No matter how much we believe in science and technology, one cannot completely deny the existence of super natural power called God. Many times, life put us at the point where human efforts are helpless and we depend completely on the blessings of these invisible powers. My belief on Sai baba is also come in the category which can’t define by logic and facts. It’s just I feel that Sai Baba is the source of all my energy and efforts, although he doesn’t do anything physically. Being Sai devotee, I wanted my wife to visit Shirdi Sai Baba temple at first priority when she informed me about her pregnancy. It would be our first child and I didn’t want to start the most precious phase of our life without the blessing of Sai Baba. That was just start of her pregnancy days so doctor also allowed her to travel. With the happiness of being parents and the spirit of Sai-Darshan, we packed the bag and started our journey to Shirdi.
There are several ways to reach Shirdi but I always preferred the path that goes from the Rahman Miyan’s restaurant. His dhaba cum tea-shop cum restaurant is situated between Dhule and Malegao at NH69 (Agra-Bombay Highway). My Shirdi visit never completes without taking rest and sipping tea at Rahman Miyan’s restaurant. When first time I visited Rahman Miyan’s restaurant, a Sikh truck driver told me that there is some magic in Rahman Miyan’s hands; his tea tastes different from others. That truck driver use to visit all over India, but he never experienced such an amazing taste anywhere in India. At that time I thought that he was overrating Rahman Miyan but the moment I sipped tea, I too became fan of Rahman Miyan. Once I observed his tea making process to check anything special in the process but I didn’t find anything different. He also follows the same process for making tea that is being followed in every home in India, but his taste is indeed unique. Once I asked this question to Rahman Miyan what’s special he does with tea. Rahman miya’s serious face turned smiley on my question and he replied that “bas uska hath he mujhpar” (it’s all the gift of god).
Rahman Miyan has little area for restaurant but its indeed very clean and peaceful place. He runs this restaurant twenty four cross seven from last eight years. Rahman Miyan is silent and serious kind of person, he never talks so much with anyone. But his personality is quite impressive, six feet tall with lean body and fair complexion. He always wears white kurta-payjama with white round cap in head. Being a true Muslim, he offers five time prayer daily. Friday is very special day for him, he take off from restaurant work on Friday and devotes his full day in religious rituals only. My connection with Rahman Miyan is more than just a customer and restaurant owner. I am the only person with whom Rahman Miyan talks so much. Like me, he is also quite fond of literature. He knows Hindi, English and Urdu very well. We mostly talk about books, poems and Gazals. From Munshi Premchand to Paul Cohelo, he reads everyone with same interest. Similarly from Galib to Nida Fazali, he remembers the shero-shayari of many Urdu poets. Sometime, I recite my poem to him and like a critic, he provide his valuable feedback to me. Apart from literature, we also exchange our spiritual views on religion and human life. Every time I come to Shirdi, I spend almost one hour at Rahman Miyan’s restaurant only. Like Sai Baba temple, his restaurant also became the place that fills me with positive spirit.
It was Friday when I was travelling to Shirdi along with my wife. We reached at Rahman Miyan’s restaurant in the morning at 10. Like every Friday, Rahman Miyan was not there but his restaurant was open. We ordered some breakfast and took the rest. My eyes were looking for Rahman Miyan, though I knew Rahman Miyan doesn’t meet to anyone on Friday. After finishing breakfast, I went to the Rahman Miyan’s home at the backside of restaurant. I looked from the window; Rahman Miyan was busy in performing Namaz. One of the members from his staff told me that it will take one hour to meet Rahman Miyan. I was in hurry to reach Shirdi so I took the off from there and went to Shirdi.
Like always, Shirdi town was packed with tourists and devotees. Shirdi is a small town around Sai baba temple with full of hotels and Dharamshalas. We reached there at 2 in the afternoon and were very hungry. We took a room in hotel, got freshen up and took the lunch. After lunch , we took the rest of one hour and went to Sai Baba temple at around 5 in evening. That was a busy day in temple and there were thousands of people gathered for Sai-Darshan. It took almost four hours for us to wait in long queue for Sai Darshan. There was an arrangement done in temple to manage the crowd in temple. Every queue has to move from eight different passages (halls) before reaching to Sai Baba statue. This arrangement has been done so that queue is in running position always and crowd can be dispersed rather than accumulating at common place.
The arrangement in temple was good but people around us were not decent. They were unnecessary pushing each other to get ahead in queue. That is why sometimes it is creating state of stampede especially at narrow passages. I was protecting my wife because she was pregnant but crowd was really very rough and harsh. Failing to my efforts, she was also got blow many times.
Overcoming all such troubles, we finally reached in front of Sai Baba statue after three hours. There were thousands of people standing in the small space and thousands more behind us waiting for their turn. There was tight security staff, who were shouting and pushing everyone to offer the prayer and move fast. When I reached in front of statue, I joined the hands, closed the eyes and bend my head to offer my prayers. But next moment when I opened my eyes, I was pushed by security person to exit gate. Same way my wife also joined the hands and closed her eyes. Next moment, she too pushed at exit door but her exit turned into a small accident. My wife is little short in height and when security staff was trying to push her, he caught her hairs in hand rather than shoulder. It filled my wife in tremendous pain and by the time she relieved from pain, she got slipped at the staircase and fell down at the exit gate. It made a scratch at her forehead and it turned red. I was angry on the mistreatment done by security staff. I went to him, hold his collar and shouted at him. But he pushed me and shouted at me to let him do his duty. I was again angrily moving towards him but my wife stopped me and we went out from the temple.
We went to doctor and doctor said that it’s just a minor injury and we need not to worry. He put a bandage at my wife’s forehead and gave some medicines. Doctor may assure us from worry but I was not relieved yet. I went to the office premise in the temple and complained against security staff. But the authority there was not ready to take my excuse. He argued me that there are lakes of people came daily and they have big responsibility to manage such huge crowd every day. They have to be such strict and alert always to avoid any unwanted incidents. Though he said sorry for my wife, he was not ready to take any action against his staff. It made heated argument between both of us and finally I returned from there with disappointment and anger.
That night I couldn’t sleep and thought about the incident only. It put questions to my devotion to Sai baba. People like me come from miles away and what they get in return are such troubles and mistreatment. Inside the temple, we hardly get any place where we can peacefully perform our prayers. Rather than happiness and blessings, people are returning with tiredness, troubles, bad memories and sometime injury as well. It’s just not waste of time and money but a joke of our emotion and belief too. Next day I left Shirdi with decision that I will not come here again. If god is everywhere then why are we searching for him in temples only? At some point of time, we have to break all such beliefs and customs, and listen our mind only.
It was early morning when we left the Shirdi so there was less traffic on road. Plus I was also in mood of anger and anxious so I put my foot hard on accelerator. I was so hurry in returning that I forgot about Rahman Miyan also. It was my wife who remembered me about him when we were crossing his restaurant. Though I didn’t want to take halt, I stopped at restaurant for the sake of my wife only. When we entered in the restaurant, Rahman Miyan was just returning after his morning prayer. He greeted me with smile and asked about the journey. He ordered his staff to take order from us and went to kitchen for preparing tea for us. My wife ordered some breakfast and left for the washroom.
To pass the time and to chit-chat with my dear friend, I went to kitchen where Rahman Miyan was preparing tea for us. He was putting vessel on stove for preparing tea. I told him that I visited last day also but couldn’t meet as we were in hurry for visiting temple. He said sorry for not meeting me last day and said God’s work always come first. Till the time, tea water in the vessel has boiled and Rahman miyan was stirring the water so that tea can be mixed well in water. The boiled water remembered me about my anger but Rahman Miyan was treating tea-water as a child. He added some milk and again stirring the tea with help of spoon. His way of making tea made me think about a father who is touching, kissing and playing with his kid. “Rab dee mehar chakhani hain?” (Do you want to taste the God’s greatness?) Inspite of Hindi and Urdu, he asked in Punjabi to me while offering some tea to taste. “No, I already tasted Rab dee Mehar and I am sure your tea is better than god’s greatness” I replied him in rough tone.
He got that I was not in right mood to talk that day. “Is everything all-right?” he asked me in surprising tone. “Rahamn Miyan, it may be our last meeting because I would not be coming to Shirdi now.” I let him knew about my decision. He enquired about the reason of my decision and I told him all about how I got hurt by mistreatment done to my wife at temple. He smiled on my incident and told me that I am a lucky man. I asked disappointedly about what’s lucky in such accident. He sighed for a moment and said – “Ten years back, I was a farmer in a village at coastal area of Gujrat. One day a mob gathered in front of my home and they were shouting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogan. I was out of the village that day but my wife was there at home. The bloody crowd burned my home and my wife also burned with home. I left the village from that day and came here and started this restaurant for living. I knew Rama didn’t come that day to kill my wife and also Allah didn’t have intention to take the life of my wife. I never gave the blame of misdeed of some people to my god. I still have complete belief in Allah and I pray him every day. So I must say that you are lucky man as your wife is alive and smiling right there at the table.” I turned back and saw my wife; she was smiling while talking to someone over phone. I took the excuse from Rahman Miyan and went to join my wife in breakfast. But Rahman Miyan told me to think about what he said.
I came to my wife and Rahman Miyan served tea to us. With every sip of tea, the negativity of my heart was shedding and mind was relaxing. I was sorry over me for being judgmental under emotion and questioning over the belief of my soul. Rahman Miyan made me realize about eternity of god. Sai baba is not in that statue only but he also resides in the people like Rahman Miyan also who believes in god in spite of all such troubles of life. Now I could understand why his tea tastes so amazing; because it has the spirit of God in it.
“So, are you coming next time?” Rahman Miyan asked me while I was paying the bill. “Yes, until Sai Baba is serving such wonderful tea to us” I replied with smile and took the off from there.