Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The end of an era...

Today marks the end of an era…if I may call it so. 

Our ‘family doctor’, Dr. Upadhyaya, passed on to the other world leaving a void that will remain unfulfilled for eternity.

In this day and age, the concept and idea of a family doctor might sound ridiculous and even sneer-worthy, not so in those days. Today, we have specialists and super specialist. Someday we might have super ‘super’ specialists who would specialise in your left nostril alone or the cornea of your right eye! But no sire, not in those days! The family doctor would be a specialist for every part of your anatomy, every age, and gender. And we did pretty well together, without ever having the need to visit a specialist!

Every family would have a family doctor – a doctor, friend, philosopher, basically, a know-it-all person whom they’d trudge to in sickness and in health. Yes, in health too! Someone who would know you and your entire family inside out. To whom we would happily pay a visit should we be sick. A person who would be by your bedside regardless of the time of the day or night. A person who would attend your family functions like a family member.

Dr.Upadhyaya was our family doctor. He has treated me since I was a three-month-old baby. We never called him doctor, he was always doctor uncle to us. He would always know what ailed us. He would know if our problems were due to stress, hereditary, real or imagined. He would offer us much more than medicines. Sometimes, it would be a friendly advice, sometimes a joke shared over a cup of tea, and sometimes a sterner warning to follow what he prescribed. The one thing that he had was – time! Time for us…time that he would spend with his patients. Time spent talking to them.  Time, that was rewarding in more ways than one.

I remember the night my mother suffered an acute attack of abdominal pain. It was 11pm when my dad frantically rang up doctor uncle after debating whether he should disturb doctor at that time of the night. Doctor uncle had just reached home after wrapping up a busy evening. But unmindful of the distance and time, he drove straight to our home and attended to my mother. What simple times we lived in!

When my granny passed away, he chose to counsel my mom instead of administering her antacids for her acidity. She was cured without a single dose of medicine! He knew that her misery was due to stress.

He knew our birthdays and we knew his! He never forgot to wish me even after I had shifted to Bangalore. And I never forgot to wish him or pay him a visit whenever I’d go home. His association with my parents has been over 4 decades long! He was not just a family doctor to us but to all our family friends too! Can such associations be even imagined today?

With his demise,  the era of family doctors has come to an end. As much as I tried, I haven’t found anyone like him.

You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace doctor uncle. Om Shanti.


  1. Your post choked me up, yaar! I had a similar "doctor nanaji" when I was growing up. He had been a "doctor uncle" to my mom and her sister. So he became "nanaji" for my sister and me. His son was also a doctor by profession, but oddly, he could never take his father's place, as our family doctor. And as you rightly said in your post, it just sort of marked the end of an era.

  2. It's a sad yet heartwarming post. My dad is a doctor so in a way, growing up, he was the go-to doctor for basic things. But I know he tends to be the family doctor for some of his patients.

  3. Oh dear this is indeed sad news! I totally relate when you say it is the end of an era. Honestly they don't make'em like that anymore. I did a post on,"Your Friendly neighbourhood GP" a year ago. Prayers for the departed soul. I hope you find another kindred doctor soon.

  4. Yes, the passing away of a family doctor does mark the end of an era as family doctors are indeed a dying breed. Perhaps a time will come when all of us have a family URL where all our ailments can be tracked! My Dad was the family doctor for many of our friends and I always remember the fun I used to have dispensing his prescriptions.....He has retired now and our family doctor is now my daughter! So luckily I do have a real family doctor

  5. Its been such a long time since I visited this space Shubangi.

    I so get you. Family doctors were like a part of our families. I had a similar doctor, who treated me from the age of 5 years and also my daughter til she was 5. that was the kind of relationship that was built over the years.

    It surely must be sad to here the news of his death.

  6. So sorry for your loss, Shubhangi! I can understand how it must feel. Really, back then, times were simpler and so were people. The family doctor knew everything about our family and was a part of our family. Today, the specialists are all too formal, too distant and not at all interested in how we 'feel'..they treat us mechanically (many do!) and once we are out of their cabin, we are out of their lives...or so, I would like to believe!
    I yearn for those olden days!

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. You spoke of such simple and wonderful times when people were genuinely caring without any ulterior motive. I really like the idea family doctor. I feel it's more comfortable and has a stronger trust. Hugs and prayers for you. Take care.

  8. I believe in family doctor which is very important and relevant in today's times as friend, Philospher and Guide. Prayers with him and I am aware of the loss your family faced since there is a bond with the doctor uncle who would go out of the way in helping. Prayers.

  9. This is a lovely ode to a very cherished person in your lives. In today's age of medical practices becoming a huge money making scam, this post is like a breath of fresh air! Hugs for your loss Shubhangi!!

  10. I am so sorry for your loss, Shubhangi. Hugs.

    It is the end of an era indeed. And I can completely understand your sentiments, because we did have a family doctor too - Dr Mehta, whom we too called Mehta Uncle. That kind of doctor patient relationship seems to be non existent these days. A simpler, more trusting era, we seem to have lost somewhere as the years have gone by.

  11. Sorry for your loss Shubhangi.. Reminded me of our Kamat Dr who has a clinic back at home and always round to help and take care.

    Welcome back to blogging.. Missed your posts and hope you won't vanish again and make me miss you so much. :)


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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