Remembering Rana Saeed of Dera Grill: Grave Affliction And Grief
17 September 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
Rana Saeed was an exceptionally gracious person. Alas
he is no more! (Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'oon:
We are from God and to him shall we return: Holy Quran).
We commend him to the mercy, grace and blessing of God
I have known late Rana Saeed for a few years ever
since Dear Grill was opened and he was said to be one
of the members running that Desi restaurant. But
certainly he was an accomplished chef who would
literally put taste into the dishes prepared by him.
Some three years ago, Rana Saeed prepared a variety of
several dishes for over two hundred guests on the eve
of our son's Valima feast. He had charged quite a
modest bill for that service. The food was highly
appreciated for its taste and deliciousness. That is
how we were introduced to Rana Saeed. In subsequent
small indoor parties he was always on top for the
piquancy, flavor and quality of food that he would
serve and deliver on time.
I found him a saintly person with simple and pleasant
habits, helpful disposition and friendly attitude
towards everyone, high or low. Perhaps very few people
know that he was a gifted Naat singer with exceptional
melodious voice. Whenever I, my friends and family
members would go to Dera Grill to dine and if he was
present, we would request him to recite the Naat
Sharif that he would do readily and gladly, sometime
even using an amplifier so that everyone present in
the restaurant could listen as well.
He was free from any malice or bitterness. To me he
always appeared to be a very likeable person for his
piety of thoughts. He was always courteous. He would
always accommodate customers and friends, by way of
price and quality of food prepared by him.
I only know that he was mostly accompanied by his wife
which was perhaps a second marriage that he had
solemnized here in America. The rest of his personal
affairs I am not aware off. But I had a feeling that
he remained under a nagging tension or a kind of
stress for the reasons that we cannot decipher.
Was that tension due to the split family between
America and Pakistan or financial constraints that
would be reflected from his smiling yet burdensome
face? However one habit of his that I know and some
other members of Desi community may also be knowing is
that he was a chain smoker.
He had lived in Saudi Arabia for number of years. He
would narrate some of the interesting yet intriguing
stories of the people there that exposed the hypocrisy
as to what some people believed there and what they
Last time that I and some of my friends met him a few
months ago was at the side hall of Dear Grill perhaps
in a function being held there. It was heavily raining
that evening. Mr. Shah Alam a well known journalist
was with me. To out utter dismay and disbelief we
found that my car refused to start. Perhaps the
battery had run out for some reason. Rana Saeed came
rushing to help in that heavy downpour and relative
He tried every trick to restart the car under those
difficult conditions even leaving his restaurant.
Finally he called a technician who promised to come
the next day. That is what the sublime and highly
commendable character of Rana Saeed was. He was indeed
a good and sincere Samaritan always ready to rescue
and help others by sacrificing his own priorities.
He was indeed a true practicing and a devout Muslim
himself who absolutely fulfils the merits to be sent
to paradise without even asking a question by the
We send our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved
family of late Rana Saeed. We stand by them in their
hour of grave affliction and grief.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of
Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat.This and other
articles by the writer can also be read at his blog