By Raj Singh

STOCKTON, Ca. Fifteen year old Jaspreet Dhillon, young and sensitive had her wishes come true. Along with a group from her school, Tokay High in Lodi, she was in Russia, where they performed the “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” to Russian audiences,

Jaspreet met high school students there who perform and work hard. “It never crossed my mind that we were in Soviet Union”. Said Jaspreet. Their itinerary which was planned beforehand meant that they were free to move around She added ‘it was not as I pictured it to be, you barely see a soldier with a gun, more people walk the streets in Soviet Union than in the States, people are friendly and nice, but they are not as free as we are”.

The Russian audiences thought the play was great, but we found our performance could have been better”.

Tom Sawyer the main character was bilingual and most important lines were in Russian. Her’s was a regular role, neither too big nor small.

Living in Russia does not agree with Jaspreet because “the language and the freezing weather” plus people there could not do what they really wanted to.

The big difference is the T.V. The students her age watch less, maybe 1015 minutes of news of some other important programs. The Russian youngsters trade clothes, jeans, T shirts having anything printed on them, chewing gums (the Russian gum tastes spicy). She visited churches and cathedrals and saw people with cross and Jesus inscribed on it.

Amongst the unique experience

That she observed was that of a ten year old Russian girl, Jaspreet commented that the 10 year old girl spoke good English.” she replied back “no 1 don’t.

“Why don’t you think you don’t”. The Russian girl shot back “I want to learn to speak excellent English”

About two years ago, correspondence was exchanged between the two countries and later Lodi students were invited to do the play in Soviet Union. Auditions were held and students selected. Parents formed a Boosters Club {o raise $75,000 for the trip.

Religion plays big part in Jaspreet Dhillon’s life. “The Sikh religion always had a great effect on me, when I pray to “Baba ji” he helps me, I am religious person just like my parents”. Her parents are Mr. Darshan Singh Dhillon and Harjit Kaur, who are regular at the Stockton Gurdwara, Her younger sister Karnjeet completes the family of four.“*You can do it” her parents always tell her. “My parents are a source of inspiration to me” she confide d. She attends Gurdwara every Sunday.

Jaspreet is in ninth grade, an above: average student with good grades. Her future plans include careers like nursing, medicine or business.

To young readers of WSN she says, “Sikhism is something that can help you if you believe in it”. She adds “Freedom is good but when you are young it could mislead you. My parents have given me more freedom than I need”,

What does she do in her spare time? “Listen to music: English, Punjabi, write poems, shoots baskets”, and grade actors when watching T.V…

In parting Jaspreet got serious and said “I am not politically mature, people need tos ee with their own eyes and not judge a book by its cover, but read what’s between the pages before you make up your mind”.

Good thinking Jaspreet, we could not agree with you more. WSN is encourage teenagers like you that keep the tradition of Khalsa alive in this new world.




Article extracted from this publication >> April 15, 1988