India’s best-known seekh kebab brand owes its existence to the whim of a Muslim mendicant. Bademiya was a 13 year old Mohammad Yaseen when he arrived in then Bombay from a small village in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh. During his early adolescent years, he gave up his small-time business of cutting and supplying meat to the hotels and embraced the divine influence of his religious guru – Hazrat Fida Mohammed Adam Chisti, who directed him to serve the people honestly and to the best of this ability in whatever manner. He rewarded the boy with Rs. 20 to set up a make-shift seekh kebab counter (as it was whatever little he knew about, besides meat fabrication) at an almost deserted spot near a naval port at the tip of Mumbai – Colaba, in 1946.
The initial time of business was full of hardships, as he had to complete all work by himself and barely made enough to live. There were days when not a single item was sold. Once when enquired about the on-goings of the business by his Guru, Bademiya replied,
”Who will come to eat my kababs in that deserted area..?”
But the noble Fakir insisted,
“Inshallah, you shall experience prosperity and bliss on the very same spot. “
It is indeed owing to his dua, that the city gradually discovered and celebrated the divine flavours of his cuisine. In a matter of time, his clientele read like the city’s social register ranging from haute bourgeoisie in their limousines and bejeweled matrons with chauffeured cars to the ever-patronage effusive aam janta of Mumbai city and beyond.
Bademiya – the title has been bestowed upon him by his beloved old-time patrons themselves, simply out of affection and admiration. A group of highly prestigious loyal clientele of well-places naval officers started addressing him as ‘Bademiya’ (sans Miyaji, as addressed earlier) owing to his full grown beard. Soon, it became synonymous amongst food lovers in town and the title has been inked in hearts, ever since.
Today, BadeMiya’s legacy has been carried on by the sheer endeavour and zeal of his five beneficiary sons. They collectively follow the very same routine of Bademiya, from personally sourcing the fresh meat and raw materials on a daily basis to first-handedly following the same secret ancient marinations and techniques of Bademiya himself; so as to retain the same old magic in their cuisine which has mesmerized numerous gourmet palates world over. The great old Muslim mendicant had truly defined destiny, precisely.