“Daddy, once grand mother is operated on the eye, please try to take her to Golden Temple. She will have one more visit to the holy place. Very few are lucky to live 95 years and visit the temple. You and Mom have been taking care of her so well for years so please add this to your list of achievement as well.”
Dad said, “We will try if its possible.” and disconnected the phone. I turned to my wife and repeated the request made by me over the phone to Dad. She said, “Yes, she is still tough and will be very glad to note that her son has been generous to take all the troubles and take her for the visit to Golden Temple, Amritsar.
My parents had to rush her to Dr Daljeet Singh’s eye hospital at Amritsar- from Jamshedpur where they stay now- when my grand mother complained of vision loss in one of her eyes. She was operated for cataract some 20 years back and now had to be re-operated.
My Dad decided to take grand mother to visit Golden Temple when the doctors discharged her from the hospital stating, “she is fit to go home”. She was accompanied by my mother and cousin, as well in Amritsar.
After parking the car at the basement parking of the Gurudwara, grand mother was carried on a wheel chair inside the temple. They decided to do parikarma (circle around the sarovar), center of which is the Golden Temple . My cousin recorded my grand mother’s reaction on being circled around the sarovar. Given a long cue outside the main temple premises, my parents instead decided to worship from outside and return.
Once they were done with the parikarma and were about to leave a 6 feet 2 inches tall young Sikh guy with dark black beard appeared from now where. He said, I want to carry her inside the temple. This is my seva and started requesting my father for the permission. My father plainly refused, “She is too old, just operated and too tired to move around. Thanks but we cannot allow you.” But the guy did not listen he continued requesting with folded hands. He promised that there is a separate entrance for old and will return in 5 minutes but he wanted that grand mother be carried inside the temple.
Father continued to resist citing some or the other excuse, but the guy was not ready to listen. My father finally asked, “How much will you charge?” He said nothing, I will be grateful if you just allow me once. He was very determined to offer the seva (service) and carry my grand mother-inside the temple. His persistence was like of a service man ordered by Guru Sahib with no option but to get the job done. His desperation was that of a hungry boy begging for food to survive. He needed the seva as part of some ritual that he had decided to offer himself for.
My father finally, agreed. The guy bends down and asks my grand mother to lean on his back. With ease he lifts my grand mother on his back, rose gently back on his feet and started walking in long strides towards the main temple premises. He was supporting my grand mother by locking both his hands behind where grand mother’s full body rested.
The temple authorities standing on the way to the main temple took note of this and ensured the passage was clear. One of the doors usually closed for regular visitors was opened as if a VIP was inside the temple. He rested my grand mother on the floor in front of Guru Granth Sahib to let her complete her prayers. All the while my father looked delighted and surprised by the gesture and strength of this stranger for carrying his mother. He matched with the speed of the boy to follow him and ready to extend support just in case he lost his balance.
He let her drink the holy water from behind the temple and then carried her back safely to where he started from. Even before my father could express his gratitude, he was gone folding his hands and thanking my father for the opportunity. He walked fast with his complete feet rarely touching the floor like that of a 100 meter race winner who had just broken a world record.
He had made a mark for his service in Guru’s heart and proved that he was a true Sikh of the Guru- Booley So Nihaal! Sat Sri Akaal.