THE Meteorological department had predicted March 20 to be sizzling hot, but forgot to mention that they had the Holla Mahala at Kelab Aman in mind.
The sun came out briefly, on an otherwise cool and cloudy day, to peek at about 500 participants and supporters who turned up to play a motley of games including scrabble, carom, congkak, chess, arm-wrestling, tug-a-war, soccer, hockey, netball and mini games for kids..
Many other games like badminton, athletics and futsal had already started a week ago.
But first lets have a look at the origin of the Holla Mahala.
According to http://www.sikhiwiki.org/: "Hola Mohalla" stands for "mock fight". During this festival, processions are organised in the form of army type columns accompanied by war-drums and standard-bearers and proceeding to a given spot or moving in state from one Gurdwara to another. The custom originated in the time of Guru Gobind Singh who held the first such mock fight event at Anandpur in February 1701.
And true to the meaning, the Sikh Naujawan Sabha-organised event saw many battle-fronts being fought simultaneously and the biggest winners were the youth who turned up in great numbers to represent their Gurdwaras.
This article will not name the various winners in each sport, but will touch on the spirit of the Games itself.
For starters, the under-12 events were a joy to watch as Sikhs and Kaurs of every size, some athletic while some a little portly, giving their very best wearing T-shirts emblazoned with their Gurdwara names.
Even though many of the Holla Mahala participants were not from the respective Gurdwaras they represented, it made no difference.
Tat Khalsa, High Street, Kampung Pandan, Pulapol, Selayang, Parlimen and even Bukit Beruntung T-Shirts were proudly worn by the athletes.
Yes, there is a Gurdwara in Bukit Beruntung, as this scribe found out after making enquiries.
The idea, mooted by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, was the introduce a healthy sporting culture and it was evident that the Games held thousands of miles away from Anandpur Sahib were just that -- sporting and full of culture.
But sad to say, it is being held only by Gurdwaras in the Klang Valley, while other states have yet to catch on to this great idea.
One Sikh loudly lamented: "We have more than 40 Gurdwaras in Perak, and some are walking distance from each other. I wonder why no such games are being organised over there?"
Right on brother.
It is highly recommended that states which have a large Sikh population hold grand scale Holla Mahala games next year to scout for Gurdwara Cup athletes. Don't blame Klang Valley athletes if they make a clean sweep in Seremban after this.
For, preparations for this Games started a month ago, with youth seriously training and eating right to get fit for the Big Day.
Come rain or shine, literally, Under-21, Under-16 and Under-12 hockey boys trained at the Kelab Aman grounds for a month on Fridays from 9pm to midnight.
Yes, ending at midnight, and reaching home at 1am only to bounce out of bed by 7am the next day for morning drills.
The athletes, coaches, team managers, organisers, volunteers, Gurdwaras (which provided attire, food and drinks) and Kelab Aman were simply amazing in making this event a great success.
The Games even managed to attract Sports Minister KJ, and so, all of you deserve a jaikara ... Jo Bole So Nihal...
Note: For over 500 pictures of the Games visit Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia FaceBook.