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‘Miracle’, to drink and take home

Mumbai, Aug. 19: For most it is a miracle they hope is true. For some it is a miracle that spells a little different — because sweet sea water has meant more money.

As thousands waded into the sea, bottles in hand, for a taste of the “divine” water, the more canny counted the notes.

Eateries in this part of Mumbai did roaring business, selling almost double the amount of food they would on an ordinary day.

But for thousands, it is faith that has drawn them here. Like Iqrarulla.

The 22-year-old has been ailing for more than half his life. He has been hoping for a miracle and the sweet water in Mahim could just be it.

Iqrarulla’s ribs jutted out of his skeletal body as he took off his shirt. “I hope he gets better after taking a dip. We have spent lakhs on him and with the kind of money I make, it has been increasingly difficult to keep up with his medical bills,” said Insarulla, his brother.

Iqrarulla is not alone. Thousands like him have gathered at Mahim beach since 10 last night to taste and take home the “holy” water.

Near the Baba Maqdoom Dargah, it looked like the march of an army — an army of the faithful. People, from as far away as Ghatkopar, Bhyander, Worli and Thane walked to the beach.

“It’s a miracle. Baba Maqdoom has done this. Allah is great,” said local resident Najma Sheikh, who has filled five bottles.

“This water is divine,” added Sheikh Naseer, another resident.

For miles, as far as the eyes could see, people thronged the beach with bottles and cans of different shapes and sizes. Children, some as young as one, took dips, perched on the shoulders of their parents.

The more adventurous swam deeper into the sea for a feel of the “purest of pure” water. Each claimed to have filled at least 50 to 60 bottles for those who have not been able to make it to the sea.

Residents allowed passers-by in cabs and cars a taste of the water, but only just — a few sips at the most. As for themselves, they gulped it down.

“God will listen to us. You are telling me that I will fall ill after drinking this' I have already drunk so much. I believe that God will take care of us,” said Sita Devi, who has come with her three children.

There are also those who know the implications, yet they are drinking. “The water is dirty, so my family has asked me not to drink it. But there’s something about this — so many people believe it. What if this is really a miracle'” said Evelin Talwar, a housewife from Dadar, whose elder son is an advertising executive and the other a lawyer.

“I know the water is contaminated and I can have diseases like dysentery, cholera and typhoid. But what if something I have wished for comes true'”

Initial results said there could be an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

But try telling that to the “miracle” seekers.

“We are not afraid,” said Saira, who took a dip with her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Ruhim. “If anything bad happens to us in the name of God, we will take it as God’s verdict.”

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