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 almighty.

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 actually practiced.

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 darkness.

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 almighty God.

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



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