All I remember now is that I wanted to watch the movie Arangetram directed by K Balachander. It was being screened in Krishnaveni theatre at that time. Sometime around ’72.
Remember those good old taxis of Madras? Amby (Amabassador car for the uninitiated), Fiats and an Austin here and there along with a few standard Heralds were plying as taxis then on the roads of Madras. One fateful evening, way back in the 70’s, I had my usual cuppa tea at Hameediya Hotel and Bakery, acorss our book store and was crossing the famous Pondy Bazaar, (I read somewehre online in the past few hours, it is Asia’s busiest retail market with lakhs and lakhs of footfalls) to reach our store the other side. There was a cyclist and a fiat taxi to my right and the cyclist was a middle aged man. To cut to chase, I wanted the cyclist to avoid the taxi and thus it so happened that the left rear tyre of the taxi ran over the big toe of my right foot. Well, I did not fall or anything, but with that bleeding toe trailing a stream of blood, I crossed half the lane and entered the other lane. That is when they noticed that I was leaving a trail of blood across the road. They were Muhammad Ali of Taj Watch Co, our neighbor and, Taji Prasad – popular for his sports column in Andhrajyothi weekly, who was chatting with my mother. Before they could reach me I reached the store and sat down on front extension. Needless to say, there was a lot of commotion all around. It was Taji Prasad, who very gently as if I was a piece of Waterford Crystal Glassware, bodily lifted me and placed me in a taxi that rushed to pick me up from the taxi stand around the corner. Obviously, the mother and son duo were popular.
But that is not the what I want to share with you all. It is Taji Prasad and his love and affection towards me, that I want to share. It still drenches me when we meet and the meets are quite rare now a days. In spite of time and distance he is still there in my thoughts. That warm touch, it radiates a certain energy and that fills oneself to the brim and at times overflows. Gratitude, you say?
He is younger than my father. I still call him peda naanna (పెద నాన్న). A unique way to relate to a paternal uncle, a father’s elder brother. It was my “peda naanna” that my father in his last minutes wished us to take him to. We did, but then it was too late. It was my ‘peda naanna’ again who sat next to me and made me do all those things that help the soul “rest peacefully”. Again it was my “peda naanna” who insisted on me going through all those rituals when my mother passed away. He is Atluri Pundarikakshiah It so happens that today is his birthday. He was always there and he would be always there. Gratitude you say.
There are doctors and doctors and many doctors and there are those who charge that they simply are out of one’s reach. There are some who are always there as if they they are born to be with you when you need them the most. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana there are a few kids and their parents who are alive today because he made sure that they would fight and win the toughest battle against a disease that is at times terminal. Some of these kids were looking into its eyes and this doctor *Ramana was right there next to them and gave them a great life to live and spread happiness around. There are times when I saw him give them his undivided professional attention, offer his expertise, medicines and I know of instances where he parted with money too when the patient couldn’t afford to..you know what. And he allowed me to be a part of some great things he did to those patients and the families around. Gratitude you said.
Thank you that is all for today.
Note: This is the third part of the Gratitude Challenge (Day Three). This is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people. That is why you see it here.Well, I guess that sort of sums up for the day three. It’s been hectic and two more days to go.
* Dr Ramana, offers his expertise at Little Stars Children’s Hospital, Plot No 30, Nagarjuna Hills, Near Brisah, Panjagutta, Hyderabad – 500082 . Ph: +(91)-40-6666 2345, +(91)-95050 78600