To go back to the two San Giovannis discussed in the previous article, I went first to San Giovanni Lupatoto, which is just outside Verona and to the east. After discovering that this was not where Manjit Singh lived I returned to Verona and took a train to San Bonifacio station, which is walking distance from the local Gurdwara. Going by the google map the Gurdwara is on the Localitá Ritonda 81b.
North of San Bonifacio are the two other villages mentioned in the title of this article : San Giovanni Ilarione and Montecchia di Crosare. I spent one night at San Giovanni Ilarione and moved the next day to the house of Manjit Singh’s ‘sister’ (not his real sister) Gurminder Kaur and husband Harpal Singh in Montecchia. These are both villages but Montecchia looks a bit more like a small town.
We are here north of the area along the river Po, which is as flat as Panjab or the Netherlands. North of San Bonifacio are the foothills of the Alps. The San Bonifacio gurdwara is called the Associazone Guru Nanak, Mission Seva Society.
The story about the two pardhan I misunderstood. Only one of the two gentlemen is the pardhan, the other for some reason is (jokingly) called the new pardhan.
I have gone everyday at about 2 pm to the Gurdwara with the ‘new pardhan’ and stayed at least until after Rahras, when Gurminder Kaur came to pick me up.
There was a good attendance to the Sikhí camp, which was mainly devoted to learning Panjabi and learning how to play waja (harmonium) and tabla, a set of Indian type drums. Many of the youngsters had a good understanding of the Sikh way of life, and were more open-minded then UK and the Belgian Sikhs.
I also discovered that many of the older members of the sangat were quite well educated. They had learned English in Panjab, and although they could not practise their English in Italy, it was easy to communicate with them.
On Sunday I spoke for about 20 minutes in the divan. I was talking about simple things like simran and seva, ‘one God, one humanity’ and that all human beings, regardless of caste, faith, nationality, skin colour or gender are the children of God. When I said that the Guru Granth Sahib was my Malik, my Teacher and my Baba, and that I did not follow any Jathedars or Sant Baba’s I ‘earned’ a jaikara.
I have spoken to two young men from Novellara in Reggio Emilia who wanted me to come to their Gurdwara. I discussed this with Manjit Singh, making sure he had not made any other arrangements for me, and then phoned Gursharan Singh, one of the two young men, and arranged for me to go to Novellara on Wednesday and come back to San Bonifacio on Sunday after the divan. When I come back I hope to stay in the San Bonifacio Gurdwara for a couple of days and make excursions to Venice and Brescia from there.