Anonymous Devotee from UK says: OM SAI RAM. Dear Hetal Ji, I sincerely thank for the effort you have put in place to bring us all together at the feet of Sai. I don’t want my name and email to be published. To everyone, who lands up in this post, I sincerely pray to our Sai to keep you all safe and blessed. I am sorry for the lengthy write up. I hope each one of you appreciates your faith in Sai at the end of this reading.
I hail from a middle class family. I am the only child to my parents. My parents have given their best to support me throughout my life. I completed my B. Tech in May 2008 and passed out of my college as a topper. After then, I aspired to study MS in the UK, but my parents were unwilling to send me abroad for two reasons. One, as I am the only daughter to them being prone to be home sick and secondly, it would cost them a lot to finance my studies. The estimated expenses were around 15-18 lakh and the only way to finance my education was to mortgage our house for an education loan. Most of my relatives did not encourage me to go to the UK and they constantly advised my parents to get me married. My parents were reluctant to fulfill my wish and they were also unable to go against my closest relatives, who always bombarded my parents with a series of phone calls advising them about my marriage.
With no hope, I started working with an IT firm in Chennai after my college and it took me almost 10 months to convince my parents to allow me to study in the UK. My parents finally gave their consent in March 2009 and I was preparing to go to the UK during the September 2009 intake for my MS. As I was working already, I gave a notice to my company that I would be leaving them mid-September 2009. My company also warned me that they would not provide me with an experience certificate as I was leaving them before completing my probationary period. I was battling between my thoughts as I was a bit worried for not obtaining an experience certificate, but at the same time I was unable to give up my dream of studying at an esteemed University abroad. My parents went against our closest relatives, supported and encouraged me to study and they gave me all the strength to be not bothered, when my company informed that I would not be issued with an experience certificate. I prayed to our Sai and left everything on His holy feet.
I always remembered Him during every step of my admission process and it was with His grace. I was admitted at one of the very top Universities in the UK with a 40% scholarship support. I was delighted about studying and with ample excitement my family and I started purchasing dresses and other necessary items since June. My mom completely packed up my two suitcases a lot earlier, almost by the end August though I was only about to leave by 24th September. My entire office, relatives, friends and neighbors knew that I would be leaving India on the 24th September 2009. I was all set to leave India, but unfortunately my bank that provided finance for my study put us with an indefinite delay in providing a finance letter that is required to be filed with my visa application. I was issued with a finance letter only on the 22nd of September, wherein I planned to leave India on the 24th as my first day of University was on the 28th of September. I filed my visa a bit late exactly on the 23rd of September and my visa processing took up an extra-long time to get processed as my visa application was submitted during the peak time while the embassy was managing the huge traffic of student visa applications.
I wrote to my University on the 23rd that I have just filed in my visa and I am unlikely to arrive before the 28th of September and requested them to grant me permission to allow me to join within the next 10 days. My request was declined and they advised me to defer my offer and join the University in the next intake (September 2010) without reapplying. They told that the money already paid in will be on hold until I join them next year. I was in tears, when I read the email. My dad paid almost 2 lakh as an advance for my tuition fee and a deposit of 1 lakh to reserve a room for my accommodation in student hall, and almost a lakh on my flight tickets and other purchases. In case I defer or decline my offer, though I can obtain the advance paid for my tuition fee, I am unlikely to get the money spent on accommodation and flight tickets. It was expected that I would be in a loss of 2 lakh. I was afraid to discuss about this with my dad, but shared it with my mom. She asked me to stop worrying and visit Sai temple the next morning and pray to Him.
It was on the 24th (Thursday morning) the next day of my visa submission, I visited Sai temple at Injambakam, Chennai and cried there that He be there besides me to send me to the University for the same 2009 September intake without any further issues. While I was leaving the temple, the priest called me back in and gave me a big garland removed from around the neck of Sai. I was pleased to collect the garland from the priest and took an auto back to my hostel. My good friend accompanied me to the temple and while we were travelling on the auto, a serious of thoughts came across my mind and put me completely restless. My hostel room contract was getting over on the 28th of September and the warden strictly told me that I will have to vacate by the 28th evening as a new tenant was expected to move in on the 29th morning. I filed my visa on the 23rd and the embassy advised that it takes about 15 business days to process student visa. I was unsure about when I will receive my visa and panicked that I would need to literally come on to streets after the 28th as there was no probability of getting my visa that sooner.
My mom was planning to fly to Chennai from my place and stay with me in a hotel in Chennai until I collect my visa from the British embassy. I was worried about extending our stay in a hotel and causing discomfort to my mom. I was continuously crying thinking of the hostel contract issue and wondered what will happen to my career in case I am unable to go to the UK to study the same year. I was afraid of being shamed in front of some of my colleagues and relatives who envied about me going to the UK to study and sarcastically laughed at me, when I quit my job. I was cursing myself being afraid of putting my parents in shame in front of those relatives against whom my parents worked in my favour. I burst out in tears in the auto and my friend continuously comforted me.
She was literally preparing me to face the world in case I don’t fly for my studies. As I had already resigned my job, she advised me to go home and spend a few days with my parents and return to Chennai in a week to find a new job. When she advised about a new job hunt, I remembered about not receiving my experience certificate from my company as I left them before probationary. I was blaming me that had I been with the firm for three more months; I would have completed my probationary and have had an experience letter then. My mind was totally depressed and I ran into a serious of confusion and sorrow. I was totally broken. My friend advised me to find a job as a fresher as I don’t have an experience certificate. My heart had no courage to face such trauma of finding a fresh job after all this. I rang my mother while on the auto and she asked me not to cry and leave everything to Sai. Though I had complete faith in Him, I was lacking patience in me.
I got off the auto and while I was walking to my hostel, I met an old man in his 50’s approaching me, stood in front of me and constantly looked into my eyes for a minute. I was in peace while looking into His eyes. He was dressed up in normal pant and shirt and had an orange shawl around His neck. He looked at me and said, ‘don’t worry you will soon get a good news’. I was with immense pleasure hearing the words from Him and out of happiness I gave him a 50 rupee note and all the left over coins thereby emptying my wallet in His hands. He smiled at me and said ‘you will soon be happy; I am going to eat now’. His entire conversation was in English with me. I came into my hostel and called my mother and shared everything with her. She was glad about this experience and she made me realise that it was Sai, who met up with me on the streets. My mother advised me to call my University international office team and speak to them on the phone for once.
After speaking with my mother, I went on mysai.org website and put in a random number to get an answer on the Sai Baba answers your question section. I had a reply, ‘’You will receive letter. You will celebrate. Apply Vibuthi of Sai Baba to your forehead and see the miracle that takes place.’’ After this response from the website, I applied UDI onto my forehead and on my mum’s advice I called up the University office and surprisingly, I got hold of one of the senior officers on the line. As soon as she came on line, she quickly asked me if I am an international student. I said yes. She asked for a good telephone number to reach me. I gave her my mobile number and she asked me to hang up the call promising she would call me back in a few minutes as she was hurrying up into a meeting. I was with no hope that she would call me back as she seemed to be very busy. In surprise, the lady called me within an hour. I explained everything in detail to her on the phone. I told her about my house property being pledged, an advance of 2lakh paid for the tuition fee, a lakh to reserve my room for my accommodation in student hall, the money incurred to process the bank loan, the money paid as a margin fee to the bank (almost 5lakh) to obtain the rest 7 lakh as the loan, money spent on my flight tickets and also about my job resignation.
While I was mourning on the phone, she casually asked for my application number. Without realising about anything, I gave her my application number and continued to wee on the phone. While I was on the call, the lady asked if I am in front of my computer and be able to access my email. I said yes and which is when she asked me to refresh my email page once. My mind did not question about why she asked for my application number or if I am able to access my email. Without any second thoughts, I refreshed my email and I saw a new email appearing in my inbox with a subject, ‘Permission for extension of student arrival’. I was almost mute on the phone until I read the content of the email. She authorised me with an extension of 15 days and allowed me to join on or before the 15th of October 2009. I was in a surprise shock reading the email. I completely forgot about having her on the phone and I was speechless. The lady brought me back alive saying, ‘’I understand you should be in surprise, so enjoy this moment with your family and we are waiting to receive you with full energy to start your studies.’’ I thanked her whole heartedly and hang up the call.
With His grace, my visa application also passed through in the next two days and I collected my visa on the 28th morning and left Chennai on the 28th evening, exactly the same day my hostel contract came to an end. There was no requirement for my mom visiting Chennai and we staying in a hotel. I left Chennai collecting my visa and went to my place to see my parents. I spent four days with my family, did all rituals at a Sai Baba temple near my home and with His blessings I left to the UK. I arrived in the UK on the 4th of October though I had a deadline until 15th October. It is definitely a dream come true for me and I know He be not there for me, I would have definitely lost my dad’s money, ruined my career and courage while struggling to find a new job.
It is from this experience I learned to keep my faith in Sai and be patient leaving everything to Him. I was totally unaware of Sai 9 Thursdays Vrat or the Sai Satcharitra in those days. The only thing I did was to surrender myself at His feet and leave everything to Sai. Every stage of the application process I had an issue; I wholeheartedly called out for His help, saying I believe in You and only in You. It is only in 2011, I learned about the Sai Satcharitra parayan and the Sai 9 Thursday Vrat. I had an unbelievable experience doing the parayan and vrat, about which I will be posting in my next experience. All I would like to iterate is, He is there for anyone who completely surrenders at His feet and call out for His with complete faith and devotion. I hope my post serves as a boost for anyone, who is in a similar situation. May Sai be with you all! Om Sai Ram!