Under The Radar: Dharam Khalsa

Photo-Nolan Lee

Let’s get this outa’ the way first…Any relation to Guru Khalsa?

No, but his parents knew my parents when we were youngster’s. I am from
Austin and he is from Houston.We both went to boarding school in India together.We were both pretty young when we went over there.
His mother was one of the people who supervised our whole situation while we were traveling or in school. We do have the same last name for the same reason…

How does going to the same school with someone lead to adopting the same last name?

It doesn’t…To have the last name Khalsa means to live a certain way as Sikh.My parents converted to Sikhism and it was under this influence I was born as a Khalsa…not to explain for Guru but his parents did the same.When people like my parents and his had children growing up there was a program set up for American Sikhs to go to a boarding School, for us to learn everything there was to learn almost an Indian Sikh would.

Were all American student renamed upon going there?

No…it’s a very unique way to have a middle and last name.All Sikhs like me have the last name Khalsa. All the men have Singh as a middle name and all the women have Kaur as middle name…it’s symbolic in a sense.

How long did you go to school in India?

I went over there when I was ten and came back when I was thirteen. Since we changed schools and my parents didn’t really know what to do about that so I stayed in America after that.

How do you think the time you spent there effected your development
as a person?

It definitely has a very large part to do with who I have become and it
still affects me to this day. I feel the things that are tied into that influence that will be with me forever.

Are there Indian values or tradition there that you picked up?

Not so much values or traditions as much as perceptions of life and
understanding the humility they can teach you.

Do you think it was a good experience?

When I was over there I had a very hard time adjusting to the way things were, but the things that I experienced there are still teaching me to this day and I don’t think I would trade that for very much if anything at all.

How does skateboarding fit in when you spend 9 months a year in

I didn’t start skating until I was almost 16. I stepped on a board or two when I was there but didn’t take to it until I had gotten home and started jumping dirt on my bike at 9th st. in Austin. That's when I met my friend Evan and he showed me a way to look at skateboarding that has kept me on one since then…so I am not to sure but I do know when your heart is feeling for it you find a way right?

Who are your Sponsors?

Autumn Skate shop…no mas…thanks to Dave and his familia.

What are some of you other interest besides skating?

Living in New York means pushing. Pushing has never been so fun, ripping
through these streets and the traffic just to get where you’re
going.leave the cars at home. If worst comes to worst catch the
train…city legs. those who really know…you never want to stop
pushing, and the spot can be just as much of the trick as the trick is.

Tell us about the Thompkins Square TF. What’s the story?
behind it, who's killing it these days, and what you favorite part?

Notorious…the calm before the mayhem…Abc skate shop birthed the place with it’s close location and a few things to skate. Autumn kept it alive on account of the necessity for a place to chill and skate in the city and it had established itself as that already. As far as who’s killing it? It’s a melting pot of ripper’s, visitor’s and locals.The names that come to mind would probably rather have their names mentioned for a different reason than thompkins…nuff respek! My favorite part is definitely that I can just zone out and do my thing until I feel like sitting on the benches and talkin’ shit with my homie’s.

Since there are no parks in the city and only a few people have
cars, what do you do about skating during the winters in New York?

You do what you can when you can and you bite the bullet again and again telling yourself you don’t notice…it’s a very Zen kind of Jedi.