Saturday, 5 March 2011

Reminiscence


Hundreds of faces jostle towards Sone. The river embraces them as they immerse themselves navel-deep into its cool waters...
Women clad in multihued saris offer Aragh (offerings) to the Sun God...
The river has seen this place metamorphose from a tiny village to a beautiful town... She has seen the rise of schools, hospitals and theatres... Like a mother she has compassionately encompassed the faces of thousands of men and women... She has seen them grow from boys to men, from girls to women... The people might forget her but the river remembers each and every face...Every face that ever bathed here on her banks...
In fact she remembers...she vividly remembers... the face of Dr. Awadhesh Prasad and his wife Kusum Rani. They came to her banks to offer prayers during Chhath Puja - the festival of six days of austerity... They came here with their children to see and rejoice the sun setting over the horizon. They came here when this town was a village... in the era of independent India, a newly wedded couple came here... dependent on nobody but one another for love, happiness and life.
An ENT specialist with a degree from Bombay (Mumbai) and qualification of a revolutionary during the freedom struggle...He came back to his motherland leaving behind the ‘Mayanagri’. A small clinic for the patients of the town was opened at the back of his ancestral home. His wife, two sons, six daughters and an extended family of hundreds of patients were all that comprised his world. Cough and Cold were common in those days... fever was a fatal disease. As schools, theatres and means of transport mushroomed in the town so did the problems related to eyes, nose and throat.
At a time when even dispensaries were a luxury Dr.Prasad’s clinic served as a boon to the people. He was not just a doctor for the people... he was family for them. He was like a friend, philosopher and guide to them. People treated him as God. He treated the poor for free, not just in Dehri but also in the nearby villages... His smile greeted his patients who increased day by day. He encouraged those who took proper care and medication, and at times even scolded those who did not. He took to the teachings of Arya Samaj and promoted a vegetarian lifestyle.He attended conferences all over the country and helped and healed hundreds and thousands of people. A man whose name is imprinted in Who’s Who list of WHO (World Health Organization), he refused to go to Mauritius to settle there as a doctor. Deeply rooted in the love for one’s country he stayed in Dehri-on-Sone, Bihar till he retired. He practiced medicine even post-retirement.
His nimble hands were ready to heal everyone who wanted help, his everlasting smile welcomed young and old alike... his ears were ready to hear out everybody’s problem and his deep loving eyes looked upon everyone with compassion and tenderness. On 15 November 2005, his gentle eyes closed forever...Thousands were rendered fatherless. His death tormented the people’s hearts like an incurable disease. The entire town lamented this irremediable loss. A doctor is not just a part of his family but also an integral part of the society. His body was burned and his ashes were scattered in the holy river. A part of those ashes slowly permeated in the womb of Sone...
The river still flows in Dehri, only Dr. Awadhesh Prasad no longer lives there...
Maybe he still lives there... Maybe...in that little clinic behind that big house...Maybe on the banks of the river where he sat in the evenings...
I know he is no longer physically present with us... but my grandfather will live with me forever... Not only me, but he will live forever in the hearts of all his children... all those thousands of people who loved him and will remember him forever...

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14 comments/suggestions:

Anonymous said...

some how reminded me of " maila aanchal" .... very diffrent yet the doctor's life is same as if ur granpa ws doctor of tht novel .....

subtlescribbler said...

wonderfully narrated. yes, doctors are noble people with a hard life to lead, but all through their lives they are an inspiration for all those around them :)

sarah

ani_aset said...

nicely narrated story :) and dehri-on-sone reminded me of nanaji who is currently hospitlaized...i hope he gets well soon

nature photos said...

great narration and nice black nd white photos...

mihirvatsa said...

PG, English Literature. My senior you will be then, in a way.

Allow me to offer honest critique of this piece. The piece is a personal one hence the emotions come out quite naturally while reading each and every word written here.

The narrative builds the scope for an elongated story, from the very start. I was genuinely surprised to see that it ended short; but the last para, when I read it, did manage to balance the short length with its heavy ending.

All in all, a good piece to read and relate to. I have crossed Dehri while going to Hazaribagh in train, and I have admired the vast Sone. It's true that stories do come out from every stop in the journey of a lifetime.

And now I should stop and read for my exams instead. :|

Anukriti Sharma said...

@Mihir
I appreciate the fact that you offered an honest critique of my writing, even though you have an exam... I love the way you narrate and describe things... you too seem to be quite a 'visual' person...aren't you? you have an artistic bent of mind garnished with literary inclination...that is a great achievement u know...
Thank you for liking this piece of writing dedicated to an immortal man :)
God bless you!

Dhruva Mathur said...

That is very beautifully written. Loved the story.

Rohan said...

I really liked this one...very well writ.

Anukriti Sharma said...

@Dhruva...
Thanks dear :)

@Rohan
Thank you :)

Asitav said...

I wish doctors of today were like him. They keep our hope alive.
Asitav

kunjan said...

Loved the post, and being a Dr myself I get chance to have closer look at the current health condition of the India. If possible please add some stories how your granpa cured someone who is very ill and like that...that will add real content to the post.
Happy blogging !!

Kalyan ( Progress for all) said...

Splendid....Just superb...I have never read such a good narration of somebody's life. One can actually visualize each and every word that has been written in this blog.
Bless me too, so that one day, I can have such a command on the language.

Nitin said...

Hey anukriti,

Grt way 2 pay homeage to the best ppl in this wrld (grandparents)...tk a bow Dr.Prasad..!!!!!!!!

I recently lost my grandma (Nani)...n i so really miss her!!!thought i will tell her know tht i mentioned her luv for Dada in one of my posts ):

This tune on ur blog jus helps me 2 soothe....plz leave a download link on my blog..i had downloaded but it seems 2 b broken!!!!

Rgds,
nitin

young hopes said...

ur pics are too beautiful Anu and even your narration is awesome, keep up the good work