Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mathematics: Cutting the Diamond Simplified !

Aamir Khan is quite conscious about the problems faced by our system of Education. He played Ram Shankar Nikumbh in the much acclaimed ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and Phunsukh Wangdu a.k.a. Rancho in “3 Idiots”. Both these characters advocate a ‘New’ approach to education.

I have always endorsed this line of thinking. But I became acutely aware of the necessity of a change in approach when I saw my own daughter coming up with pathetic grades in Mathematics. Maths has been my favorite subject and I have told her many a times to take it as a game and not as a problem. But unfortunately I rarely get time to supervise her studies.

My daughter can pick up the lyrics of film songs in no time. She gets her dance steps correct straight away. She educates my wife on the ways to work on the internet. She also teaches me how to play games on my N-Series phone. But when I saw a PowerPoint presentation she had prepared about herself, my heart went out for her. She says, “Samskruthy is 11 years old, studying in Class 6”. She writes about her school, her teachers and her subjects. And at the end of it all, she writes, ‘Maths is her tough subject’.

This is not unique to my daughter. A huge number of the children are like this. Why are our children scared of Maths? Why? I know a lot of people from my native place Karkala LOVE Maths. My close friends and many from my generation are Engineers, Economists, Scientists and also Doctors and are doing great in life. And almost all are unanimous about our love for Maths.

I recently had a chat with a young Engineering student from my place and he too is absolutely ‘cool’ about Maths. And it didn’t take us long to understand the reason for our ‘Love’ for this ‘Dreaded’ subject. The chat with Raghavendra Kamath, the above mentioned youngster reminded me ‘Why Maths is NOT TOUGH for us’! The common thread is a ‘Fantastic’ Maths Teacher we had in High-School and his name was Mr. Panduranga Rao.

Mr. Rao was way ahead of his times. He definitely was an awe inspiring personality. A short, clean shaven gentleman with tightly combed hair without even one strand out of place. He was very fair and had a booming baritone of a voice. He commanded enormous respect from entire student fraternity. Even his colleagues were in awe of him simply because of his popularity. He was never seen in anything less than immaculately pressed shirts and trousers. So much so, one of my classmates used to joke, “You don’t need a knife to cut things when Panduranga Rao is around. The creases of his shirt or trousers are sharp enough to cut raw mangoes and cucumbers!”

The trademark of his teaching was his ultra-quick wit and supreme confidence. Not a boring moment through the entire class, not even once! How could he manage this? I would be lying if I say I wasn’t scared of the Disciplinarian in him. But we adored the wisecracking jovial guy who made Maths easy! So easy, that I still can ‘Teach Maths’ even though I had to give up Maths in 1988, the year I joined Medical College.

Mr. Rao never called a single student by his first name, but mostly by their last names. No singular ‘You’ in Kannada for him. He always called students ‘Neevu’; that is the way you address people with respect. As it was a small town, he knew even the pedigree of most of the students. Once he knew a student well enough, he invariably came up with a nick name for him or her and then it stuck like the ‘Mustache in the Fevicol Ad’.

One chap in my class had a habit of cutting and crossing really bad when he made some mistakes while writing. He did it so ferociously, our man nick-named him ‘Bison’! He used to say, “Just like a Bison, you rush and demolish anything in the vicinity”.

I was a left-hander to start with, forcibly converted to right-handedness by my Grand-father, because left-handedness was a taboo for our people. Due to this ‘Forced Conversion’, I perhaps had a bit of Dyslexia. I used to, and still write letters and numbers from the wrong end, that is from right to left! Since I had a decent handwriting, nobody ever noticed this and I was completely unaware.

I had done a lot of writing on the black-board in the classroom, but not a single teacher had found out this anomaly. But Mr. Rao found this out the first ever time he asked me to solve a problem on the black-board. Since he knew there was an Urdu School on my way to school; he asked me, “My Dear Shenoy, did you go to Urdu school for Primary education?” Henceforth I was called, ‘The Boy from the Urdu School’.

In those days, it was fun. Today I realize it was a thing he and only he had noticed! Fortunately or unfortunately, he had no solution to this problem. This particular problem meant I was and am still a partially ambidextrous person. I used to write both handed. I still can do mirror writing. All thanks to my Grand-father!

I have a million stories to write in Eulogy of my most favorite teacher ever. But this is a Blog-post and not a novel. So I have to restrict myself to the best of the stories.

Cutting the Diamond simplified:

We all knew how to derive the area of a square, a rectangle, a triangle and a circle thanks to Mr. Rao’s unique ways of teaching. But how he taught us to calculate the area of a Diamond shaped quadrilateral is still etched in my memory simply because he literally converted it into a play-field, rather a ‘Ball Park’.

He asked us, “How many of you play cricket?” All of us boys raised hands. He said, ‘We all know Cricket is played with a bat and a ball with 11 players a side and it is played in side an oval shaped boundary. Well now, how many of you know what baseball is?” Naturally not a single pupil knew! How could you expect kids in a small South Karnataka town to know about Baseball in the mid-80s?

Mr. Rao proceeded to the black-board; he drew a diagram of a baseball field or a diamond and then dusted off the chalk from his hands. Then he turned to us and told, “Baseball is a game played in America and is more popular than our own Cricket. They too use a stick like our bat and they too have a ball. They have a batter in place of our batsman and a pitcher in place of a bowler. And they play inside a quadrilateral area that is called ‘Ball-park’ by common people and Baseball Diamond by the elite.” He then explained how the game is played and finally about the diagonals of the quadrilateral. At the end of it all, we all knew how to calculate the area of a Diamond shaped quadrilateral.

An ordinary teacher would have just told us the answer [½ × Diagonal 1 × Diagonal 2] and most of us would have forgotten it very soon. But yours truly still remembers simply because it was taught the ‘Right Way’.

I fondly hope my daughter will find a teacher like him, so that Maths becomes a ‘Pleasure’ and not ‘Pressure’ subject for her! In the meantime, I am trying my best to use some of 'His' techniques to drive away her 'Maths-Phobia'. Hope things work out nicely for us and I can say... "Every Child is Special, Mine too... So All is Well !"

I stated at the beginning, Mr. Panduranga Rao was a man much ahead of his times. I believe those of you reading this will agree with me now. This post is dedicated to my most beloved teacher ever and perhaps the favorite teacher of a several thousand pupils who have imbibed knowledge from him!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


My Father is 75 years old now, fortunately blessed with reasonably good health. He was supposed to be an extempore talker during his younger days and the people of his times still recollect the funny one-liners he used to conjure up!

As he grew older, he perhaps lost some of his verve and confidence and his jokes started to fall flat, or so it seemed to him. So when I started to take note, he used to attribute them to his more popular younger brother Gangadhar fondly called Ganga. I have been witness to this unfortunate phenomenon many a times. How I used to wish for a more confident father! It was sad because he used to think people will not laugh at ‘His’ jokes but will lap them up if he told them as Ganga’s!

Today, out of the identity crisis and away from the ancestral house; he is more confident. He is at his best when he recounts 'Real Incidents' from his younger days. Perhaps, the financial security has done some good. Anyway, some of the old jokes he narrates are worth chronicling. I am making a humble attempt to translate his words in our mother tongue Konkani into English. Hope the essence will not be completely lost in translation!

Let me start with ‘3 Idiots’, the epitome of funniness! After refusing to watch the cinema initially, my parents relented to watch it when I insisted on it. I knew they’ll love it. And love it they did, big time! In one particular scene, Virus asks Raju Rastogi ‘How does the Induction Motor start?’ And the drunken boy, still not out of slumber says, “Budrrrrrrr”. This triggered off wild laughter in the hall and even my father burst out laughing. This inspired my father to recollect an old incident later when we reached our home. Let me borrow from the '3 Idiots' Librarian Pandeyji, "Bol Mai Raha hoon, par Shabd unke hain" - "I am just narrating, the words are his!"


After watching this ‘Budrrr…’ I am reminded of an incident from my childhood. There was an old lady who used to live near our house. She must have been about 90 years old. She was called ‘Manthari’ by everyone, including her own people. Manthari is ‘Old woman’ in Konkani. One morning we heard some loud noise and crying. We came to understand ‘Manthari’ had died in sleep. When her grand-daughter tried to wake her up to give her coffee, she was not moving and there was no response at all. In those days, there were no Doctors, hospitals or ambulances. Hence she was declared dead. So a lot of people gathered for the funeral.

There is a custom of giving bath to the ‘dead body’ before taking it to the cremation ground. People were watching with solemn looks as her body was made to lie down on the step of the ‘Thulasi’. And her son took a pot-full of cold water from the well and went around the body and Thulasi and as per the instructions of the Priest; poured the cold water over the ‘dead body’. Suddenly the ‘dead body’ sat up with a noise ‘Budrrr….’ shivering and cursing the person who poured cold water! Now… the Son, the Priest and most of the people close to the scene were absolutely horrified and just ran away screaming ‘Bhootha, Bhootha' that is 'Devil, Devil'!

Me a young boy at that time didn’t know much about Devils and just enjoyed a really hilarious scene. I can never forget it! She lived on for another two years or so. And finally when she really died, they made sure there was no more 'Budrr...'. But for us, the kids of those days; 'Budrr...' became a real expression. We even used to play 'Dead body' and wake up with 'Budrr...'

The second incident is as funny if not more. this happened at school and is almost a legend in our town even today!


A very witty History Teacher was taking class on a lazy summer afternoon. Boys were feeling sleepy and one of them, a Sathar was actually fast asleep. The Teacher found this out and threw a chalk-piece at him to wake him up. As the startled but still drowsy Sathar looked up; the Teacher asked, “Now, Sathar Saheb, tell me about the Panipat war and who fought with whom?” Our man was never known for intelligence. But he was never short of confidence when it came to expressing himself. And he shot back instantly, “What is this Sir, someone fought someone a thousand years ago and all of them are dead now. Not even one is alive. Why do you dig up those old stories today to trouble us poor souls? Not a single person cares who fought where. All are dead. So let US live!” With this he collapsed on his bench and went back to his slumber!

This is just a sample of a huge and impressive collection of anecdotes from my father. I hope I will be able to come up with more and do so without draining the fun out of them!

Friday, February 12, 2010

LeT US learn Urdu !

Many Indian languages, especially Hindi; have been enriched by Arabic and Urdu words. Poetry wouldn’t have been as beautiful but for these languages. I realized this when I was listening to a Gazal ‘Shama’ by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar that goes like this, Chand apna safar khatm karta raha, Shamma jalti rahi, raat dhalti rahi … Dil me yaadon ki ‘Lashkar’ se toota kiye !

Who can forget "Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna" by Bismil Azimabadi? 'The Desire for Martyrdom' expressed in the poem was immortalized by Ram Prasad Bismil, the famous associate of Rajguru, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad. Here was a Hindu Freedom Fighter who preferred to be called 'Bismil' which is loosely translated as 'In the name of God'. Bismil also is the name of a district in Turkey.

My poor knowledge of Arabic and Urdu and even the debilitating inability to differentiate between these two languages meant, I had to ask ‘Khuda’! So I Googled and found out certain things that surprised me beyond words. ‘Lashkar’ is such a 'Khoobsurat' word and that means ‘Army’. The dreaded entity called ‘Lashkar E Tayyaba’ actually means ‘Army of the Pure’ or ‘Army of the Pleasant’. What a paradox,  the worst terrorist outfit in the world and such a fantastic name ! 

LeT it be stressed here that this is not an attempt to demean or vilify any religion or group. Bal Thakre and his clan are busy with that business. My only concern is how these ‘Merchants of Terror’ have successfully managed to almost isolate an entire community and make such a beautiful language an ‘Alien’ to a majority of the people of this country ?

The Times of India is carrying out ‘Aman ki Aasha’; an attempt to foster ‘Peace’. Who doesn’t love “Peace”? But will we ever have it? Dharmendra’s ‘Elaan E Jang’ was a famous movie released during my childhood. Now, Elaan is such a beautiful word that means ‘Declaration’! The more I get familiar with India, more are the reasons to be proud of our country.

How many South Indians know ‘Aftab’ Shivdassani is a Hindu ? ‘Aftab’ is Sun and ‘Mehtab’ is Moon ! Now look at this immortal Mohammed Rafi song, “Chaudhavi ka Chand ho, ya Aftab ho; Jo bhi ho tum Khuda ki kasam… Laajawab ho…” Imagine this song without the ‘Islamic’ words.

Let us look at the Mughals; the most important Islamic Legacy in India. ‘Babar’ meant the King of Jungle, the Lion. ‘Humayoon’ means Blessed or Auspicious. ‘Akbar’ means Greater. Shah Jehan is Ruler of the Earth. And surprise of surprises is the most hated name ‘Aurangzeb’ which means Ornament of Throne ! Such beautiful names. And finally coming to the most common name in the world ‘Mohammed’; this simply means Praiseworthy or Glorified !

How sad it is that Urdu has been tagged along with Islam and so many of us have come to hate it just because of our narrow mindset. There were communal riots in Karnataka over a decade ago when the then CM Veerappa Moily introduced Urdu news on Kannada DD Channel. This was done with the ulterior motive of appeasing the Muslims. What it achieved was a huge loss of public property, some young and precious lives and a great amount of good-will.

Why do our politicians do this ? Tokenism is the only thing they manage to do. Instead of striving to provide better quality of life to all the Indians, our politicians with few exceptions try to pit one Indian against another. Divide and rule ! But why do we people fall for this ? Don’t we have any other alternative ?

This enlightenment has come at the right time for me; as I am trying my best to arrange tickets for my family to watch ‘My Name is Khan’ tonight. I am disgusted by the fact that Shah Rukh Khan’s movie has been targeted by Shiv Sena even before it is released. What a pathetic situation we have come to !

Will we ever have ‘Peace / Aman / Shanthi ? Will we ever have ‘Leaders’ who will not divide people but unite them ? Will there ever be a Ruler who will not discriminate one group from another and be equally good to ‘ALL’ ? Will I be able to name my second daughter ‘Mehtab’ without risking severe opposition and even enmity from my own people ? Will India ever be able to say… “ALL izz Well’ ?

This is what 'Aman ki Asha' all about. It is better to hope for a better tomorrow than live with pessimism. 'Hope' or 'Asha' or 'Ummeed' is the most important feeling that drives humanity. I remember a famous Amitabh Bachchan dialogue from the movie 'Khuda Gawah', "Roshangar-e Khuda ko ho manzoor, Aandhiyon me Chiraag jalte hain... Khuda Gawah hai"

Dr. Pun-dit

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Monsoon and Nostalgia from Madikeri - August 2008!

I am giving a short account of a short but sweet get together we had at Madikeri from 10 August 2008 to 12 August 2008. I had initially posted this as a six part discussion topic on our Orkut Community VIMS, Class of 1988 soon after the event. I am editing and making it a blog-post for the sake of preserving those memories. Because, those moments were, are and will forever remain absolutely precious!

First Day and Night, 10 August 2008:

I and Jagan Mohan Rao [Jagan henceforth] started from Iritti [The small sleepy hamlet he works at] on Sunday morning by his Spark. Murali came from Moodabidri by his Brand New Sparkling Honda City and Chethan [Chethi], Sreenivas Reddy [Seena] and Vineeth aka Dabba came from Bangalore in Chethi's Santro.

Jagan and I reached first by 2:00 PM. Murali ordered us to wait for lunch. But then he went missing in action [ACTION]! There was some action, some drama, some sentiments and finally some Comedy .

Murali reached by 4:40 PM and the Bangalore trio just before 8:00 PM. We stayed at a Home-Stay called AHAN. It was a very cute place on top of a small hillock and facing a mini-sangam of two streams with a bridge running diagonally across the merging streams. Boy! was it breathtaking?

Well... we were really tired but too excited be retired! So the dinner was littered with Coorgi Pork, Chicken, Paneer and Dal. Murali had bought the entire stock of fish from Mangalore market and his mother had prepared what was rated as ******* Fish Fry by those who tasted it. Alas, I turned pure veggie in April 1999.

It was raining, raining and raining. There was no power. No network except for Murali. I suspect he had done some range-fixing. The inverter was not working because the battery had conked off. So it was cool, windy and absolutely stunning with the downpour.

But... All these could not dampen the SPIRITS of the Six of us who had met after a gap of minimum 3 years. I was meeting Seena after 14 years and Vineeth and Seena had almost forgotten how Jagan looked.

So it was time for sweet pains... I mean Nostalgia . "N" pegs down and subsequent to several confessions... the night was still YOUNG for almost all except the Sun who was in a hurry to make his presence felt.

Day one ended as soon as day two began...

Day-2: Monday, 11 August 2008

All were in a hangover and were up by 7:30 only due to my daughter calling from Kochi on Murali's phone since she could not track me... Thanks to range-fixing! Though we were up by 7:30 AM, it took us an eternity to come out of the slumber. When you have "God" inside you and the Eleventh Incarnation of "God" [Jagan] as one of you; time will travel at its own speed.

Though we had wanted to go to Bhagamandala and Thalakaveri, continued rains meant even going to our cars parked at the bottom of the hillock was an adventure . Finally by 11:00 AM, the Sun smiled at us with a promise and lured us into moving out. As soon as we were ready; the slippery fellow that he is, the Sun disappeared and we were on the roads with heavy downpour; I mean Rains, not Wines!

We reached a resort called Heritage. I must stress here; this place is very close to heaven. No I have not seen heaven and am not in a hurry to visit soon. I'll settle for Heritage instead!

This place is surrounded on all four sides by rain forests. They have cottages and rooms on several small artificially erected hillocks with motorable roads to the bottom of each of the cottage. Then there was the ridiculously beautiful restaurant on top of the tallest hillock. You have to see it to believe it. They have an artificially erected swimming pool on top of a hillock. It rests on a rock that also acts as part of the support to a small parking area for the insider's vehicles.

We settled down for lunch after some confusion in tracking down each other and in finding some umbrellas for two people who did not love rains; Jagan and Seena. Rest of us; Murali, Chethi, Dabba and I just relished the race to the top of the hillock in that healthy downpour. Children of Rain Gods, albeit a little grown up.


The lunch was littered with a really slow and low intensity wine that shook me after 3 down. I am a wine only guy and have tasted those sweet and nice homemade wines gifted to me by my Christian Clients in Kochi. But this was something else. We had so many starters with the wine; it looked as if we were trying to light a tube light.

The lunch was going on and on all the time giving me photo opportunities. I am a compulsive shooter when I have a camera on hand. Anyone can see why I call this place Heaven . I took all these photos with a very ordinary Kodak Digital Camera since my Canon was found to have a major snag at the eleventh hour.

Well, after a million starters and several glasses down; we settled down for a nice lunch of rotis, rice, pork, chicken, curd-rice and buttermilk. A senior personnel of the resort asked us what the vehicles we had brought with us were. Know why? The way the rains were pouring and the waiters were pouring; there was a definite competition between Lord Varuna and Murali. Murali won hands down, well hands up to be precise.

The ambiance was great, lunch was fabulous, company was exhilarating and I have no words to describe the feeling. So I'll put it this way: We were just overwhelmed. The rains as I mentioned receded just in time to let us move back to our abode at Ahan. Our efforts to get some Ayurvedic massage at a close by place did not bear any fruits and we returned to cottage by 6:00 PM.

After a bit of tidying up and rest, we were ready for a new adventure. We moved into The Department of Card-o-logy. With HEAD of the Department Seena to lead we had two exciting sessions. Jagan and I were poorer by 1/2-K. Dabba and Chethi lost 1 K each. Seena broke even after 2 rounds and Murali, the unexpected Hero of the evening was... Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar! I must tell this: A Game of Rummy has never before been more exciting and stunning!

We again had mixed dinner, very little liquor and a lot of discussions...

Oh God... The Eleventh Incarnation of God

The night was all about Mind, about Matrix and about GOD! Murali and my statements regarding GOD being nonexistent; brought the GOD in Jagan to the fore. Quite like Rangarajan Nambi in Kamal Hasan's Dashavatharam. We realized that God was with us. We also celebrated Abhinav Bhindra's Golden Moments! Vande Matharam!

And after discussions, more discussions and elaborate discussions... We don't remember when we crashed. And thus came to an end; perhaps one of the most memorable day in all our lives!

Day-3, Tuesday, 12 August 2008

We were up late as usual by 7:30 AM. Rest of us waited for Seena and Dabba to regroup. On day-2 accounts, I had missed to mention something very important. All of us got to taste some really delicious Coorg Coffee with breakfast consisting of Idli, Vada and extremely nice dosas on both days. The Sun gave us some break for a few photos. That is when Jagan and Chethi noticed the river stream taking two distinct colors and both colors flowing in tandem and gradually merging down the lane into a beautiful dicoction. As I had mentioned earlier, we had two streams coming and merging right in front of our cottage and that was a spectacular visual treat!

And... Finally... After planning for several weeks, looking forward to an event like this for nearly three years... It was almost over. So Murali had to sponsor the lunch at his favorite hotel. The food was good and so was the company. But by this time I had started to develop gastritis and was getting sick. I was not doing well even on Monday night, but could not play spoilsport and held on with all the will power I could muster. Thank God, Jagan I mean; he was going to drive back. I was not in a position, but had to threaten him so as to make him more determined to drive all the way back. Don't tell him that I took him for a ride!

We all parted by 3:00 PM with a pledge to meet as frequently as possible. Murali was the first to reach his home. He was too keen to get back to his little and adorable Ahana who was running fever. She was fine by the time he reached home. Thank Goodness!

Jagan and I reached Iritti just before 8:00 PM. I took a taxi to Thalasseri so as to catch train to Kochi. I too was keen to catch up with my family, especially my little daughter. That daughter who had called me about 20 times each day apart from sending 20 - 25 messages, some of them even on Murali's phone when I was not approachable. Well, I had forgotten to mention something funny here. Murali got a message "I miss you and love you so much!" from a number he didn't know! He was quite stunned initially, but then realized it must be for me because of the number being quite similar to mine. It was from my wife. Since I had gone out of range, she had sent it to Murali's phone!

Chethan, Dabba and Seena reached their destinations before 8:30 PM too. I developed fever with chills and had to abort my journey to Kochi and stay back in a hotel at Thalasseri. That was a tough night for me. But I was better and up by 5:45 AM and reached home by 2 PM on Wednesday, 13 August 2008.

Thus came to an end what must be rated as a very special and extremely fulfilling holiday!

Post Script: Those who want to see the snaps... Please visit my Orkut album - Madikeri. And those who want to visit the places in the album, please call Murali . If you don't have his number, leave a scrap on his page! Your wish will be granted. After all, GOD is with Us!

Hope I have not bored you people. If I did manage to bore you, can't help it! You people have read such a long short note according to your own will and I did not force you!

Have a great life... and Keep smiling :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Breach of Trust !

My Boss, a retired Professor of Cardiology is an avid reader. He also likes to share anecdotes; from the past and not so distant past. I have learned so many things from him over the past five years. I remain indebted to him for whatever little I know today.

All of what I’ve learned from him isn’t about Cardiology. He has always goaded me to go for a second child. He admonishes me because I haven’t progressed yet. He has given precious tips on preserving mushrooms. He is a good cook and has given his inputs about some of the dishes that all of us love. He also gave me a copy of Jeffery Archer’s ‘Paths of Glory’ a wonderful novel about a man, who was perhaps the first to scale the heights of Mount Everest; but never got the credit simply because he didn’t return to tell his story.

I have heard so many wonderful anecdotes from my Boss; I can actually compile them into a book. With the help of a good Editor, I might even have a bestseller in my armor. Let me recount one of those stories here. The story is here as it was narrated to me. The ‘I’ here is ‘He’ the Boss!

I have always believed in myself and trusted my ability to judge people. But once in a while my confidence gets badly shaken by my failure to read people. Ever since I came to Kochi five years ago, I have been treating a man with Coronary Artery Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension and Deep Vein Thrombosis of right leg. He is a stocky man always seen in old but well maintained shirts and mundu. He also wears a monkey cap almost all the time. He must be around 74 years old now. Since day one, he has cribbed to me about the costs of medicines and the difficulties of the common man. Looking at his miserable situation, I always kept aside samples of medicines for him. Every month, he comes to me, gets himself examined and walks away with samples worth at least 600 to 700 rupees. When I am short on samples, he even demands that his share should be kept safely and not be given to other people. And then this happened…

Last Saturday, he was here. After I examined him, he requested me for a certificate stating the facts of his illness. He wanted it to facilitate his visit to the famed temple at Tirupathy. There elderly people with illnesses can walk straight into the temple without having to suffer in the queue if you have an authentic certificate stating about your ill-health.

Then he told me, “I am going to pray to the Tirupathy Lord to give me the longevity and the good fortune to see a five storied building coming up on my land” I asked him, “Where is your land and how much do you think you will need for this?” He replied, “My land is about 3 acres in the suburbs of Kochi city. The estimate for the building comes to around five crores. I am going to arrange some loan and rest will come from my savings. I am not going to sell my land in my life time. What will happen after that is left my children”

Now, the Boss was seething! He said, ‘Here I am, a Cardiologist and a Professor for over 30 years. I don’t have a house, no car and not even a small piece of land in my name. And here I was; like a fool doling out free medicines to a millionaire! I lost complete faith in my ability to judge people”

I could only smile a feeble smile. What else can you do when someone as senior as him admits he was conned?

Why did I choose this story? Just because I wanted to tell something that I have always wanted to tell. People complain about the greed and arrogance of Doctors. Very often, I have seen some people generalizing about the Doctor community as ‘Money-minded and selfish’. And when you have someone as simple and as upright as my Boss, he gets duped! How will Doctors trust people? There is a serious breach in trust and that has happened due to contributions from both the sides. Unfortunate but true! What can we do to restore some kind of trust and confidence? I can talk for the Doctor community and that will require another day and another post!