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Leader of the Team - 10

Leader of the Team - 10

Dr.V.N.Shrikhande 

The kind of letters one receives is truly amazing.

Once when a patient was being wheeled into the Operation Theatre, I was handed over a letter from his wife which said:

"Your Highness, I am handing over the most precious diamond of my life unto thy hands. Thou shalt polish it and make it shine so I can put it back into my bosom. This is my duty-bound prayer”.

.It is incorrect to presume that doctors get bouquets only when they have operated successfully and brickbats when an operation fails. Here is a letter I received from a doctor:

"I am very sorry to let you know that my relation expired suddenly. Sir, it is beyond my words to express my thanks for all the efforts you put in to save him. I bow my head a hundred times when I think of how tenderly you took care of him. I hope my relative is in heaven. Surely he will bless you for ever...”

Here is another letter from a poor illiterate villager on whom I had done a major operation.

"I am alive because it was my great fortune that I came to you for the operation. When I left my village everybody thought that I would not return. I have placed your photograph in my house and we offer garlands to it every day. The people of my village also come to pay their respect to your photograph and it is our desire that one day you would come to my village because all of us are keen to meet you."

I met him regularly. Four years later he wrote me another letter.

"I am keeping well. But I felt uncomfortable when I saw you last. You looked pulled down. I am sending you one kilogram of ghee and I request you to take it regularly. Please look after your health”.

He added: "Kindly write a letter to me because your well-being is assurance to innumerable patients like me whom you would save in your life-time".   

There was another poor patient whom I had operated upon successfully. He wrote: "You treated me as if I was a member of your family. I send you my grateful thanks... I am a poor man, I cannot give you any present, but I have got only one thing which I wish to give you. I am a who has faith in life. I will pray before the most High God to give you a long, long life and prosperity!"

In the late thirties and early forties, I was a student in Belgaum. I had a good teacher. In 1975, he wrote me a letter in Marathi. It said:

"I was listening to the regional news on the regional news on the radio and I learnt that you had conducted a wonderful camp where many operations were done and for which you have been honoured by the government. I was so happy to hear the news that for a whole day I mentioned it to everyone I met. I pray God that you will be able to continue your good work for many years to come.

"I come across many rich people, including those from the Royal Family. I however only did my job as a teacher and worked till I got pension. I did not save any money. Otherwise I would have bought some property and built a bungalow for myself. On occasion, my son feels that I have been an impractical man. In these days of inflation, I wonder whether I had done a mistake in my life in just remaining a teacher and sticking to certain ideals, but when I hear the good name that some of my students have made, I forget everything and I am pleased with myself that it was worthwhile being a teacher”.

Compilation of professional reminiscences of specialists - edited by M.V.Kamath and Dr.Rekha Karmarkar