I'd like to share a story from when I was growing up, that suddenly came to my mind.
When I was younger, around the age of 13 I began working for my dad. Whenever I had the opportunity I would sneak away from my chores in order to play football. There used to be an area indoors where we could play, but was usually cluttered with lots of work related things and sheer laziness would mean me and my friends would usually go over to the park.
When I say park, I don’t actually mean a park. It was a place with grass but there were also many signs saying "No Ball Games". It was a large area in between rows of houses on a council estate.
We'd been playing there for about 30 minutes or so, using sweatshirts as goal posts. I looked up and 10/15 young people around our age were walking towards us carrying lots of random things. Like a plank of wood and a street cone. At first I thought nothing of it, but when they started walking towards us I thought they might want to play with us or something.
However, as soon as they came over all they did was swear and they started attacking us. My two friends who were of 11/16 years of age stuck together while the older one just covered up the little one while I got things thrown at me.
At this point I thought they were going to walk away because this was a pretty built up area but then one of the oldest boys walked over to me and went to pick something off the floor near my foot (so I thought) but instead un-tied my shoelace really quickly. At the time with mixed emotions I didn’t even think about it so instinctively knelt down to retie it. At which point the boy who was now standing over me took off my patka (head covering) and threw it on the floor.
At this stage I was really mixed up, part of me wanted to attack all 15 of them the other part wanted to run away. Slowly a couple of them helped me collect my patka and kanga (small comb), and they even apologised for the other group members actions. At this point they all left, leaving me and my friends in a sad state.
This was the only time in my life when I needed a kirpan (defensive blade carried by baptised Sikhs), and this was one of the few times when I didn’t have it. At first I started keeping the kirpan in my pocket, and then I even used to carry a pocket knife around - but obviously the problem with this is that we empty our pockets sometimes...
The reason for me writing this is purely to tell people that keeping the kirpan as a kakaar is just as important now as when it was first given to us by our Guru's.
We never know when we are going to need to defend ourselves or others around us, and believe me it’s the worst feeling in the world when you don’t have it when you need it most.
I look back and thank God for giving me the experience of that day as a constant reminder to keep my Kirpan on me at all times, and keep strict kakaar Rehit.
Some Sikh's I have talked to in the past have said it is fanatical to wear kirpan in the shower (wrapped around the head), or to never take the Kachera off behind locked doors. However, all these "crazy" things that we do when no one is around are the things that we'll be most thankful for if times get rough.