Under the Andalusian Sun

Under the oppressive Andalusian sun, I crave everything. Not just a cold glass of hydrating water but a sugary Coca-Cola to make me feel like I’m in a commercial. I crave a mango smoothie and an ice cream cone all at once. I even crave less refreshing foods like hotdogs and paella because the heat has sucked the energy and the life out of me.

I imagine it’s the same for Muhammed Bakkali, a shop owner in Granada who sells Arabic crafts in a street close to Plaza Nueva. But Bakkali resists the temptation now that Ramadan has begun.

“It’s a question of willpower,” Bakkali tells me. “You can eat at home, go out and no one will know if you have eaten. But its about willpower, like a sacrifice you make to show you have faith in God.”

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Photos: Sikhs in Barcelona

Guests in Punjab are like representatives sent by God. For this reason, Sikh Temples, or Gurudwaras, leave doors open for everyone independent of their faith or nationality. Guests to a temple are served food and even offered a place to stay in the temple, if they’re in need. Hospitality is a guiding principle of the Sikh faith.

Still, I was nervous to go in. I was afraid of overstepping boundaries or committing some atrocious faux-pas in this sacred place of worship. But Jasleen Karir, my good friend and translator, calmed my nerves.

“I’m very happy to have been born into Sihkism because it’s so focused on community and humanity,” she told me as we took off our shoes and socks before entering the Sikh Gurudwara Gurdarshan Sahib Ji in Barcelona.

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