Source: The Star
He locked the washroom door, unravelled the nine-metre turban, took a pair of scissors and started cutting. Ten minutes later, three feet of hair lay in a pile and Charanbir Singh sat down and cried.
Outside, his parents and grandmother were in tears. Two friends persuaded him to come out, but Charanbir, his head wrapped in a towel, rushed to his room.
That was a year ago. Charanbir, now 17, still shudders at the memory. "I am very proud of my Sikh heritage and I never got my hair cut before ... but there were reasons. I had to cut my hair."
Sikhism dates back to 15th-century India. Adherents are required to not cut their hair, considered a visible testament to their connection with their creator. The turban was adopted to manage long hair and make Sikhs easily identifiable.
For many young men in Greater Toronto, that is the problem: They don't want to stand out.
Like other new or second-generation immigrants, many Sikh youngsters are desperate to fit in with the school crowd, while others complain of racism because they wear the turban. Add to that cultural influences, peer pressure and the desire to assimilate.
The end result? Many youngsters cut their hair, leading to family friction and, in some cases, lasting estrangement.