XXVI. Unnoticed & Until Yesterday, Unarticulated - ਸ਼ੁਭ ਕਰ੍ਮਨ ਸੇ ਕਭੁਂ ਨ ਟਰੂਂ ||

Do you know that thing that keeps you going?

I suppose “that thing that keeps you going” is a mantra of sorts.

If you answered affirmatively to the question asked:

So you know the thing that keeps you going. It has not gone unnoticed - you have noticed it.

However, having noticed that which keeps you going, does not necessarily mean that this mantra, specifically tailored to your person, has been, or can be articulated.

If you answered “No” to the question asked:

… you may feel that you have been, or that you currently are, at a stalemate - stuck in  the depths of each second that passes by. In processing the question and answering “no”, you realize that you are without that thing, that mantra, that can get you past this stalemate and keep you going.

In this case, your mantra, or thing that keeps you going, has gone unnoticed.

You can be sure that it’s there though. Even the most minor of obstacles, untied shoelaces for example, causes us to subconsciously harp on our mantra so that we can move forward; So that we can crouch down, tie our laces, stand once more, and go on with our day.


I had answered “No” to this question in the past.

At that moment I compelled myself to remember how I had moved forward prior to this static position I had then taken to.

I then noticed that thing that keeps me going. I could not articulate it, (not until yesterday), but I had taken notice of that thing that had kept me going and continues to keep me going- that mantra specific to myself.

In an attempt at articulation, I could only think of being myself - but this is not really my mantra.

Upon taking notice, I was again propelled into the happenings of life. The happenings of life are those non - repetitive moments of spontaneity that may or may not adhere to the connotation of wonder and fortuitous experience that “spontaneity” invokes.

I took notice of that something that keeps me going and I still attempted to articulate my mantra. In my attempt, I again arrived at the all too cliche- being yourself, being Reshmi, being silky - until yesterday.

As a Sikh, I always knew that I was a descendant of a martial race. That is to say, Sikhism has an expansive warrior culture.

With that said, yesterday I was listening to a familiar Sikh spiritual self-monologue/battle cry, if you will, on YouTube (aka my method of calming my caffeine-induced nerves when I first sit down and decide to complete an inconceivable amount of work.)

Whilst listening to this “battle cry”, (with the external appearance of being engaged with the books on epidemiology and the Arab-Israeli conflict that were heaped in front of me), I realized that I was only engaged with what was emanating from my headphones.

While sitting in the library, eyes strained from looking at the computer for too long, I started to sing the lyrics in my head and without immediately realizing it, I had articulated ‘that thing that keeps me going’ - my mantra.

More accurately, that thing that keeps me going, was articulated centuries before this day and in the midst of a battle, not a library with an adjoined cafe.

I realized that thing that keeps me going:

ਸ਼ੁਭ ਕਰ੍ਮਨ ਸੇ ਕਭੁਂ ਨ ਟਰੂਂ ||           

Translation: May I never refrain from doing that which is righteous.

This is what keeps me going - knowing that I have to continue doing what is right. Knowing that I cannot deliberately do something that is wrong.

If I drop the environmentally-unfriendly mount of paper towels on the floor that I had used to dry my hands, and then used on the handle of the paper towel dispenser in order to dry/clean-off the wet handle that had someone else’s germs so that I can get more paper towel to dry my again-washed hands, since I had to touch the unclean handle in the first place to get any paper towels at all-

I will pick up the paper towels that I dropped, (with another paper towel), and throw all of them in the garbage. =  Lots of paper towels.

Yes, unfortunately I am part of that 10% of people who after reading, “This sign about how paper towels kills trees results in 90% less paper towels used”, that is plastered on the library’s paper towel dispensers, do not actually use less paper towel.

I am sorry.

I think it is only right that I pick up the paper towels I dropped on the floor, and throw them in the garbage.

By doing what is right, obviously I’m still not near perfect or can even be considered righteous, but I live day to day doing what I can to not deliberately do something that can be considered wrong.

Being myself, not necessarily defined as right  or wrong, is most definitely not my mantra.

I know that I am not being myself but am instead doing what is right when I don’t scream at the person who edited an article I wrote. I could have reported her to a higher board member, (this publication is way too exclusive for its own good). I could have reported her for sprinkling her nonsensical and “fluffy” comments that only serve her self-fulfilling need to feel as though she is proactively editing.

You think a lengthy introduction = no focus do you? First of all, the rehearsed tone of your language is nauseating - Have you ever head of quantity not quality, Miss Shallow?

See- I’m not an embodiment of all that is good, but I still do not do wrong.

Me typing out the statements before the statement directly above this one, the part where I called my editor shallow, is not doing wrong.

Absolutely not - Practicing free speech is not doing wrong and here is some proof for you:


I know that I am doing right by not giving into the bureaucratic commands of this Ivy Institution. I am doing right by refusing to reduce my learning to skimming and forming strategies, just for “the grade.”

Those who travel the short-cut routes are kidding themselves by thinking that they have a life, so to speak. (So many people have said this in my four years at Penn - including the college advisers who have to realize that their work office is no place for animals- ahem - dogs.)

Here’s a thought: pulling all-nighters after “having a life”, is actually reducing your life-span.

And if you equate drinking with having life, well, let’s just say your liver and purge-covered esophagus, permitting they are entities capable of thought and forming an opinion, would hate you.

What kind of life is that in which you deliberately perpetuate your ignorance by skimming?

May I never refrain from doing what is righteous.

I’ll say it again: I am not saying that I embody only goodness - I don’t.

I am confrontational when I have to be, I use massive amounts of paper towels, I have lied plenty of times and continue to do so, and I don’t love everyone.

I don’t like everyone.

I cannot even tolerate some people - ok, more than some people.

Still I keep going knowing that I cannot intentionally do wrong and that if I do what is wrong, I won’t be able to keep going forward effectively. If I don’t try to do what is right, I ’ll be stuck.

And when you’re stuck, things seem repetitive and the happenings of life pass you by.

May I never refrain from doing what is righteous = The Thing That Keeps Me Going…

                               … now noticed and articulated -

What is the thing that keeps you going?

Holler at your homefry -