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.

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