my family of Gursikhs. Up until being dropped of at university, 300 miles away from home, I was lucky enough to have my Dad who drove me to keertan programmes and rhensabhis and I have the sangat in Bradford who raised me and taught me right from wrong, how to keep the faith in Maharaj (God) when you feel down, but more importantly, where to go when you have a question or a problem.
The first month at university is the hardest, particularly if you don’t drink and you stand by your morals and don’t attend any of the functions held in a bar or a club. I remember searching every evening for some keertan to listen to and to watch, just to make my room feel a little like home. (It also helped drown out all the other noise around me and made me feel safe!). And here was the problem ….. I couldn’t find MP3s or videos of the recent rhensabhis and keertan programmes. I’m not saying it wasn’t there. I just couldn’t find it – and this made me sad.
I remembering saying to my Dad ‘you know that video camera you brought’ …. ‘yes the one that still sitting on the shelf and hasn’t been used……. can I borrow it please?’
I don’t think I will ever forget his reply ‘what MY camera’
I argued with my Dad about buying the video camera – so by asking to borrow it, I sort of proved that my Dad was right in buying it.
Anyways, I did get the camera and started recording keertan programmes and rhensabhis for myself. I loved sitting in my room, connecting my camera to the laptop and just feel the love and connection with the sangat again.
A few months later, something dawned on me. The feelings I had when I first came to university, surely others may be in the same situation where they can’t access keertan or maybe they can’t attend programmes. This is when I starting trialing out uploading to YouTube. Having a new account, I had this limit of only being able to upload 10 minute videos. Every keertan video I wanted to upload, first had to be shredded down into 10 minute chunks before even uploading. For those of you who were kind enough to advise me and watch my testings of videos – I am forever grateful. Then, as I started uploading more, I was able to upload 15 minute videos. Yay! As the videos and channel got more and more hits, I was overjoyed when I had ‘unlimited’ minutes uploads. This then allowed me to upload a whole 2 hour keertan track without cutting it down. So much of a time saver.
Recording and uploading isn’t easy. For a single 1 hour track, it will take double the time to upload. But that all part of the seva. Figuring out when to leave you laptop uploading and when to say, actually I need to study first. Sometime you get tired at a programme and want to leave, but thankfully, maharaj has always managed to find me someone who doesn’t mind looking after the camera while I close my eyes at the back of the hall before driving home. I am grateful for all the individuals who helped me with this seva.
None of this would be possible without the constant texts, e-mails, and messages I get from the sangat. The encouragement (and pestering!) that I receive is really appreciated. If it wasn’t for the sangat I would have stopped recording and uploading a long time ago as it is hard work. Especially, being in my fourth year of university, I have said to my Dad and others many times that I want to stop or I can’t attend due to my commitments. But then, as it is maharaj’s hukam, I always get a text or a message asking ‘are you attending’ or ‘are you recording’ and when I try and say no I always get asked ‘why not’ and then told ‘come and study at the back’ or ‘stay over here after the programme and get some rest before/after.’ How can I thank the sangat? The sangat is the best form of encouragement and, in my opinion, the way maharaj speaks with me and keeps me sane.
And now, almost four years down the line, coming to 1000 uploads and looking back, its amazing how Maharaj gives you a problem and then tells you how to fix it – not only for yourself but for others as well. I never realised how media and an act like recording and upload could change lives. It definitely changed my life. It allowed me to connect with gurbani at any minute of any day. When I felt alone, when I needed someone to talk to, when I wanted to say thank you and especially when I had a question, I could just log on and select a random video to watch and to listen to wherever I was. I could feel maharaj and the sangat in my room, on my phone, in my head. To this day, still living away from home, gurbani is what keeps me going.
|swrg mhlw 5 ]|
|saarag mehalaa 5 |||
|Saarang, Fifth Mehla:|
|Apuny gur pUry bilhwrY ]|
|apunae gur poorae balihaarai |||
|I am a sacrifice to my Perfect Guru.|
|pRgt pRqwpu kIE nwm ko rwKy rwKnhwrY ]1] rhwau ]|
|pragatt prathaap keeou naam ko raakhae raakhanehaarai ||1|| rehaao |||
|My Savior Lord has saved me; He has revealed the Glory of His Name. ||1||Pause|||
|inrBau kIey syvk dws Apny sgly dUK ibdwrY ]|
|nirabho keeeae saevak dhaas apanae sagalae dhookh bidhaarai |||
|He makes His servants and slaves fearless, and takes away all their pain.|
|Awn aupwv iqAwig jn sgly crn kml ird DwrY ]1]|
|aan oupaav thiaag jan sagalae charan kamal ridh dhhaarai ||1|||
|So renounce all other efforts, and enshrine the Lord’s Lotus Feet within your mind. ||1|||
|pRwn ADwr mIq swjn pRB eykY eykMkwrY ]|
|praan adhhaar meeth saajan prabh eaekai eaeka(n)kaarai |||
|God is the Support of the breath of life, my Best Friend and Companion, the One and Only Creator of the Universe.|
|sB qy aUc Twkuru nwnk kw bwr bwr nmskwrY ]2]49]72]|
|sabh thae ooch t(h)aakur naanak kaa baar baar namasakaarai ||2||49||72|||
|Nanak’s Lord and Master is the Highest of all; again and again, I humbly bow to Him. ||2||49||72|||