Guru Khalsa

Guru Khalsa

Guru Khalsa

Words By Jay Riggio


IN the U.S. anyone that dons dark skin, a healthy beard and a knit cap aboard an airliner, is believed to be a terror threat.  I’m Italian.  It’s an ethnicity that under normal circumstances would be the quickest escape route from any terror-like allegations.  However, three days after 9/11, this Italian-American man was mistaken for a bomb-strapping, terrorist.  Without any explanation, I was thrown into a chokehold by an air marshal, escorted off my flight, detained for two hours and then accompanied back to New York by another air marshal.

 Needless to say, the whole ordeal was ridiculously traumatizing, and the entire experience could have been avoided if it wasn’t for my flawless European skin and decision to wear a dense, silken beard.  Actually, I place all the blame on the ignorant, paranoid fools that this country has carefully produced.

When I was first assigned to interview Guru Khalsa, I was stoked, mostly because I thought that Guru Khalsa was of Eastern Indian decent.  Eastern Indians are regularly mistaken for Arabs and Arabs are pretty much always believed to be terrorists.  I envisioned phoning Guru Khalsa and instantly hitting it off with him.  Together, we’d exchange personal tales of bigotry in the face of homeland security.  Guru Khalsa and I would strike up an empathetic relationship, talking for hours and rapidly depleting my anytime minutes. Hell, there might even be a possibility of Guru Khalsa and I forming a rap duo, in which we’d drop social and culturally conscious lyrics to the naïve, typecasting masses.  And in time, the two of us would take the motherfucking airwaves by storm, eventually conquering the competitive rap game.  It was going to be glorious.

Backside Noseblunt Photo: Travis Howell

I had heard many things about Guru Khalsa.  He was 100% Indian, a devout Sikh and as a child, roamed the barren lands of India.  The only thing that was actually true about Guru Khalsa, was that he attended a private boarding school in India. Guru Khalsa isn’t Indian at all.  He’s a white American, born in Houston, Texas.  Long before Guru Khalsa ingested his first gulp of earth air, his parents converted to Sikhism.  Sikhism is a weird religion that’s based in India and since Guru Khalsa made tons of friends there on a family trip, he was amped to go to school there.  For 9 years, Guru Khalsa went back and fourth to India for school, returning to Houston only in the summers.  It was India where he’d begin skating, see his first skate video and deflower his first precious virgin.  Just kidding.  I made that last part up.

“It’s funny, because the older guys at school hadn’t skated for a while.  They skated along time ago and then just stopped.  One year they brought their boards and videos back to school with them.  They all hadn’t really been in the skate scene at all, so the videos they brought out were super outdated.  The first video I saw was Propaganda and that was in like 96’,” recounts Guru Khalsa.

If you didn’t know already, skating in India is much different than it is in the states. “People don’t even know what skating is in India, so you’ll get like 50 people staring at you after skating for like a minute. There also isn’t much to skate there at all.  Most of the spots that are good to skate are temples and you really can’t skate those,” says Guru.

No longer a practicing Sikh, Guru still embraces two of the religions many customs; vegetarianism and not cutting your hair ever-ism.  “Holy shit, Guru, when was the last time you cut your hair,” I responded at this freakish, unbelievable fact.

“Since I was born,” says Guru Khalsa.  “It’s actually not as long as you’d think.  If I was looking at you, my hair is probably down to my chest or something.”

Chicks love long hair.  Back in the 90’s, I reeled in my first set of breasts with my wonderful teenage locks.  Guru Khalsa had to be swimming in tang. “Yeah, they’ll usually be pretty into it (long hair) and want to touch it and stuff,” says Guru Khalsa in a voice that’s all business.

Guru Khalsa literally means “one who brings someone from darkness to light.”  That sort of allegorical description sounds like enlightenment that might take place in the bedroom.  Was it the Sikh’s that had sex through a sheet or were they the ones that practiced tantric sex, like Sting?  I inquired about both.  “No.  Tantric Sex is more to do with yoga.  There are different types of tantra.  There’s red and white tantra.  My parents are both yoga instructors and they practice white tantra, which is totally different than red tantra.  It has to do more with yoga than sex,” says Guru Khalsa.  Guru Khalsa claims to have never tried tantric sex but refuses to rule it out as a possibility.

Switch Backside 5/0

Though Guru Khalsa doesn’t look like an Arab now, he sure as hell used to.  When he was a tike, he used to wear a turban, a requirement for all Sikhs.  Finding this out, I delicately approached Guru Khalsa with my prejudice-based inquiry.  “Did you ever encounter any sort of Racism when you actually wore a towel on your head?” I cautiously asked.

“Yeah man.  I can’t think of a particular moment, but yeah, definitely.  I’m sure my Dad hears stuff all the time since he wears a turban and has a big beard,” say Guru Khalsa.

The word beard made my eyes widen.  I was quick to point out that my beard had gotten me into some shit post 9/11.

“It’s funny you say that about the beard, Guru because I was taken off a plane because of my beard,” I said before telling him about my ordeal in detail.

“Yeah, it’s (racism) kind of mellowed out since 911,” responded Guru to my harrowing tale.  And that was it.  Nothing else.  It was obvious that Guru didn’t care about the topic of racial typecasting, nor did he plan to bond with me on any level.  Did Guru know what he was passing up?  The record deals, the in-store signings and unifying outdoor world tours.  Together, we could put an end to this global injustice.  I was tempted to tell Guru that he was missing out on the best thing that ever happened to him.  That by not acknowledging prejudice, we might even somehow be promoting it.  But I didn’t.  Instead, I asked Guru to name his sponsors.  “Habitat Skateboards, Satori Wheels, Venture Trucks, Planet Earth Clothing and I’m getting flowed by DC Shoes,” listed Guru.  As I hung up my phone, I thought to myself, “Didn’t we almost have it all Guru?  Didn’t we almost have it all.”?

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