Who Is Parmjit?
I am a very caring person. I mean I can be a bit grumpy at times. I do like my own space just like everybody else. But I’m also a very loyal person. Due to my past and we will be going into my past I’m not really a people’s person. Due to my background and due to my abusing alcohol and drugs. I don’t trust many people there’s only a select few who I trust. I sometimes find it very uncomfortable to communicate with people sometimes. Even with my wife, I find that quite hard to communicate and that’s where some arguments occur. I am very mentally strong. If I put my heart to something I will accomplish it. If I put my mind to something I know I can conquer the world. I have a good heart.
So what’s your day job?
I own a couple of businesses In Recycling and Transport. I have been quite successful when it came to my businesses. I’ve had businesses where I have taken £20,000 and turned it into 3 million pounds. My background is transport that’s where my expertise lies.
What’s your education background?
I mean I left school with no GCSE’s and I was a very clever guy. I was more interested in listening to my music listening to Heera. Dossing with my friends. I took my exams again but failed them. I went to college and did my BTEC and my HND Diploma this was in Business and I passed that. I was so interested in the Bhangra scene back then as well as drinking. I went to Staffordshire University. I got into a bit of debt with loans and credit cards and I had to start paying it back and get a job.
You also left home for a while tell me about that?
I started to work for a company and I started to progress quite quickly. I have always worked no matter what I have done in my life I have always worked. In any company, I always achieve a lot. I even lived in Germany for 6 months and that’s where I learnt my transport skills.
I was told to leave home at 14 years old. I have no brothers or sisters. I fell into the wrong crowd and I just did stupid things I was arrested and done for drunk and disorderly but I moved back home at 22.
Your personal background was that you grew up without a father figure around. Can you tell me more about that?
I remember some parts as I was young. My mum left my dad when I was 18 months old. That would have been around 1976/77. My mum was 18 when she had me. My mum was a single parent. She went to live with her brother but that didn’t go well. We will leave that there. I mean the people we serve at MLSS, the homeless people and people living in hostels and children homes. I lived there. I have seen it first hand. I know what it can be like and how it hard times are.
I remember one Christmas I was about 5/6 years and it was near the island and next to that island was a homeless shelter. I was living there and this lady gave me a gift. I have seen things my dad did which he should have never done. We never had our first house until I was 30 years old. We lived everywhere but no home was ours till I was 30. When people were going home I was walking the streets waiting for my mum to finish work. I mean my mum worked so hard.
Theera states ” I remember seeing Parma sitting in telephone boxes waiting for his mum to come home. I remember him sleeping in a telephone box”
Your mum worked all the hours to bring you up, your mum raised you by herself. can you tell me more?
I always remember Caldmore Gurdwara when my mum used to take me when I was 4/5 years old. Even at night. We never even had a TV. My mum never washed me in that place we were living. Every Saturday she used to take me swimming where I could bathe myself. That was my weekly wash. I’m not making this up. My tea and biscuits were my highlights! My mum was such a hard worker did everything for me. My mum was disowned by her own family because she divorced my dad and never remarried! I saw a lot with what my dad, in terms with what he put my mum through. My dad was claiming my child benefit as well so he never wanted me to leave. We never had a house and we lived a hostel and then we got a flat in Walsall. My mum gave me everything that I needed.
What point in your life did you turn to Alcohol?
When I had all my businesses I saw a lot of money and that’s where Alcohol found me. I used to drink lager and I remember I used to keep in touch with my dad also. He used to trigger me off. He was a big drinker. He was a womaniser. It is hard to even now to show any emotion. I wish I could. Its one of the major arguments I have with my wife as I can’t show any emotion. I never used to drink shorts but then I started. I was earning a lot of money and I was using that money to buy alcohol. I was drinking so much as I was earning a lot. Every time I used to buy new cars. I had the money to blow. My ego took over as I was married then. So there were many factors. I was turning into my dad everything I was accomplishing it was like my dad. Then I turned to cocaine. I fell into the wrong crowd.
You fell into the wrong crowd and things turned dark. How?
I never saw a sober day in 7 years. This was around 2007 even on Christmas day I remember I wasn’t even sober. Drinking a bottle and a half was nothing. People used to get a free drink out of me because I used to buy it I have the money. Then my business went into liquidation and my drinking went further and I drank even more. I made a mistake which I’m not going to go into right now and I really regret this mistake. I ended up being the person I hated and that was my dad. One thing that did really change me was when my son was born. My son was born in 2010. My guardian angel has always been there always. When my son was born he had a kidney problem. He had surgery when he was 6 months old. Around that time my drinking really got a heavy then. I used to drink I was up for about 4 hours and that was that. I mean my doctor gave me 6 months. 4 years of my life was black and I remember going work and drinking that was my life. It was just black. I went into debt 80 grand. I was so low. I was in a spiral. I wasn’t interested at all. I was doing all sorts of things I even upset my wife. There was no waking moment where I was happy. I had the shittest life. I couldn’t admit I had a problem. My wife wanted me to go to AA. I did go a couple of times. But it didn’t help. I had to go and do it myself.
You and your wife were told that you couldn’t have children?
Yes. We were told we have to go through IVF. Again my guardian angel appeared we went to see Babaji. We went to the doctors and I remember 2-4 days later I think. My wife was pregnant. We were told by doctors we couldn’t have kids. I just felt so blessed.
You had a tough time growing up, what was the hardest time for you?
When you go home, you go home to a family. You go home to your brothers and your parents. I had no siblings and all I ever wanted was a brother or sister. It was lonely and it was hard growing up with no one around or talk too. Even now I had the desire to be loved as I had no brothers or sisters. It was hard being alone and having no one to talk to about your issues maybe my life would have been different. My mum gave me everything in the material and just the love was missing.
I have 4 real friends. Theera is one of them. I will call these 4 friends every day and make time for them. They care for me and I care for them. I have been used so much by people. Whether it was for my contacts, my brains with my knowledge of my work or money. There are people who have into my life and have shit on me! I hate negativity. I know that there is a guardian angel watching me. Whoever he is! He is there! People were only friends with me because of money!
You and Randhir (Theera) have been friends since you were 5 years old. So he is like a brother to you as you had no siblings. Tell me about your friendship?
We have known each other for a long time. He is my big brother and he has always looked out for me.
I remember when I was getting smacked around by some guy and I remember crying to Theera. I said to Theera you know he’s just hit me one and I remember they are grabbing him giving him a telling off. Theera has always been there for me always. He is like a gentle giant.
Theera states: My mum always used to stay always look after, as his mum and my mum were friends. My mum used to say look after him because he has no brothers or sisters. You know he’s alone just making sure you look after him. For me, I’ve always looked out for him from the age of 5. I mean no one messes with Parma. I mean we are the same age. I’ve always been happy for him with any of the success that he has achieved in his life. I will always be around. When mlss started I heard about his situation if he continued with the alcohol he literally had six months. All I thought was his mum his wife and his son at that time. that’s when I took him under my wing. I used to lecture him all the time laughing. We had already spoken about MLSS and also about Niskham Centre. To me in my eyes, he is my brother. I am very very protective over him. We both look out for each other someone says something wrong we always have each other’s back.
You turned your life around in 2013 you married and blessed with 2 beautiful children. How did the transition happen?
31/12/2013 I changed my life around. I literally just stopped. Theera sent someone round to tie my Dastaar. I had no help. No rehabs I literally just stopped. It was Maharaj. It was him that stopped me. The amount of support I had from Theera was something else. I even started to have money in my pocket and I was sober and I was doing Simran. I was doing seva. I wanted to get out of the situation I was in. I didn’t like who I was and becoming. So I changed and my mother didn’t bring me up for this. It was Maharaj Kirpa that helped me.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, I have many. Yes, hurting loved ones. But I have turned my life around. My wife is happy. My kids are happy. My mum is happy. We go places as a family.
What made you join the Sikhi Path?
I always going to the Gurdwara and there was always something there. I learnt about Sikhi and I learnt more by doing Seva. I learnt about the Gurus. I am not baptised yet. But there is God in everyone.
How did your MLSS journey begin?
I remember reading a newspaper and Nishkam Centre was feeding the homeless. I rang Theera and said I want to do this. I remember Theera saying just go. Something kept drawing me to do Seva. I do have a good heart and people do say that about me. That’s because I have seen things and had a shit time. So I know how it feels. Seva for me was an addiction. It started with Theera and I always trusted him and he wanted to start our own up. The Seva is done by the heart. No agenda. I swear on my heart I am not there for any photo’s or awards. Theera has to do that part as I really don’t like doing that. We are there to help. We have come from feeds were very emotional. We don’t take money off people or donations.
What was your main struggle setting up MLSS?
The slander. We still get it. We have been dragged down. My mum got slander at the Gurdwara and she has bad legs and went to sit on the bench. My mum did her prayers (mattha teekh) One of the ladies there got off the floor and sat in her place. The poor woman had to stand. She was in a wheelchair. That’s how cruel some of our own people are because we are feeding the homeless. It’s not nice. We have had all sorts. Our own people spread slander. Maharaj is watching. But I want to be known as something other than a drinker. I also want my kids to see that also that I am a gentle person. That’s also important to me.
I want to know more about the Breakfast Initiative MLSS are doing
We don’t tell many people about that. But yes we do that and it has been going really well. 2 years ago this had started. 2000 kids get served a week. They did a survey on children whose parents are on drugs or have alcohol issues they are going to school without breakfast. Education was being affected as they weren’t being fed. My son’s school do a collection for MLSS also and it’s so nice. Maharaj does a lot.
Can you remember a time where you encountered a situation during feeds a good one and bad one?
Yes, the bad one was when we went to Calais. That was such an eye opener. We went there to give out clothes and they were attacking our vans. I mean we saw guns and it was a tough time. But I trusted Theera. We had to give out the shoes in a line quick time. That was the first time we went to Calais. I remember looking at Theera when this was happening. I will never forget that.
There are many I mean feeding children and mothers hiding her kids near a bridge and they needed food. I mean the Asian lady who you remember, the one who was abused Theera spoke to her and I know you spoke to her. The emotion that goes in the feeds are incredible. The feeling you get when you know you have fed someone. Especially little children.
One I do remember was a male called Derek and he had Autism and he was always hanging around at the back of the queue. Theera and I started to talk to him. Derek just used to stand there. Derek looked very rough and he had dreadlocks and eventually he made friends with us. there was a stage where he wasn’t bothered about the food he would just start clapping when he saw us. Derek was 17 years old when his parents kicked him out. But he was crying so bad he was choking back the tears. Derek had 7 brothers and sisters and he was kicked as he was different to them. He had Autism and my dad used to beat me up. Derek wanted to be a plumber and wanted to read and write. I said I will find out for you. Derek said the reason was I want to make my dad proud and I want to buy a watch for my dad and flowers for my mum. Derek was 50 years old and hasn’t seen his parents since he was 17 years old. It was sad and he was talking like a child. Derek was childlike. Derek had no money and he said he misses them. We brought the card for Derek. But we gave Derek a Christmas card as well. But he held the card so close to his chest and just sobbed. Derek stated he has never had a Christmas or Birthday card. Giving someone something or trying to make people happy is important and touching someone’s heart. That’s what MLSS is about.
Do you feel other charities help and support you?
Yes we do get support. We will always support anybody and will help everybody as no one helped us.
I want you to quote this, certain individuals know how to manipulate Social Media. But they are doing no Seva. I have seen this with my own eyes. MLSS we talk the talk and walk the walk. We go out and do it. MLSS belongs to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The bus is for him. We are blessed.
Have you ever received negativity whilst started MLSS?
Yes. People have tried to put differences in between me and Theera. I mean some people really go to extreme lengths to cause problems. I mean people had gone up to Theera and say “we know what he is like” People always slander. Why are using him to do Seva. Nothing will ever come between me and Theera. You work at your friendships. It is all Maharaj’s connection. We just don’t let it bother us. When you have hate you have ego.
I mean a lot of people who are in the media such as Peter Virdee and Emelie Heskey have to come to the feeds. How did that happen?
Yes. It was a great experience. Peter Virdee has been following us for a following us for a while. It was raining and they came and got stuck in. That’s what we wanted. We have a booking system and he came along. Peter Virdee has offered us a lot of support and he’s been brilliant, he is very down to earth.
What’s your biggest achievement?
Putting my Dastaar on.
Do people ever say you are scary? (laughing)
Yes! (laughing) But I wouldn’t harm anyone. Its just me and my look.
You recently won the Top 10 for the TSB Community Partner Award. Well Done!
Yes that was a shock! We are extremely happy.
What’s the message for MLSS?
We want to help people. We want to do seva. This is for anyone going through a hard time take one step forward and lead that life and you can do it. There are a lot of people going through what I have been through. It’s hard but you will get through it.
MLSS have a very special place in my heart. They are so humble and selfless and seeing their work with my own eyes I know I can write about them correctly. How MLSS in particular Theera and Parmjit get slander for feeding the homeless I will never be able to comprehend. These men/women go out every night whilst we are in our beds. Feeding the less fortunate. What people really do forget is that we are only a few paycheck’s from that. Anything can actually happen. So when we see someone who is homeless go and help them don’t sit and judge them, don’t look at them disgustingly. Every time I see someone who is homeless I think of MLSS. I always go and buy them a sandwich or even money. What these guys do is seva and they do it because they want too. They do it from their hearts. Every time I see them in action I feel a sense a pride. These are my brothers who are going out and doing something good. They have a team of volunteers who serve around 5,000 meals a week to the needy in 15 towns and cities. They rely on local people donating food and also support school breakfast clubs. These breakfast club are so amazing, they are helping young children to get fed so that they can concentrate at school. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Before you judge MLSS ask yourself first could I every day go out and do what they do?
Help MLSS by donating food for the less unfortunate.