Monday, June 27, 2005

Dr. Ramesh

This will be the last of my Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar series of posts.

Nase rog harai sab peera
Japat nirantar Hanumant beera

Jo yah padhe Hanuman Chalisa
Hoye siddhi sakhi Gaureesa

All diseases, pain and suffering disappear on reciting regularly Shri Hanuman's holy name.

All those who recite Hanuman Chalisa (The forty Chaupais) regularly are sure to be benedicted. Such is the evidence of no less a witness as Bhagwan Sankar.

Argggghhhhhhh...I would roll over and check the time by my watch...6:15 am.Damn I would curse and roll over and try and cover my ears with the pillow but then suddenly a loud jarring bell would blast my senses and yank me out of sleep. I would look up in despair and I would find Dr. Ramesh performing his early morning rites in an earnest fervor. Dressed in a dirty green lungi and a vest, Dr. Ramesh would then carry on his Hanuman Chalisa to invoke the blessings of the revered bachelor-God. I was at the hostel in Gandhinagar and Dr. Ramesh was the only other person staying at the hostel other than the warden, his wife, Rajesh the gardener and me. Suddenly he stopped his chanting and I thanked the lord to have given me another hour's sleep.

Dr. Ramesh was a practicing surgeon in Patna, Bihar. He was fat, sloppy, sluggish and yet there was an earthiness about him that is quintessential of a Bihari. I met him and we quickly became friends of sorts(not that we had a choice as we were the only people staying there) He used to tell me about his family back in Patna. He had a son who was about 8, a big house with two cows which he would milk every day(for some reason he stressed on that piece of information), elderly parents and a thriving clinic.He used to earn about Rs. 40,000 a month but after deducting the money that had to be given to the local goons for protection he had precious little left. It was strange listening to him about things that I had only seen in movies-about paying local gangs, money as "protection" , about his life in Patna and about the callousness that had pervaded every fabric of Bihar because of which a murdered man on the street evoked not more than a passing curiosity in the passers-by.

Dr. Ramesh had decided to give up constantly living under threat and had decided to find work as a doctor in a government hospital in Gujarat. He would leave the hostel by 9 and visit the various hospitals around the city and then trudge back tired and dejected.He would come back and tell me as to how he was ignored and a fresher was chosen only because he was a Gujarati. The worry in his eyes was evident as to when he would find a job and be in a position to send some money back home. It was when I saw him during those times that I wondered as to how much I had taken for granted. Then he would attack the food with such gusto that I would be left marveling at his gastric abilities. He would eat about 8 chappathis, a plateful of rice, two helpings of dal and whatever vegetable that was made and a bowl of curd. This was interspersed with salad and papad. Then he would give out a few loud belches and go out for a walk in the hostel grounds and release air at random intervals.

I thought about what I would have done if we were to switch roles. He had problems and yet instead of giving into the demands of the goons he decided to build a new life elsewhere. However there will be others who would argue that he was running away and not fighting back. But sometimes fighting back is just not an option. He had his wife, his kids to look after and yet I know that deep down he would have yearned to stay back and fight but it was just not possible.
For Dr. Ramesh, life would be a constant struggle, from Patna to Gandhinagar, from blatant terrorism to subtle discrimination...


Blogger ioiio said...

"from blatant terrorism to subtle discrimination"

heheheheh.. Thats gujarat maa

"from blatant terrorism to blatant terrorism" wud be apt.

10:52 AM  
Blogger RamantheB said...

nice!!! your posts are very impressive , I enjoyed all three of your posts about your experiences in Ahmedabad.

I have one suggestion. I get the feeling, you take too much care about the choice of every word and the structure of each sentence. Knowing you personally, I know some of these qualities are inherent, but its almost like reading a section in the Reader's digest.

Again am i just losing my train of thought here ???

7:11 PM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Your scathing humour is always refreshing so keep it coming.

I know what you mean...infact a cousin of mine told me exactly the same thing some time back but I guess its just something that has become inherent and now I just peck away at the keyboard as the thoughts continue to flow.

9:32 PM  
Blogger ioiio said...

Dei.. Take it as a compliment..
How many blogs cud be compared to reader's digest articles..

Infact the worst is when when ppl compare urs to a PAGE-3 most others do for my blog..

So keep em coming.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Relax Ullu
Would love to have a long chat with you about your blog when you come down.So call me when you get here, whenever it turns out to be.

2:10 AM  
Blogger johnny boy said...

Nice post dude... I liked the way u have narrated things... The more we read, the more blessed we feel, to be in chennai (South India). Life is so damn calm here, and we do not have to live our life, at the mercy of others!
BTW cool man, an analogy with readers digest! Compliments dont come better ! :)) In our blogs, we just hope that the 'Readers' can 'Digest' what we manage to come up with ;)))) lol

1:56 AM  

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