I am your parent, none is higher

Sudeshna and Pushpal Das, May 2011 हिंदी
I first heard about Guruji in 2001 from Col. (retd.) D.S. Chatterje, who showed me Guruji's photograph and told me about some of His miracles.

I was then going through a rough patch in life with a new job in a new city. I was supposed to be deputed to the UK within one month of my joining, but even after nine months the overseas assignment was nowhere in the horizon; on the contrary, I had to shell out a lot in settling down from scratch in an expensive city like Delhi-all of which was unforeseen. I was under immense financial pressure, and to add to my woes, my wife had a miscarriage. This left her with some symptoms, and the gynecologist suggested surgical intervention if her condition did not stabilize on its own.

We went to His sangat at Empire Estate in July 2001 but were greatly disappointed when we were told that He had left for Jalandhar. It was on our next visit later that month that we got our first darshan of Guruji. He spoke to us briefly and even ordered us to stay back for langar (those days people were selectively told to stay back for langar).

As we came back home, we felt an unprecedented bliss and calm and slept peacefully after a long time. Since that day everything in our lives started to fall in place. To begin with, my wife's condition improved promptly on its own. Within a few months I got my first overseas assignment-which was a spectacular success-followed shortly afterwards by a long-term overseas deputation, which is still continuing. A few years down the line we received His greatest blessings in the form of a baby boy.

With 'Kudi' from Chandigarh and 'England', Guruji keeps BP at bay

My wife had a history of high-blood pressure, and she was put on medication as hypertension could lead to complications during pregnancy or childbirth, apart from other malefic effects. But the idea of life-long dependence on medication was not encouraging. She'd go off the medicines for short spells but had to fall back on them every time, since her blood pressure would start to shoot up.

One day in early 2003 at the sangat in Empire Estate, as my wife and I reached the end of the queue to receive prasad from Guruji, He looked at both of us and said something jokingly about us wearing matching colours (we were both wearing green). Then He asked me how I had got this kudi (girl) from Chandigarh to marry me. His statement took us by surprise and obviously made us happy beyond words. My wife's blood pressure the next day reflected our joy: For the first time in her life, the diastolic blood pressure was recorded at a perfect 80-that too without medication. She has never had any problems since then, apart from the BP flaring up during the late stages of her pregnancy. But that did not impede foetal growth nor did it require intervention to deliver our baby earlier. My wife had to be on medication during the later stages of pregnancy and following childbirth, but was able to come off the medicine shortly after.

A major factor behind my joining Siemens in Delhi in September 2000 was the prospect of long-term overseas placement in the UK, but that remained elusive-though with Guruji's blessings I went on a couple of short visits to the UK. By 2002 the hopes of a long-term deputation abroad were virtually dashed with the international depression in IT that followed the 9/11 attacks in the US. However, I kept praying to Guruji both at the sangat and at home, and in April 2003 a UK deputation finally came my way. Though the assignment was supposed to be for six months, I was very thankful. It had come at the unlikeliest of times, when companies all around were laying off people by the scores.

As I was waiting for my work permit and making preparations to leave, I received an invitation card to a marriage reception from Guruji. On the envelope that contained the card Guruji had written 'England' Himself. When we went to seek Guruji's permission just before we left, my wife was going to ask Guruji's blessings for her father and her sister (a Down's syndrome patient) while we were away. But even before she articulated her concern about her parent, Guruji said: "Sadde se vadda parent kaun hai" (Who can be a higher parent than me?), and we realized that we had secured the maximum reassurance that we possibly could in this matter.

On my arrival at the work site (Blackpool near Manchester), I was told that there was a distinct possibility of the assignment even ending in four months instead of six. However, by Guruji's blessing, not only did the deputation last out its full duration, my contract was further extended for another project at the same site. This project lasted for ten more months, and when I was all set to return to India in August 2004, I was relocated to Telford for another assignment. That lasted for another year. Midway through this assignment we were relocated to Nottingham where my child was born just as the project completed. As we were making preparations to travel back to India in September 2005, I was transferred to London on an assignment at the prestigious BBC site in London. The initial deputation was for three months, but I have been here for nearly two years and it is still continuing.

I was on deputation at the small town of Telford (in Shropshire) when my wife conceived. It was a nice and quiet place to live in, but seemed quite nightmarish in terms of medical facilities relating to pregnancy care. The obstetric unit in the local hospital was run by midwives and did not have a consultant unit. More-complicated cases were referred to a bigger hospital at Shrewsbury, which was 16 miles away, and it took more than half an hour each way by taxi. And the journey was excruciatingly expensive.

My wife was almost certain to be referred to the Shrewsbury hospital eventually, because of her hypertension. We panicked even at the idea of having to travel that kind of distance in an emergency during her pregnancy or when she went into labour, even though the ambulance service provided by the National Health Services is usually very commendable. Also, the hospital rules did not permit husbands staying overnight when wives were admitted for delivery, and I desperately wanted to be within a reasonable distance of the hospital even at night. But I could not see that happening if I had to go back all the way home.

We left everything to Guruji as usual (one night my wife had a dream that she was sitting at Guruji's feet and Guruji told her to stop worrying as everything would be all right). Within a few days there was a communication that the unit in Telford was closing down and the staff were being relocated to Nottingham, a bigger city with much better facilities. Eventually, my child was born in Nottingham in Queens Medical Hospital, which was rated then as one of the best in UK in terms of pregnancy care.

Guruji soothes over mid-term Nottingham transfer

As I wrote above, midway through my wife's pregnancy we were faced with the prospect of having to relocate from Telford to Nottingham. While this was welcome from the point of view of medical facilities, our project team was then snowed under with work, and we were not allowed the luxury of visiting Nottingham (two-three hours by train) in advance to look up houses to rent. Instead our client was entrusted with the task of looking up accommodation for us. No exception was made even in my case despite me emphasizing to my manager the significance of the choice of accommodation: My wife would have to spend the rest of her term there with no one else to look after her. The client looked up a few houses and the associated documents and internet links were sent across to me in the next few days, but they did not seem to work for us and I turned down all of them.

Even before all this had started, I had casually gone on the internet and on the very first search that I fired had hit upon a house that looked good and was reasonably close to Queens Medical Hospital, where my wife was likely to be referred to for pregnancy care. However, I had absolutely no idea of what the area was like, and even though the photographs posted on the site looked nice, it would have been simply too much of a gamble to go by them alone. But now that we were not liking the houses that were being looked up by the client anyway, we decided to go for the house that I had looked up myself at the beginning, without even asking the client to evaluate the same on my behalf. This was somewhat to the discomfort of my own project manager, as I was overruling the judgment of his superior, but we put our trust in Guruji and went with our own intuitions.

That house turned out to be the best one that we have stayed in while in the UK so far. The house as well as the furnishing was in excellent condition and it was ten minutes walking distance (a three-minute drive) from Queens Medical Hospital. Everyone on the team of ten people that was relocated ended up having serious issues with the accommodation looked up for them.

Childbirth complications and Guruji's grace

During one of the regular visits to the Pregnancy Assessment Centre in Queens Medical Hospital, my wife was hooked to the foetal heart-rate monitor. Usually, the rate varied between 140 and 170, but on that particular day it was on the higher side, bordering along 200 from the start. And then suddenly there was some foetal movement and the thumping just went crazy-the reading shot up to nearly 220 and stayed at that level. Up until then the mid-wife was putting up a casual front, saying that 200 was very high but not an abnormal foetal heart rate, but now she quickly rushed off to seek advice from her superior. Fearing that the foetus was experiencing some stress, I placed Guruji's photograph (given to us by Guruji) on my wife's bump and chanted the Mrityunjai mantra (an invocation to Lord Shiva in His aspect as the Conqueror of Death) silently. Within a few seconds the hear rate went down to normal and stabilized, and by the time the midwife rushed back with her senior colleagues things were normal.

My wife had a very long and painful labour-at one stage her diastolic blood pressure even shot up to 132 despite repeated medication and she was delirious, leading the doctors to consider the option of performing an emergency C-section operation. However, on praying to Guruji, her condition settled down and the baby was delivered normally.

Our joy on the birth of a healthy child was soon replaced by deep concern as the infant's initial blood tests revealed an infection. Worryingly, the child was not passing urine in the first few days after his birth.

The doctors were not very sure about the source or the nature of the infection, as part of the investigation they attempted a lumber puncture a few times on the two-day old child, but failed to get a sample of the spinal fluid. As a result they put him on a range of antibiotics which they expected would deal with the infection irrespective of its nature.

However, the doctors were more worried about the baby not passing any urine in the first four days after birth despite being fed a lot more than the usual amount (at times using a drip) to overcome any possible dehydration. Some of them suspected a kidney disorder, as the kidney-function test results were way off normal limits; others advocated ruling out dehydration as the underlying cause (by pushing more fluids down the baby) before writing him up for a kidney scan.

To add to problems my wife developed a severe urine infection, with her temperature shooting up to 105 degrees.

With both the mother and the baby doing poorly, they were moved to a critical care unit. I was absolutely alone in an alien land with no family or relatives, even my colleagues had left as the project had ended. Guruji's photographs (given to us by Guruji Himself and which we touched to the baby's body and placed it on his cot time and again) and His blessings were all that we had to look up to under such adverse circumstances, and we prayed to Him more intensely than ever.

Very soon things fell into place. The baby passed urine and we never heard about his infection again (the doctors now felt that probably the infection that showed up in the baby's blood stream was actually his mother's). My wife recovered after being treated with strong antibiotics and both were released a couple of weeks after childbirth.

More prayers answered

After the successful completion of the Nottingham project, all my colleagues left. We stayed back, as it was my wife's ninth month of pregnancy. Even after my child was born, we decided to hang around in the UK for one more month before we flew back to India with the baby. However, we were strongly advised against doing that before the child was at least three-four months old, as the flight could damage his eardrums irreversibly. My line-of-business manager in India promised to speak to the UK operations to look up a back-to-back assignment for me in the UK itself, but the chances of anything matching my skill profile turning up at a convenient location looked slender. We kept praying to Guruji to remedy the situation, and within a week of my child's birth I received a call from a business manager in the UK asking me whether I could move to the BBC site in London in two weeks.

Despite the complications following childbirth and despite my wife still being in a lot of pain, Guruji's blessings enabled us to pack up lock, stock and barrel and turn up in London with our three-week-old child in time for the new assignment. The drive to London from Nottingham took six hours because of bad traffic instead of the normal three and was excruciatingly painful for my wife, but by Guruji's grace she recovered quickly once in London.

Sudeshna and Pushpal Das, Siemens executive, BBC, London

May 2011