I still remember vividly the 1944 dock explosion. I was in my house which was seven miles away from the ship which exploded on the other side of the harbour. My window panes shook and I got a call that a large number of casualties were coming in. I dressed hurriedly and left for the hospital. A second explosion occurred when I was at the junction of Lamington Road and Sandhurst Road and my car was bodily lifted by the air pressure and thrown a foot away. When I reached J.J. Hospital, hundreds of bodies were lying around. I was the only one of six surgeons who was present at the hospital. The Registrars had already started operations and the operation theatre was coated with an inch of blood. I started resuscitating the injured patients. There were 750 odd patients, so we discharged all the old cases. But we did not have gauze, enough morphine tablets or sterilised dressings. Century Mills used to supply the Army with sterilised gauze. I telephoned its Managing Director and requested him to supply bales of cotton and gauze in their Lorries. The Lorries turned up at the hospital in a short while. I rang up several chemists and got medicines. For seven days and eight nights, I stayed at the hospital, working continuously without rest. One morning, at 2 a.m. as I was doing the rounds, I found a highly-placed military officer with fractured lower limbs, lying on the floor. I asked him whether I should ring up the Military Hospital, Ashwini, and get him transferred there. He replied that he had been toldabout what I was doing, and he wanted to remain at the J.J. Hospital. He would wait for his turn, after I had treated more seriously-wounded persons. I appreciated his sentiment.

In 1947, just before Partition, Hindu-Muslim riots were raging all over city. A large number of casualties had been brought to the J.J. Hospital I got a call at night and left home for the hospital. My driver, an ex-military man, had a license for a revolver and carried a fully-loaded one that night I was driving the car and was proceeding from Grant Road towards the hospital. Suddenly the driver warned me of a road block ahead and I turned the car. A crowd of 200 people was running towards us. The driver told me not to stop but to run over them. I refused. He then sought my permission to shoot, but again I refused. The mob opened the car door pulled out the driver and me. But someone in the crowd shouted: "Bat liwalla doctor hai, chod do” (J.J. Hospital was known as Batliwalla). The man who shouted was an old patient of mine.

I narrate this just to show how grateful patients are. The man asked me to sit in the car, got the driver released and piloted the car to the hospital. If you treat a poor patient properly, he is for ever grateful to you, but not a rich patient!

I have a vivid memory of a great lady for whom I have very high respect, the late MrsJasotibaiLokumalChanrai, wife of the donor of the Jaslok Hospital. She was seriously ill and I was taking her back home from St Elizabeth Nursing Home in an ambulance. She requested me to take her to Jaslok which was then still under construction. "Let me see that temple before I go home” she said. As she could not walk, we brought a stretcher. In front of the 'temple' she told me: "Beta, give me a promise that in this hospital created by Dada (her husband, Seth LokumalChanrai) you will see that a free patient is never treated with disrespect, discourtesy and different from the rich patient who pays you”. I gave my promise that as long as I was the Medical Director, I would see that her wish was fulfilled. Such incidents have left an indelible mark on me.