This story is a result of talking with a host of family and friends, not only in my city, but in many other cities and towns, over phone and on chats. There are facts deftly intertwined with imagination - I have tried to answer some of the questions being raised, the niyat is that it will provide my Readers with valuable insights and at the same time, the joy of reading.
Central characters -
My self - Asgar aged 50 years running own business and maintaining a study income and providing a decent standard of living to my family, and having a weakness for Tandoori Indian dishes.
Wife : Rabab aged 47 years. Home maker and an excellent cook .
Murtaza : Aged 23 years studying for his MBA and a lover of Fusion Foods.
Nooruddin : Aged 18 years in his final Year at School, has yet to decide on his future studies, has not given a thought , but of one thing he is sure, his love for Continental and Mediterranean food.
SO OURS IS A FAMILY WHERE FOOD PLAYS A CENTRAL PART IN OUR DAY TO DAY LIVING.
It is Sunday and our family is enjoying a sumptuous dinner of:
Pumpkin Risotto with Pickle Oil Ice cream
Hummus Bil Lahm and Kebab Joojeh
Tuwar pulao – palidoo – the favorite of my wife, and after toiling for the entire Sunday morning over the above 3 dishes, we as a family are very considerate to her, and do not expect her to make the elaborate Murgh Ki Raan where the making of galouti mixture for stuffing of Chicken, which requires the mixture to pass through the Mincer thrice is indeed a very tiring and time consuming process.
But my sons have made it clear that coming Sunday she has to make it or else they will be eating out – a notice which makes my poor wife shudder , to think of the costs of eating out.
I know the threat of eating out will work - come Sunday, and we will have Murgh ki Raan in our Thaal.
SO DEAR READERS THIS IS OUR FAMILY.
Now cut to Jumoa namaz two days back, where Janab Saheb appraised us of the salient points, the nitty gritty and most important the ‘barakats’ emanating for the individual, the family and the entire community at large from the ‘ FAIZ UL MAWAID BURHANIYAH’
He explained to all of us the a’ala niyaat and the significance of it, the haqiqats behind it are many , he said, which we fail to comprehend.
It is best known to our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) and his Mansoos (TUS) who has started this very unique and far reaching initiative, first started in London. Aqa Moula (TUS) speedy recovery is miraculous and when Janab saheb said that come Muharram and Insa Allah we will be blessed to hear the shadaat of Imam Husain (SA) from the Imami Takht once again, these words brought tears in many an eyes, and I for one was convinced.
I made immediate enquiries at the Mawaid centre and came to know that on payment of Rs: 4,600/- per month our family of 4 will be delivered a basket of wholesome nutritious Bohri food, and on further enquiry was pleased to know that the khidmatguzars are putting in a lot of effort, and the niyat is that out of 100 baskets – 60 will be paid for and 40 will be free baskets. Great concept I thought.
But knowing my family and specially my two sons I found the task very daunting. Worry was writ all over me when I returned home from office, and my wife Rabab immediately noticed it, but was kind enough not to push the issue in the fore front. Saturday also she found me in a very sullen and brooding nature and I confided her the problem that was perplexing me. She had a few encouraging words for me as I left for office.
It was decided between us that after Sunday dinner we will bring this ‘basket’ subject before the children. I wanted to put my case very convincingly, and being a stickler for details, Saturday was spent on reflecting - Googling on the subject of sharing food. Many hours of searching resulted in one convincing article by Dr. Phil Birtie – the Role of Food in Empowering Communities ( Refer to my previous Blog post)
There is much to food than mere physical benefits of nutrition and health. A good point I felt. Encouraged by this lead I read more and more. I found out that sharing same food is a means of bridging the gaps between same members of the community, which has arisen because of different socio economic conditions.
The seeming disconnect between the affluent class and the marginalized class of the same community – we are brothers all - 'mara DEEN na farzando' so lovingly referred by Aqa Moula (TUS) - he is our Bawa Shafiq - he is doing the tadbeer for our 'ma'ad' - emancipation – than why so much disconnect. It pains to see people so unconcerned at the plight of their fellow mumineen etc: Such thoughts made me fully engrossed, so much so, that I found difficulty in sleeping.
Luckily for me as I was tossing and turning and try to understand the truths behind this unique ‘mohim’ and in order to find some solace and peace of mind, I took up to do tilawat of Munajaat sharifa 1432H
And started reading it, some thing told me an answer may be found here. As I read along I came upon the following Aby’at Sahrifa –
EUREKA !! HERE WAS THE ANSWER I WAS LOOKING FOR
As I turned the page the following Aby'at Sharifa made me more convinced.
A silent doa for my Aqa Moula (TUS) and his A'li Qdr Muffadal Saifuddin Moula (TUS) escapedmy lips and I went off to sleep.
On reaching there, the shop assistant told me that for pita breads I will have to wait for an hour, as fresh stock was being awaited. Under the circumstances I had no other alternative but to just chill out – so I headed straight to across the street Barista and ordered Hazelnut Mocha and Chocolate Chip Muffins.
One hour is a long, long time, and it was early morning, there were hardly any customers, and amidst tranquil surrounding I drifted back and started reflecting on the Abyaat Sharifas, which had provided so much solace last night.
Let me share my reflections - Dear Readers - if you find some erroneous thinking on my part, do correct me, I will be deeply indebted.
Abyaat Sharifa 71 -
Aqa Moula (TUS) expresses that there are countless desires (niyaat) which he longs to be fulfilled ….. ke jehni kadar k'um chhe – ehne baland karoo.
We mumineen are all DEEN na farzando of our beloved Bawa Shafiq – we are all ‘baland qadar’ in that sense – hope my Readers agree - than what does Aqa Moula imply by saying that ‘ qadar k’um chhe ehne baland karoo’
Spiritually we are all the same, but in certain section of the affluent society a wrong perception has taken deep roots based on purely materialistic outlook – the yardstick of success is wealth – you are counted and seen by the car – the house you own and the latest mobile and other gadgets you flaunt etc: Much can be written, but to make the point, just making broad references.
So is it not that by sharing same food – the social beneficial effects are many, the widening gap – the disconnect in bridged? What say you dear Readers. Is my reasoning faulty ? Please correct me then ?
The FAIZ UL MAWAID BURHANIYAH is a most important initiative of leveling the ever widening chasm.
Agreed ? O K let me proceed.
Abyaat Sharifa 74 -
ALLAH ! Do help those who help their brethren with love and affection in overcoming the difficulties of day to day living and make good his brothers shortcomings.
Here Aqa Moula (TUS) is blessing those who come forward – those who are enjoying the best of material comforts and good life – to come forward and help those of their marginalized mumineen brothers. They have the world, they are self sufficient but they are still in need of mu’asaat (help) and this help only Moula and Moula alone can give as a boon.
For M’aad we will not need a Ferrari - a Hublot Euro BB but our Aqa Moula’s doa Mubarak – his doa Mubarak will infuse us with spirituality – humanity – love for our fellow mumineen brethren – it will make us walk the ‘siraat’ with joy and abundance resulting from sharing – in this case sharing the same food that my fellow mumin bhai in shukr is so happy to have with his family – it has eased him of financial burden also but the important underlining message is – WE ARE ALL ONE !!
So it is a Win Win situation for both the giver and the receiver.
As I was sipping my Hazelnut Mocha across the table I found a copy of Sunday Telegraph, 11th Sept: 2011 and having more time in hand, I took it up and glanced at the Front Page.
MY EUREKA MOMENT AGAIN !
I read with interest the headline story – ‘ Osama gone, hunger gnaws’ by K.P.Nayar
The ‘Food Stamp’ Programme cleverly renamed ‘ Supplement Nutrition Assistant Programme’ (SNAP) The growing number of Americans 46 million and ever growing - their plight – how they are being looked upon by other affluent Americans, made an interesting reading.
I immediately called for a Note Pad and Pen from the counter, and noted down excerpts, which you can read, and if you so desire, the entire News Report, by clicking on the below link.
I am confident that after reading it, specially American mumineen and all those in the Western countries, will see the immense benefits of FAIZ UL MAWAID BURHANIYAH
How I wish some mumineen associated with the Press Organizations can file a report on the on going ohbat.
I received a call that my pitta breads have arrived, so I left Barista to collect it, at the same time feeling more confident to lay out the facts of the case more purposefully, after dinner, when I will be talking ‘basket’ with my grown up sons !!
Those who have been following the story closely may be feeling exited to know what happens after the Sunday sumptuous dinner. As for my self to be honest, although my wife Rabab had made excellent Kebab Joojeh and other items on the Thal, I could not enjoy as much as my son Murtaza and Noorudin, who were relishing every dish.
As a fond father, looking at them enjoying so much, I was feeling a little sad to broach the ‘thali’ subject, but was determined all the same, knowing my wife Rabab supported me whole heartedly.
It was crunch time – dinner was over, there was palpable tension building up inside me and suddenly there was POWER CUT.
It was in reality a blessing in disguise. It had rained steadily in the evening, so the weather was cool. I had replayed the scene many times in my mind earlier in the afternoon. My taking up the subject for discussion, finding Murtaza telling me – ‘ sorry Abba – we can discuss it later I have a project to complete ‘ the younger Noorudin as if on cue standing up and walking off to his room to watch TV. Multiple scenes played out in mind.
Those who are parents of growing up children can well empathize with my condition.
The POWER CUT proved to be a blessing – good food - cool breeze – family bonhomie on Sunday evening, motivated me to take up the ‘thali’ subject. I will not bother you up with all the details, some of which I have already written about – I found my sons in rapt attention – was a miracle working out.
Not a word.
Rabab encouraged by the silence response told us how she would love to share the same food with the family of Amina. Now Amina was her childhood friend, both went to school together in Lunavada, and from my wife I had heard many childhood stories of my wife always being in awe of her dear friend, who was smart, intelligent, helpful – once my wife started, she would go and on ……
However, two years back Aquilbhai who was a very successful businessman was struck with a paralytic stroke while at office, as a result of which his entire body was immobilized. In short the world of Amina and her son Hakim who was of same as my Noorudin and both were school buddies, went into a tailspin.
As Aquilbhai was running his supply business single handedly, as expected business suffered, creditors started knocking at their door, debtors started playing truant, medical Bills started piling. Aquilbhai died thereafter living behind a family who much against their wishes, started to become depended on ‘muvasaat’
Now dear Readers – the above circumstances are a fact, only other things are fictitious to protect the identity of the family. In my long years of ‘reaching out’ I have come face to face with so many such families.
Here I would I like to recall the resilience (khuddari) of one mumin bhai. I came to know of his plight after his wife was diagnosed with Cancer, and piling medical Bills and running about for treatment, completely drained out his financial capacity. He removed his son, who was very intelligent and smart from a good school were the fees were high.
I came to know about it and approached him to see if I could mobilize some funds for the schooling. In his own words – ‘ Asgarbhai shukran , but let me bear my own cross’ Tears swelled in my eyes, and I felt so humbled that there are such mumineen in this world. On that day frankly I felt proud to be born a mumin.
Was Aqa Moula (TUS) referring to such mumineen in his Munajaat Sahrifa 1432H – did he mean those who have been victims of circumstances -
ke jehni kadar k’um chhe – ehne baland karoo.
I put forward this question to my sons, and I put forward it you my dear readers ?
Please do reflect, and you will surely find spiritual bliss, and understand the importance of this food sharing.
Our family can easily have Canneloni Milanaise Style ( an ideal party dish – Tarla Dalal) but no we will decide to have the same ‘thali’ food, for we know that there is some ‘hiqmat’ in the initiative started by Molayi A’li Qdr Muffadal Saifuddin saheb (TUS)
LUCKY ME - the lights had not come on, and my sons with rapt attention were listening. As a family we agreed that yes we will take the ‘thali’ and surprise of surprise, my son had more updated information than me.
He said he is following the development with interest and being an MBA student, he is seriously considering doing a project on it. He had worked out the costs based on per person consumption of 125 gms rice (Gobindo bhog is cheaper and more nutritious than costly Basmati – we are not doing a ‘shaadi khana’ was his argument) 3 rotis – 25 gms mutton /khima – dal 50 gms and sabji 100 gms )
He said to bring down the costs , mumina ladies from affluent families who have Ayahs and other support staff at home to care, can volunteer their services one day a week. Six groups for six days a week can be formed and their husbands can be entrusted with daily bazaar.
Now it was our time to listen with rapt attention to the sage and practical advice of both our sons who were gung-ho and pretty exited.
LUCKY ME !! THE POWER CAME ON ! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED !
I stole an affectionate glance at Rabab and found her all smiles, and pink as peach. I thank ALLAH for having blessed me with such a wonderful family. END
DEAR READERS : I hope you enjoyed reading LUCKY ME but more important, many misconceptions and questions may have been removed. As for me I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and being blessed to convey my thoughts and insights.
In the process I have used my imagination as well as facts, both have been deftly interlinked.
To conclude Rabab is my wife and as with ladies who love to hide their age I have made her younger by 11 years !!
Murtaza and Nooruddin are my two sons, but both of them died in their infancy. Had they lived both of them would have been strapping + 30 and apples of our eyes. In their premature deaths and sufferings I learnt a great lesson. There are no regrets, but fond remembrance. They taught me to live life in jest, and my writings, and my interaction with family and friends, is a living proof. I have two grown up children, and grand children.
A great life lesson I learnt from them was to empathize – to reach out to the suffering and the marginalized of the community, who are victims of circumstances, and not personal failures in life.
As Eckhart Tolle says in his best seller - A New Earth – these are the people who ACCEPT WHAT IS - they accept THE PRESENT MOMENT with fortitude. I feel it is for this particular section of the marginalized community for whom Aqa Moula (TUS) has referred so eloquently, in the Munazaat Sharifa, they must be in his thoughts, in his fervent ‘ilteza’ this Laylatul Qdr.
Dear Readers this story LUCKY ME I fondly dedicate to both my sons, who died in infancy. Any good that may come out from your reading, let it be their ‘sawab’ ALHAMDOLILLAH !