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August 26, 2008

Tea, Sugar, Water and the Roti that Triples

I got a call today, from one of my SILs. She asked me if I believed in the Sai Baba.

"Which Sai Baba?", I asked? The one with big hair, hair to which mine had always been compared too? Child saint, miracle worker, bhabhuti, amrit, green diamonds and gold Rolex watch distributer? Nope, I told her, I think it's a miracle that people still haven't debunked his miracles and stripped him naked of any claims to godhood.

"No, no, not THAT Sai Baba, I'm talking about the Shirdi-wale-sai-baba".

Ahhh, him. The white haired, white-garbed saintly looking person who sits with one leg horizontally crossed over the other. I remember going to Shirdi with my parents when I was young. My father was a believer. Maybe I shouldn't be such a "nastik", maybe I should start believing in SOMETHING other than Karma. So I said yes. She then proceeded to tell me how my faith could become unshakeable belief.

She told me to visit her on Monday and to bring a round steel container and Dhs 1.50.

Skeptical old me. Of course I asked questions. Why a steel container? What was I supposed to do with it? Why the money? When I got to her house there were too other ladies waiting there.They too had round steel containers with them. As soon as I got there, the proceedings began. My SIL got HER steel container from the kitchen. She put it on the dining table along with a picture of the white-clad saint, lit an agarbatti and said a small prayer. After that she opened her steel container.

"Ahhhh! Look! My roti has tripled itself miraculously!", she exclaimed in triumph and fervant belief.

Curiously, I looked into the box. Indeed there was what looked to be one nice, big, thick, rather wet "roti", with what looked strangely like tea leaves stuck on top of it. She told us that she had been given half of this "roti" by a friend of hers and been told to keep it for week covered in a solution of tea sugar and water. At the end of the week the half would have become one and a half. Truly a miracle.

She told us to open our steel containers so that she could give us our "rotis". She then pealed off the top layer, half of a roti stuck was on top of the whole one, and gave it to me. She cut the leftover whole roti into two halves and gave one half to each of the other two ladies. For that piece of miracle we paid her the princely sum of Dhs. 1.50.

Now what? Was I supposed to eat this unappetising looking thing?

"No, no! You're supposed to create your own little miracle and pass it on!"

How, pray tell me?

All I needed to do was add a teaspoon of sugar and tea to a cup of water, stir and pour it over my roti, close my container, place a picture of the Sai Baba close to it and leave it be for a week. If I had faith and if I had prayed hard enough, at the end of a week when I opened my box, my half a roti would have become one and a half. And if that happened I was supposed to pass on the three halves to three other persons of faith, thereby multiplying the miracle and propagating the faith.


But what about the money? Well, if I believed hard enough, maybe my money would multiply too!

Interesting. A sure-shot way to get people hooked.

I brought my container home, made the tea, sugar, water brew, poured it on top of my half a roti, closed the box and put it on top of the fridge along with the Sai Baba's picture that my SIL had given me.

No agarbatti and my mind was blank when I tried to pray. Such a "nastik" I am.

Being me, I googled.

And sure enough I found my answer in something called the Manchurian Mushroom. While reading more on fungus, bacteria and yeast mixtures, I came across some more interesting stuff. Something called the Kombucha, It's a fungus-like mix of bacteria and yeast that grows in sugar and tea solution. It takes 8-10 days to grow and becomes a pancake like organsim that resembles a mushroom. What is truly miraculous is the tea it grows in. That apparently is the elixir of life and eternal youth capable of ridding you of old age, grey hair and diseases ranging from cancer to constipation.

Another name for Kombucha? Why the Manchurian Mushroom of course.

Now the question is not whether my miracle will "happen" or not but what I should do with it. Should I drink the tea? Or throw it into the sea as instructed? 

Posted by ashi on August 26, 2008 at 08:54 PM | Permalink


Hmm...interesting stuff. some ladies in my office are doing something akin to ur SIL. me being a 'nastik' looked for a logical solution and wallah! landed on ur site. by the way, did u manage to create the 'roti'. i am also looking for some write up on any authentic scientfic journal on this phenomenon, please advise if you know any

Posted by: abhilash | Aug 28, 2008 9:23:15 AM

Well, some one gave this half roti to my wife also and in a week it became 1 1/2 and I was surprised at how this "supernatural" was happening. So like you I also googled and thanks for your input now I know the reason behind this

Posted by: Sandeep | Aug 30, 2008 8:58:25 PM

I believe in Sai Baba and I am very much sure that if you are having faith in Him you would see making of roti as a miracle. I also kept 1/2 roti in steel box and after one week when I opened the box 1-1/2 roti was there in the box. I only put tea and water. I also gave 1/2 roti to three other persons. They also put tea and water in their box but out of the three only one, who was having faith in Sai Baba, could see this miracle and had His blessings.

Posted by: Manju | Aug 4, 2010 2:11:53 PM

my roti doubled also...i liked it till i read about manchuria algae..

Posted by: dentz | Mar 11, 2011 2:04:25 AM

Wow this is still going around . I just received this roti from friend on 04/10/11. I knew there has to be some chemical stuff. Thank you for your post.

Posted by: JR | Apr 14, 2011 3:21:24 AM

Even I got the roti doubled, i think it's due to some chemical reaction.

Posted by: AP | May 20, 2011 7:43:28 PM

Today one of my friend asked about this I asked her the same question which baba - she said Shirdi and explained about this doubling stuff. I do love God ,but the question is why do we pray like this. I totally freak out when I get those chain mails to be passed on...I infact dont open them Now this, I was like not again! guilty enough for saying no - to her and said sorry as I dont have anyone here to pass it on in . But after coming home I was scared little bit Why the heck did I say NO already I have some problems to be sorted . Thanks to you . I googled and got yours ..feeling releived . I do like baba feel comfortable when I pray him, but I dont like this chain -

Posted by: be | May 26, 2011 1:29:38 AM

I like ur article. I knew something is behind this some fungi or else.
I also got roti and I m still thinking wt to do.
Can I give my roti to birds to eat...

Posted by: Rajni | Jun 22, 2011 5:17:02 PM

Even I got the roti doubled.
Per science, this is a chemical reaction. It's a fungus (mix of bacteria and yeast), that grows in sugar and tea solution. It takes 7 to 10 days to grow and becomes a pancake like organism that resembles a mushroom.
There is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and few studies are being conducted, although there are several centuries of anecdotal accounts supporting some of the health benefits attributed to the tea. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the Kombucha.
I have tried another day after online reserch and I got same size of roti or pancake. So, this just a chemical reaction.

Posted by: Anupama Bose | Jul 15, 2011 10:27:58 PM

That's interesting. My wife is supposed to collect this half roti tonight and she is all excited about it. I hate to burst her bubble...but I was telling her something like this should explain the weirdness.

Posted by: Aneel | Jul 28, 2011 10:50:32 PM

Many years back one of my aunt was suffering from cancer. So, someone suggested to drink the water from this Stuff... I am not sure whether it worked for her.

Recently i came to USA.. I have seen some of my friends following the Saibaba roti Chain.I believe in God but not in such kind of chain Process.

Few weeks back i was the only one left in the apartment to take the turn and i didn't have any one to pass the roti.( I was not at all interested to take this roti. But, i really don't want to hurt them by saying no.)

The solution they gave me was to give it in the SaiBaba Temple.

Since one month that box is still with me.

Posted by: Aruna | Jul 30, 2011 3:15:42 AM


Posted by: raja | Aug 16, 2011 9:34:29 PM

Ive been privy to this as a child back in India. Mom did this religiously. Even back then, I know it was the sugar and the water that combined and formed the fungus/whatever. I was a medical/science freak as a child.

I am not a hugely religious person but who am I to make fun of a belief or of my mother's trust or faith in her God? So I let it be. The original roti stayed and a layer formed above. She kept one and gave the other away.
What also happened was that in some families, the second roti did not happen. This is Madras we talk about, so nothing to do with weather or sugar or water. Maybe the fungal spores didn't have the correct conditions? Either way, it comes down to the simple way of life, that what we believe is what is right.

I bucked and now this roti is crossing over from maryland into Virginia and am getting it this Thursday. I am not that child anymore and sometimes, we all need the extra support that faith gives us as we cross harder times in life. I'll see how much faith I have next week :-)

Posted by: rads | Sep 20, 2011 11:31:45 PM

What do I do with the roti if I have no one to give to?
If this is fungus is it bad for me if we touch it? Please let me know because I recently could some type of bacteria called H-Pylori which is due to fungus.

Posted by: Jai | Nov 29, 2011 3:15:47 AM

You can offer this fungus or roti sacred to the divine mother is inthe sea and she's going RECEIVE you with love and transmute it will take care of for you because that is produced biologically and it is no miracle of God, God makes the direct miracles without putting something into something that occurs, such as what he puts the lid Roti yy then for 7 days and that is not the miracle is done.you can go to some Lab-Bilogically for some where and ask ? for you be sure of them!!!

Posted by: Domingo | Dec 31, 2011 8:05:40 PM

This article is extremely helpful. We just got a "Sai Baba" Roti & we are testing it out. Hope it works

Posted by: ???? | Mar 3, 2012 12:03:20 AM

i actually had my belief that this was a miracle.....but nw i see that i have been fooled by this person....after hearing wat i hadto do.....sugar and tea......come on....!!!!!

Posted by: jai | Mar 30, 2012 9:17:59 PM

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