In Search of Belonging …

“There is nothing bigger or older than the universe.”
~ Stephen Hawking

Always moving and always evolving, where there goes my
Always moving and always evolving, where there goes my “bed to sleep”, that becomes my home

Living with a “border-less” heart in the world of “man-made borders”…

Gurdeep was born into a farming family, in a  simple and ordinary village called Siahar in Punjab. After moving away to Whitehorse (Yukon) Canada, Gurdeep has continued to pursue a diverse variety of creative projects since his early childhood days in the village. At their farm, his family would grow many kinds of crops, vegetables and beans, and they would also raise cows and buffaloes that provided milk.  So, he was fortunate to grow up eating home-grown and organic meals. Living on a farm also allowed Gurdeep to grow up close to the land and waters, which fostered a passion for nature. Living on the land embedded in him a respect for”Air (as Guru), Waters (as Father), and Earth (as Mother)”!

My first photo - I think I was 2 months old... After my birth, my mom became very sick. She spent a year hospitalized in critical condition and doctors had said she would not make it through. I was brought home from the hospital by my dad, aunties and other relatives. My three older sisters played the parent role, while my mother was recovering in the hospital. After a year in the hospital with doctors saying she would not survive, it was a miracle that she was able to come home to us.
My first photo – I think I was 2 months old… After my birth, my mom became very sick. She spent a year hospitalized in critical condition and doctors had said she would not make it through. I was brought home from the hospital by my dad, aunties and other relatives. My three older sisters played the parent role, while my mother was recovering in the hospital. After a year in the hospital with doctors saying she would not survive, it was a miracle that she was able to come home to us.

In 9th grade, Gurdeep learnt from a friend in his village about a “thing” that existed in the world. His friend, with his sweet childish-innocence, called this thing a “Dishnary” (he meant “Dictionary”). It had an English translation of almost all the Punjabi words. Overjoyed with this new discovery, Gurdeep cycled all the way from his village to a nearby town, so he could buy that “thing”! It opened opportunities for him to learn a new language and communicate with the rest of the world. He read, word-by-word, all from the dictionary.

My parents' home in the village Siahar in Punjab where I grew up and started learning about the life and the world.
My parent’s home in the village Siahar in Punjab, where I grew up and started learning about life and the world.

 

 

This is the only photo from my childhood I have with my mom. My hand on mom’s shoulder tells everything. To my right is my oldest sister (with her daughter), who (along with my other sisters) took care of me when my mom had to spend a full year in the hospital after I was born.

Gurdeep was in grade 6 when he wrote his first poem. By grade 10, he had written numerous creative literature and compositions, including poetry, prose, a full novel, hundreds of stories and a play. By the age of 23, he became a published author of two books.

Age 18.
Age 18.

In Punjabi, Gurdeep’s first book is titled Mitti De Ghar. His second book, entitled Among the Stars, is based on the life of Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian origin to go to space.

“And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances” – William Shakespeare

 

Writing is Gurdeep’s passion and lifetime craft. For him, the day is not complete without weaving some threads of ideas into written words.

College life at Government College, Ludhiana, Punjab
College life at Government College, Ludhiana, Punjab

He moved to Canada in 2006 and has lived in many great Canadian cities, town and villages, including Squamish, Vancouver, Abbotsford, Saskatoon, Edmonton, North Battleford, Turtleford, Lloydminster, Yellowknife, and now, Whitehorse. Through road trips, Gurdeep has had to opportunity to travel through and extensively explore Canada.

East learns West and West learns East through cultural exchange!
East learns West and West learns East through cultural exchange!

In 2011, he became a Candian citizen. This motivated him to increase his knowledge of this beautiful country, further understanding its land and its people.

Offering real happiness is a true offering!
Offering real happiness is a true gift!

From BC to Quebec, Gurdeep has travelled to almost every large city, while also spending time in small towns and villages. Due to his upbringing in a humble village, he has developed a strong appreciation for small, tight-knit communities. He was especially captivated by wheat farms in Saskatchewan. He would sit by the roadside and watch the prairie-land farmers harvest the wheat crop for hours and reminisce about his similar experience at his family’s farm in Punjab.

Bhangra- Dance of Punjab | Yukon Arts Centre | Photo by: Matt Jacques Photography
THE YUKON’S EXTREMELY MOVING YOUTH SOCIETY (EMYS) STUDENTS, TRAINED TO DANCE BHANGRA BY GURDEEP PANDHER | Bhangra- Dance of Punjab | Yukon Arts Centre | Photo By: Matt Jacques Photography

As a part of Punjabi-Sikh culture, Gurdeep was born into the world of Bhangra. In his youth, at the age of 17, he began taking professional Bhangra classes in Ludhiana, Punjab. This allowed him to learn to dance from the heart and adopt dance as a part of his lifestyle. Since his days in Punjab, his love for dance has continued to grow and evolve.

When I Dance bhangra today, I feel the freely-flowing young energy and I dance as though I am 17-years old.

Life is in full

 

Dance creates total happiness, which I really wanted to achieve.

After moving to the Yukon in 2012, Gurdeep has pursued his passion for dance, providing Bhangra lessons at many locations in Canada.

This moment with CBC's Sandi Coleman had brought a big turning point in my life. The story based on my interview itself went viral and featured on CBC National.
This 2016 interview with CBC’s Sandi Coleman was a turning point in my life. The story based on my interview went viral, was viewed by thousands and was featured on CBC National.

Gurdeep began posting Bhangra dance videos filmed in the beautiful landscapes of the Yukon. Over time, his posts went viral and his work has been featured on CBC Yukon, CBC National, CTV National News, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, SBS Australia, and many other platforms. Even Canadian embassies abroad shared his works to showcase the wonderful side of multiculturalism that is currently present in Canada.

Finding a common ground
Finding a common ground

Although Gurdeep has spent an ample amount of time travelling across the globe to the many corners of the world,  the Yukon is where he calls home. Apart from his village in Punjab, it is the place where he has lived most of his life and he considers himself to be a proud Yukoner. In his free time, Gurdeep enjoys sharing a laugh with his fellow Yukoners at coffee shops or in the streets of the many unique Yukon communities.

“The whole Yukon seems like a village of friends”, he often reflects positively on his decision to live in his close-knit and friendly town.

Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but eventually you will arrive precisely where you need to be.
Laugh at the confusion, live in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will arrive precisely where you need to be.

Gurdeep believes that life is an art and he makes the most of every moment!

“When you treat each day as a new day,  you learn how to start fresh and live in the moment”, he often ponders.

“Sometimes saline and sometimes saccharine, life is like a fruit-shake with a distinctive diversity of flavours”. Gurdeep has created a variety of quotable life lessons.

Embrace change and enjoy your life as it unfolds! The hardest part about growing is letting go of what you were used to, and moving on with something you're not. Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting, and have faith that things will work out.
Embrace change and enjoy your life as it unfolds! The hardest part about growing is letting go of the life you were accustomed to and moving forward with something new. Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting, and instead, have faith that things will work out for the best.

Another quote he often uses, “Monetary richness without happiness is real poverty and monetary poverty with true happiness is real richness”.

Love of World Cultures and Collaborations. This is Punjabi-Irish-Scottish-French.
Gurdeep has a love and passion for bringing together cultures. This is a Punjabi-Irish-Scottish-French collaboration.

He pursues other passions too, including photography, video-editing, web-art, digital-designs, languages, and music. However, written wordography and Bhangra remain his favourite.

One day, I was happily surprised to see my painting displayed in a cafe in the Yukon. Artist Colin Alexander created the painting.

The vast land, open-air, wide mountains, smiling sun and, even sometimes beautiful drizzles, all taught him to be a free-spirit. Gurdeep celebrates life with an open heart that he found through his love for nature.

Every hour, every minute, and even every second, you're always learning. Stay a student throughout your whole life!
Every hour, every minute, and even every second, you’re always learning. Stay a student throughout your whole life!
Gurdeep with the Mayor of Whitehorse, Mr. Dan Curtis

You are such an amazing addition to our community, thank you for making Whitehorse home!
~ Dan Curtis, The Mayor of City of Whitehorse

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ~ Voltaire

My young fans from the north of ordinary.
My young fans from north of sixty

Sharing and Learning

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt


I live my life keeping these quotes in mind.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca — ‘I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.’