I was the hundred-and-fifty-seventh in the queue.
As the steps moved ahead slowly, I could the see the sea of white ahead of me winding its way from the basement right up to the sanctum of the masjid Al-Burhani.
With every step ahead, I felt I was getting closer to Maula Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS). Closer and closer and closer.
With just one step away from Maulaâ€™s bethak, it was finally my time for doing qadambosi. The dream of a million mumineen had finally come alive. The moment of a lifetime had suddenly stirred to life.
A billion emotions ran through my body. I was excited, nervous, anxious, edgy, restless, eager, impatientâ€¦ I felt like being on a bungee just about to be pushed off the cliff. I felt like an acrobat standing on the edge of an airplane waiting for my turn to fall into the sky. I felt like an athlete at the start point waiting for the trigger. I felt like an anxious father waiting to hear his babyâ€™s first cry.
But Maula, Kolkataâ€™s mumineen having been waiting for this occasion for ages now. But Maula, Kolkataâ€™s mumineen have been craving to be graced by your radiance. But Maula, Kolkataâ€™s mumineen have prayed for years to get a chance of being this close to you. And now Maula you will have to give me the courage.
But as I walked up, my knees trembled, my hand shook and my heart skipped a beat. Though I was less than fifteen steps from Him, I walked slowly to feel the warm glow. And then I saw it.
The intense eyes. The firm hand. The gentle demeanour. The strong radiance. The vast halo.
As I knelt and my feeble fingers came into contact with His hand, a shiver passed through my body. A shiver that I had never felt before.
Earlier, I had seen Him once in a year. Then when He came to our city, I saw him four times a week. Then on the occasion of Chehllum, I saw Him 50 feet away. And now, only a foot separated me from Him.
As Maula asked me my name, I mumbled something incoherent. As Maula asked me what I did, I fumbled with words. As Maula asked me if I was from Kolkata, I tumbled into a deep crevasse. I coaxed my mind to focus on the fact that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I forced my mind to do what I was preparing for, for ages. I gathered my courage to speak my mind. As I conveyed my araz, I could feel Maulaâ€™s vision studying me intently. And then He smiled at me and put His hand on my shoulders. I felt victorious.
And then I woke up from my dream.
The day had finally dawned. It was the day when I was going to offer my qadambosi to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).
The wait of almost a century had finally narrowed down to a hundred and fifty seven steps.