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Dr. Ramkrishna Rao checked the pulse at the root of the right thumb of the patient, looked at the condition of his tongue and diagnosed the disease.

“Okay. Take this kadha three times a day and do the fomentation on stomach before lunch and before dinner with this herb. In 8 days, you will be free of your problem. Remember no non-veg and no liquor during the period of treatment. You see me after 4 days,” saying this Dr. Ramakrishna Rao handed over a small packet to the patient. The patient took the medicines, politely bowed folding hands, paid the charges and went out of the clinic. Then the next patient in the waiting, entered the consultation room.

Dr. Ramkrishna Rao was the only qualified doctor in the town VADGAON. He had a degree in Ayurvedic stream  of Medicines. He was very popular among all the residents of Vadgaon. His skill of diagnosing the disease was very much appreciated and patients were sure of relief from his medicines. Considering the population of town, this single doctor had to bear an extra load of health care.

Need of another expert doctor was fulfilled by Dr. Satish Raje, opening a clinic in the town.  Dr. Satish Raje was a M.B.B.S. from allopathic stream. Slowly but surely, he established himself as an expert medical practitioner. The younger lot of the town had turned to him for most of their medical problems.

Slowly the town got divided into the followers of therapy they chose. Ayurvedic followers and Allopathic followers.

Ayurvedic followers used to boast of the age-old treatments, the minimum side effects and attacking the root cause of ailment. This caused the slower results but the solutions were long lasting.

Allopathic treatment had immediate results and quick solutions to any sort of ailment. But each treatment had noticeable side effects and had to take in a lot of medicines to suppress the side effects.

Both the Doctors were considered saviors of the town. 

One Wednesday, Dr. Ramkrishna Rao returned from clinic just to discover that his 7-year-old son had high temperature. Doctor checked his pulse, noted the condition of tongue, throat etc. and diagnosed for a certain problem and started necessary medicines consisting of bhasma, kadha and some herbs. To his wife he said, “Our child should be alright by tomorrow morning. He will be up and active.”

Dr. Ramkrishna retired to bed at his usual time.

Next morning Dr. Ramkrishna got a jolt when his treatment had not worked. The child’s condition had worsened. He increased the dose and told his wife “I have increased the dose. Now by evening he must get relief.”

At the clinic, Ramkrishna was examining the patients but he was little worried about his son. Closing the clinic after attending the last patient, he rushed home. He found his son still suffering. He checked his throat, tongue and checked the pulse. It had worsened.

He told his wife, “Due to season change, our boy is suffering. The heavy rains, during last 4-5 days, have caused the imbalance of kaff dosha and so this illness. I will change course of medicines and now I am sure our child must get relief.”

Dr.Ramkrishna himself made some kadha and gave it to his son. Extremely weak, the child somehow drank the kadha.  Ramkrishna was alarmed by son’s state.  He tried some other medicines.

In this condition 4 days passed. On Saturday evening Rmakrishna lost his courage. How to save the child was his main worry. He had staked all his experience and knowledge. But nothing had responded positively. His wife was extremely concerned.  “Now what?” she said.

“I also do not know. I have tried all what I could think of.”

“My God, if you have given up, how can we save our child? If you do not get angry, can I suggest you something? Why don’t we consult Dr.Raje?”

“That means accepting defeat against the other type of treatment?”

“Where is the question defeat or victory? We have to save our child, anyhow.”

“Yes, I know.”

After a pause Ramkrishna said,” Okay I will go to Dr.Raje’s house and ask for help. Give me umbrella. It is raining heavily. I will meet him in his house. I do not want to take car to Dr. Raje. Car will be identified by everybody.  My going to Raje for help, will be considered ignominious for Ayurveda.

I have to  take care that no one sees me going to Raje.”

Saying this Ramkrishna stepped out of the house. The heavy rains were slashing the town. Still, he wanted to go and see Dr. Raje as other methods of communication had failed. The phones were out of order. Ramkrishna saw someone coming in the direction of his house with umbrella tilted attempting protecting himself from heavy showers of rain. The person came very close. That was Dr. Raje.

“Dr.Ramkrishna, where are you going in this heavy rain?” Raje said.

“Dr. Raje?  What brings you here?”

“Dr. Ramkrishna, I need your help desperately.“

“My help? What for? “

“Ramkrishana, my 9-year-old son is seriously ill since last Tuesday. I tried all possible treatment but nothing has worked. In these heavy rains, only you can save my son. Please give me medicine to cure my son.”

“Sure. Tell me what is the problem with your son. But why are we standing in the rains. Let us get in to my house.”

After entering the house, Dr.Raje explained all his observations during last four days. Ramkrishna thought for a few moments.

“Dr.Raje, I need to check the condition of your child. I will come to your house with few of the medicines I guess, would work. But the drug to be administered will be decided only after actually examining the child,” saying this Ramkrishna went into another room and opening a cupboard took out some herbs.

Dr.Raje thanked sincerely and was about to start returning home.

He asked ”But Ramkrishna, where were you going in such a heavy rain?”

“Dr.Raje, actually I was also going to see you only.”

“Me? What for? ”

“My son is also ill since Tuesday. I have tried all that I could but his condition is worsening. Only you can save him.”

“Where is your son?”

“Come, he is in this room.  Please check him and as I told you he is suffering since Tuesday.”

“Can I get a stethoscope?”

It was given to him.

Using the stethoscope Dr. Raje checked the patient.

“Don’t worry. Get these medicines from store and your son will be all right by tomorrow evening.”

“Thank you so much. I will send my assistant immediately to medical store. Get the medicines and will give them to my son.”

Dr. Raje started to go to his house. Dr.Ramkrishna joined him.

“Let us forget about people finding about our taking help of the alternate therapy.

I will take out my car. It is raining extremely heavy. We will reach your place quickly. I am carrying few medicines with me. After inspection, we will give the dose immediately.”

Dr.Ramkrishna took out his car in heavy rain. Dr.Raje took the seat next to him.

On the main road, Dr. Ramkrishna was driving carefully.

“Let us halt at the medical store. “ Dr. Raje told. They picked up the medicines  needed to give to Dr. Ramkrishna’s son. Then they moved further.

The car came to screeching halt at Dr. Raje’s bungalow.

Both the doctors, protecting themselves from rain, rushed into the house.

“Make us some hot coffee quickly.” Dr.Raje told his wife.

Instead of waiting for the coffee, they both entered the room where Dr. Raje’s son was sleeping under the influence of high fever.

Ramkrishna took child’s hand and measured his pulse. Son was awakened. Ramkrishna told him to show his tongue. Observing the condition of the tongue, Ramkrishna shook his head. He also checked the condition of the skin of his face.

He immediately took out his chest of medicines. Gave some measured quantity of garlic powder, added dried ginger. Mixed it with honey and told the child to lick the paste. He also took out some herbs and told Dr.Raje to make kadha and give him a glass full. Further he told Dr.Raje to repeat the dose early morning and before lunch next day.

He wound up his chest and started for his return.

Mrs.Raje reminded them about coffee.

“No. Thanks. But I must rush home.”

“Yes. Thanks a million Dr.Ramkrishna. Give the medicine to your son immediately. And if you do not find any improvement, send your assistant to my house, any time you think necessary. I will come to your house in my car without any embarrassment of detection by other people.”

“Thanks. I also hope your son gets alright soon.”

Dr. Ramkrishna got into his car. He drove back carefully.

When inside the house, he took out the medicines bought from the store, and gave the recommended dose to his son.    

Ramkrishna without having a wink, monitored his son continuously throughout the night, his wife sitting beside him.

The temperature came down and no other symptom was visible. The son had a nice, sound sleep.

 Here in Dr.Raje’s house also both the parents watched their son slowly recovering from worse condition. By morning the patient was out of danger.

Both the very serious patients got the right medicines and the families were extremely relieved to see their children springing up to good health.

On Monday, Dr. Ramkrishna Rao opened his clinic at the scheduled time without any tension in the back of his mind, about the health of his son.

 Dr. Raje was also in cheerful mood when he attended the patient in his  dispensary.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I finished my practical and got out of the college. I was heavy-hearted. Darkness completely filled my heart. No thoughts were entering my mind. PITCH DARKNESS. I was not seeing anything. Total vacuum  everywhere.  No. I was not walking. I was being dragged. My legs were taking me uncontrolled.

It was winter. So the days were short. It got dark quite early. Very gloomy just as it was in my heart. I saw only the blackness in the sky. I could not see the stars. The entire vacuum in my mind was filled with darkness. The public on the road were walking. I was walking along with them. They stopped. I also stopped. Probably we came at the road crossing. I was not able to raise my head. So much disappointed. Some how dared to look up.  The light was red. I sighted a big hoarding near by. It read.


And these lines pushed me into the ocean of depression. Suddenly, the road sign changed its colour. It turned green. The public moved. They started walking. I also started walking. Again I looked down. It was impossible to look up.

Somebody put his hand on my shoulder. He asked” Have you seen Khandekar?”

Just to answer him I said,”No.” Not interested in knowing who was asking. How would I know about Khandekar? Can one notice some person in darkness?

I heard some announcement on public address system. I realized I was on the railway platform. In a short time a train arrived. I boarded the train without thinking. I stood in the door only. The train started. Cool breeze started biting my ears, digging my heart. I found it annoying. I was looking out of the door. But I could not see anything. Vacuum. Total vacuum.  

The train stopped. Some people got off. Few boarded the train. I did not move. I realized lights on the platform were glowing brightly except one. One light was flickering. It was writhing in pain. Probably one of his ambitions was not fulfilled. So he was very uneasy.

Train started. Again cool breeze started biting. Again it began digging my heart.

When the train stopped again, Uncontrollably I got down. I took the stairs. Got off the bridge without thinking. Traced the road along with the public. I crossed few squares. But I was not seeing anything. I was drowning deep into ocean of depression. So deep that the ray of hope won’t reach there ever. I was walking. Soon I entered a chawl. Climbed two floors. Came up to my room. Took out the key and opened the lock. Pushed the door open. Entered the room. Put on the light. The room was illuminated. Took out my clothes. Changed into house clothes. The tiffin from the mess was waiting for me. But I did not pay attention to it. I sat on the cot. Was not in a mood to even study.

I remembered the flickering light on the platform, its writhing in pain.

Slowly I remembered my house in the village.

Are you going to send Satish to Mumbai for higher studies? He secured good marks in SSC.” Teacher of my school asked my father.

“Yes. Of course. We are thinking on those lines. But we are not able to resolve the problem of his staying few colleges in Mumbai have hostels but they seem to be full. One of my friend’s relatives informed us. We are looking for a rented room.”

“There is no shortage of money for you. If you give some deposit, one can get a good room.” Teacher said.

“All this property is for Satish only. As such, studies are not necessary for my son. He does not have to work to earn money.”

Satish thought,“I was a good student at the school and my teacher wanted me to take up higher studies. He always encouraged me to go to Mumbai and take a degree.”

When through efforts of my teacher, we hired a room in a chawl and my admission in a college was taken, I started packing my baggage to move to Mumbai, my mother was upset. She was worried about my separation from her. She started weeping repeatedly. My father told her that was just a matter of 5 years. After completing his education, Satish will be back and will stay with us forever. Moreover he will be with us during Diwali as well as summer vacation during those years also.

After he completes his education, we will start a factory and Satish will be here managing that. So have patience.”

And I came to Mumbai. Adapted to new environment of college. Slowly I got mixed with the boys of city. My interest in studies increased. Five years were over. I got my Engineering degree. I was an Engineer now.

Then someone suggested to complete a six month post graduation course which would help me in managing the factory. I talked to my father about this. Very unwillingly, after a lot of persuasion he agreed and said “Satish, I must see you here the next day of end of your exam.  Promise?”

“Yes, Baba. I will be there the very next day.”

I joined the course and started attending it regularly.

Meanwhile, China attacked India. State of Emergency was declared. Once I met my professor from the college. He suggested to join army. He said “If you don’t join services now, when our country needs you, your education is worthless. “

And those thoughts of joining Army influenced me completely. I decided certainly to join Army . But I thought of my parents. I needed to seek their permission. Immediately I wrote a letter to him asking for consent to my decision.

Immediately I received a reply.

“Dear Satish,

I was very much upset to read your idea. Do you think you know so much that you can take your own decision? I have given you so much education. Is it only for sending you to Defense Forces? Country is in danger. But are you the only young man in this country? Don’t be over-wise. We have pinned all our hopes on you. Your mother has so many  plans for you. Are you going to bring them down by such a decision? Nothing doing.  You come down home immediately. Forget about the current course you have joined. I must see you here tomorrow. I am waiting for you.



And it crushed all my ambitions.

The letter from my father was staring at me. I picked it up. Read it repeatedly. I lay on the cot.  I did not know when I slept.

Next day I had to go to college early in the morning. I dressed up in a disappointed mood. Only mechanically I attended the college and then the practical.

Now I was back from college lying on the cot. I once again read the letter from Baba.  After facing the conflicting thoughts again and again for sometime, I dozed off.

When I opened my eyes it was dawn and got up. I realized my Baba’s letter torn into pieces, was lying in the corner of the bed. I had a disgusting feeling about my father’s selfish ideas. But I was not disappointed now. The sky was getting clear with rays of rising sun. My mind was also full with bright ideas. I was soaring high. Instead of getting pulled down in the ocean of depression, I was being pushed up.

Quickly I got ready. I satisfied my hunger by having the tiffin of the previous day along with the tea. I came out of the room. Locked the door and started walking briskly looking straight up. My eyes refused to bend down. I was watching hoardings of different products. But I was seeing myself in Army uniform operating some big weapons.  In short time, I reached the station. I boarded the train which arrived in a short time. I got the window seat. The train started. Cool breeze blowing biting my ears. But it was not annoying me.  After a couple of stations, I got off the train. Came out of the platform hurriedly. I did not have to stop at the road crossing as green signal was waiting for me to come. I reached the Army recruitment centre. And entered the office with confidence.