So, this one is for those of ya'll who might be thinking about adopting one or more of the kakaars. The advice I will give on this stems mostly from my own experience.
It is important to check what the knife laws are in your country and state. The only countries I am aware of that have outright banned the kirpan are Italy and Denmark. Everywhere else, the laws change. For example, in Texas, we can wear swords in public if we want to. BUT certain places such as hospitals, mental health facilities, schools, etc., the blade must be 5 and a half inches or less. This leads to my next point.
For those who are in university, check with the school to make sure it is okay to be carrying a kirpan. I visited the Office for Inclusion and Equity, sat down, and had a conversation. I also was able to get it in writing that I can warry a kirpan as long as the blade is at maximum 5 and a half inches. For those who work, I suggest you check with your company and notify them as well.
If you ever have legal issues, I suggest contacting the Sikh Coalition to know your rights.
Now, for those who wear their kakaars 24/7, they can find that sleeping with a normal sized kirpan can be difficult. The solution is to either wear a smaller kirpan or get a dori kirpan. A dori kirpan is what we Nihangs wear especially when doing ishnaan or going to bed. It does not get in the way that much compared to a regular kirpan.
Tell me why nobody ever told me underwear does not have to be worn with kachera? I figured this out months later after I started wearing them. So I'm just telling you that now so you do not have to go through the pain of it. I suggest also buying multiple pairs of kachera. So when one pair gets dirty, you can just switch out into another pair. And when one rips (which will happen), you can simply replace it. Also, if you are going to machine wash your kachera, make sure to tie the string beforehand. Because if you don't, most likely the string will go back into the tunnel part. And let me tell you, it is VERY inconvenient to spend 30 minutes trying to fish it back out.
Kesh and Keski:
For this one, I'm going to divide it by gender. Because different genders struggle with different things.
Girls - For most of us, we've had hair on the top of our heads all our lives. So we know how to take care of it. The only thing we're not used to is body hair. There is really nothing you need to do to take care of body hair. It's just a matter of self-confidence. At first, it's gonna be like "AHHHHH" but after a few months, you get used to it. If you get smack from your family for not shaving (which I did), just ignore it. They cannot force you to shave (at least, I don't think they can).
Boys - Well hello there. Most of ya'll have had body hair for most of your lives but not a lot of head hair (except for a few exceptions). For most of ya'll, it will a new experience having a joora, man bun, afro, ponytail, dreads, braids, etc. So here are my suggestions to ya'll.
First of all, the easiest way to learn hair care is to ask your sisters or your mother. If they are not comfortable with that, or if that is not a possibility, find a good hair stylist and get hair care tips as well as recommendations from them. And please, PLEASE look at the ingredients of the products you are putting on your hair. Make sure most (and better yet, all) the ingredients are natural. Try to stay away from chemicals as much as you can. Also, try to stay away from using heat as much as you can. This goes for girls and boys.
Secondly, the same thing I told the girls I'm going to tell you. If your family gives you flack for keeping your kesh, you are just going to have to ignore it. I always say people coming into Sikhi (or those from not so Gursikh families) have to have a backbone. Don't let people's comments get to you.
Thirdly, I know nothing about beard care. Sorry lol.
For Both Genders - Coloring your hair is looked down upon in Sikhi. So if you do it and plan on becoming Amritdhari, I suggest you stop.
Now, we will get into Keski. Taking care of a dastar isn't that hard once you get use to it. Here are a few quick tips on that.
1. Own several. Sometimes one dastar might not want to tie one day. So use another one.
2. Keep them hung up. Not only does this show respect to the dastar, but it helps keep the wrinkles out.
3. Steam and turban material go together. If you take steamy showers, put your turban in the bathroom with you as well. Or just turn on the shower, put your turban in there, and keep the door closed for like 15-30 minutes. Makes it easier to tie.
4. Preferably hand wash your dastar. But for people like me who can't do that, machine wash it. And do NOT put your turban material in the dryer. Always hang it up and let it air dry.
5. For the few months, no matter what turban style you wear, don't get upset because it looks like crap. Tying a turban takes practice and experimentation. Even I don't tie a 100% perfect turban. And for the ladies, if you really care that much about how your turban looks, just throw a chunni over it. Guys, ya'll are out of luck 😂
Ain't much to say. Just keep it off the floor and keep multiple. If you lose one or one breaks, just replace it.
Get one that fits you. Less banging against the table that way. Keep them off the floor. Etc. Etc.
Where Can I Get the Kakaars?
The easiest and less expensive way to get them is from the Gurdwara. Most Gurdwaras should have them in stock and they are given away for free. Just let them know you need it.
If that doesn't work out, look online to purchase them.
Hope this helped. And good luck on your journey.
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