International student who received help from Melbourne Sikh temple says it ‘changed my life’

Hoppers Crossing Sikh GurduaraRidden by financial hardship, Indian student Dhruv Dwivedi reached out to a gurdwara (Sikh temple) in Melbourne for help. Almost immediately, he says he received food, mentoring and immense love that has altered the course of his life.

Life’s gift to all of us often comes in the least expected ways. For Mr Dwivedi that moment came last week, in the middle of a pandemic, when he was forced to shift out of his home, laid-off from his job and ran out of his cash reserve.

That’s when his mother back home in the western Indian state of Gujarat encouraged him to reach out to a Sikh temple in the vicinity. Quoting his mum, the 26-year-old says: “She said, a gurudwara will never turn you down.”

“So, I googled for a temple close to home. The nearest was the Hoppers Crossing gurudwara. I looked for their number and gave them a call. At first, they didn’t answer, but within minutes a man named Harnam Singh returned my call,” says Mr Dwivedi.

The management student who arrived in Australia nearly two years ago says he shared his ordeal with Mr Singh over the phone, who invited him to the gurudwara.

Sikhs who do guru sewa

“He was extremely kind to me over the phone. He told me that I could stop by at the gurudwara for food, groceries or simply to talk to them anytime I wanted or needed help and so I did.

“That evening when I went to the gurudwara, I bumped into yet another sage, Mr Paramjit Singh who served me food, counselled me, spoke to me, told me about other students who reach out to the gurudwara for help,” he reminisces.

Recalling the incident, Harnam Singh says he has never met Dhruv in person but has spoken to him over the phone.

“The first day he called, he sent us a long list of things he needed which also included Maggi noodles. I told him we did not have such fancy items, but he is more than welcome to stop by at the gurudwara to eat langar or pick up take away meal boxes that we prepare for other students and all those who need it in the evening,” says Mr Singh.

Dhruv Dwivedi posted on Facebook:

Facebook post about guru sewa

While an overwhelmed Dhruv insists that their kindness has changed his life, Paramjit Singh who serves as a music teacher at the academy run by the gurudwara says they were just following the teachings of the Sikh Gurus.

“Concern for others is central to the teachings of Sikhism. And giving to someone who is hungry is seen as giving to God – but only if it is genuine giving from the heart. We haven’t done anything extraordinary for Dhruv. We will continue to do what we can for him and anyone who comes to the gurudwara,” says Mr Singh.

Dhruv who has been turning up at the gurudwara ever since that day says he wants to share this story with all those international students feeling “lost and deprived” during the pandemic.

“Help is there. I got it, you may too. This is my way of expressing gratitude to these god-sent men who came to my rescue, and also to all others who help without expecting anything in return at a time when the world is in crisis,” he adds.

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