Dirty Socks

What kind of sadistic (and moronic) fuck would punish kids by making them stuff filthy socks in their mouths and then TAKE A PICTURE OF IT?

Nanak Dev Singh, that’s who!

After seeing this photo I am of course reminded of my own filthy condition as a kid at GNFC, and how humiliating it often was. We were not given laundry service regularly – sometime it would be months before the Dhobi Wala showed up. And when Dhobi did happen, our clothes were often lost or destroyed. Most of the time we had to wash our own clothes by hand with cold water. We usually sent off our uniforms, but our socks, underwear, and private clothes were too important to risk getting lost. For that, we were expected to purchase our own detergent, buckets, scrub brushes, etc. and do our wash on our own personal time. This was as young as eight and nine years old!

Hey, we may have had grime build-up, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s not a crime. Abusing and neglecting children is.

P.S. Thank you to the person who posted this snapshot, and I apologize if it has been used outside of its intended context. I do not post it out of inconsideration for the individuals who actually suffered this treatment. I post it as a resource. We all went through this kind of thing, and to be honest, I am glad there photographic evidence of it still exists.

13 Replies to “Dirty Socks”

  1. Don’t forget about the bathing situation! We lived in dormatories filled with at least 100 girls of all ages, and hot water was an irregular miracle. We never knew when to expect hot water, and when it did come through the pipes, there would be a stampede for the showers. Whoever was lucky (or well-connected-enough) to get there first would get to bathe, and the rest of us would stand in line, hoping for our chance before the hot water ran out.

    There was no one who oversaw us and made us bathe regularly, so many of us kids just *didn’t*. I recall going for up to 2 months without a bath when I was 11 years old.

    Conversely, there was a huge stigma against being “dirty”… dirty, like the word “fat” became synonymous with unpopular, unlikeable, perhaps even untouchable, to draw on the ever present Hindu caste system.

    So a lot of us kids avoided the freezing cold water (we were in the foothills of the Himalayas, this was not a warm area) and then grappled with the resulting outcast stigma. The better-connected and more popular kids were able to “save” spots in the hot shower lines and keep a bit cleaner, it seemed…

    Your thoughts on that whole shower phenomenon?

  2. Yes, I do recall going a month on one pair of socks and no bath. Lice was a common epidemic. I remember some kids were brave (or meticulous) enough to bath in cold water and stayed clean – they also provided me with an ongoing supply of clean socks from their cupboards, unbeknownst to them of course.

    To expect kids as young as 9,10 and 11 to be able to bathe on their own regularly with no one supervising is so ludicrous! This wasn’t summer camp where after two weeks of dirt and grime you go home. This was an entire year! Blight.

  3. on this note, one of my worst memories was sneaking -yes sneaking- my younger sister out of her dorm and into mine to help her take a bath. she felt so gross and didn’t have clean underwear, so i took her into the bathroom and helped her bathe (in cold water), and gave her some of my underwear. it was way too big, but she was only allowed to change hers once a week. and the younger kids were only allowed to wash their arms and legs once a week and bathe once a week.
    all this in the midst of most of us having the runs almost permanently….awful, just awful. so glad we made it out!

  4. The first time I went to the dentist in India, was after 4 months of not brushing my hair or teeth (the beginning of the 4th grade year, when all adult supervision and care ended–1982?). They drilled twelve holes in my teeth just on the first visit, and that was just the beginning. 30 years later I’m still getting those fillings taken out. I always felt that my damaged teeth were another casualty of the neglect. Luckily my teeth LOOK good, thanks to my family lineage, which is such a huge blessing in a culture that often judges class standing based on dental care as a child. Being what– 10? I used those dentist visits as “town leaves”– drilling my teeth without anasthetic was worth the Mango Duets and walk to town.(Remember the huge glass syringes they used? I said, NO WAY!!)I doubt my teeth were as fucked up as they claimed after a while– they kept getting paid, so why not keep drilling. I wasn’t complaining!!

    That was at the same time that my hair had turned into one big lice infested series of dreadlocks held together by a rubber band that I couldn’t get out, and after a while didn’t even bother trying to, because, after all, that was easier to deal with than trying to brush the hair out of a dreadlock “rishi knot” I’m told that long before this, when I was a little girl, I hated to be dirty and would cry if they didn’t put something clean on me. How times changed.

    I still have nightmares about the bathrooms with finger painted poop smear across the walls. When I can’t wake myself to go pee in the middle of a dream, I start dreaming about those bathrooms, and that I can’t find a toilet to sit on because of the poop that’s all over and around them. Now I know that means– WAKE UP!! GOTTA PEE!!

  5. While listening to an online program last night surfing around, I stumbled upon this blog. And the words from the ones I once saw as children brought tears to my eyes and a deep deep ache and love to my heart.

    I was a first generation American Sikh for several years during the 80s. I never married and did not have children. And I was surprised to read your stories, for I did not know of the abuses you were experiencing in India.

    And I have to say that I was also surprised because it seemed that many of the things that were going on in 3HO that were not what was preached, those things that were very much in the shadows of the sea of white….well, many of those things God allowed me to see during the time I was participating in the group. I have to trust that for some good reason I did not know of the abuses you suffered in India until last night.

    I am not here to defend or discredit 3HO. As in almost all groups in this world at this time, the words and actions don’t match; the outer presentation and the inner workings conflict. And in all honesty, this is also true of me – some of my actions do not match my words…and the conflict that arises within me…. Oh, mine might be “smaller”, yet I say I’m loving myself more and more and then can be very surprised at how I treat myself at times! Ahh, an aspect of physical reality at this time….

    Every time people gather together and allow one, or a few, to lead from the point of view that they know better than the others, the inherent nature of who we all are is distorted and so much distortion results.

    And although I was unaware of the difficulties you as 3HO children endured, I am here now to open a conversation with you and to offer my assistance and love in the way that I can. I know I can not heal what has happened to you, just as you can not heal the abuses that existed in my childhood; nor is it our responsibility to do so for each other.

    When I was old enough to move away from home, I did. And when I decided that 3HO wasn’t the expression for me anymore, I left. Both those choices were difficult because there was also much love in those lives. Yet moving forward and continuing to love is the beauty of life.

    That said, I can respond to what I have read and what you have said, and share with you what I have come to know – the empowerment I have discovered from my experience – and together we can share and create a new expression of the love we all are and allow grace to expand if you are so inclined.

    And as tears fill my eyes as I type this, first I would share with you my truths so you’ll know where I’m coming from.

    My Belief: We are all Infinite Beings. As Infinite Beings we can extend ourselves into the physical realms to experience the creative process over time — and here we’re just called people. People = Infinite Beings in physical form. That may be hard for some of us to grok, yet all is God, all is Guru, all is Universe, Infinite Intelligence, The Field, or whatever you want to call it. I like just calling it Love or God and then that part of God’s consciousness that’s playing in the human form, that’s just called people — simple.

    And as some of you might have been burdened with having to be a great Gurusikh who was here to save the world…well, imagine being born in the world of the early 20th century and having to be a youngster and lead your village out of Pakistan. Imagine having been schooled by nuns. Imagine the limitations and the pressures put on such a young child. Think you catch my drift.

    When I think of who you all are to incarnate into such an incredibly powerful childhood, filled with such beauty the Guru brings and yet such difficulty with those who were just doing their best to create something better, just pressured people trying to do something better – ahh, well, you all have first hand experience of what works and what doesn’t in an incredibly profound and powerful way. Wow!

    And so I think I will stop here. If any of this resonates with you, I am so looking forward to continuing this conversation. If not, please just move on, and enjoy the beauty of life. Yet I will say, many of us did not know what was happening to you – and for that I am truly sorry.

    My love I extend to you all,

    email: fm_pvb@yahoo.com

  6. Francine,
    Thanks for your comment, I appreciate everything you have written, and hope that this blog can give further clarity on the somewhat muddy picture of 3HO.

    My belief system? I do not subscribe, nor do I respond to religious edicts, mystical belief systems, or the supernatural.

    If all that meditation and chanting kept people so high in the clouds — that they could not see that the lack of decision making on their part had great and negative impact on another’s life, especially those who were in their care — it doesn’t matter how “pure” the intentions were!

    Crackheads have pure intentions too…

  7. Hi Kelly,

    Beginning to understand what you don’t believe in and would like to continue. In my previous post, I was introducing a framework or a context for our discussion. Get it that religious edicts, mystical belief systems or the supernatural is not the context. Cool.

    How about the framework of the current science? Would you acknowledge that we have awareness or experience consciousness? Or maybe we could just say that we think and feel? And would you subscribe to an idea that as that thinking and feeling observer that we are experiencing ourselves in a physical body and in a time and space continuum? And that we are also experiencing ourselves in relation to others, or what appears to be in relation to others? Or that the observer observes itself and others. (Wow – that’s a mouthful! LOL!)

    If not that, would you care to share what you do believe in so we will have a framework for our conversation? If not, that’s okay too.

    I’m open to discussing what you’re referring to as the muddy waters of 3HO. Obviously, I have my experiences of 3HO, and you have your experiences – and my intention is that together we can have a discussion where clarity can ensue.

    Gosh, that all sounds so wordy! LOL! Yet isn’t that what much of the 3HO discord or the Dharma disconnects were all about? Lots of assumptions. Lots of folks interpreting things from undiscussed or not fully discussed and thought-out notions, and so most did not go a little further together to discover what they were really talking about and what they were really doing.

    Any ideas or thoughts?


  8. I’d recommend emailing me any future ideas and thoughts, because, frankly you are trying to bring in semantics which are not relevant to what Nanak Dev, et al. did to US in India, and how their actions were conceived, and executed, or ignored – if you want to talk about those things, feel free.

    –satgurschnrub @ gmail.com

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