I was born to a doctor couple.
Who chose many things and better among equals!
- What they chose?
- They chose to live and work in a rural area, very much underprivileged in two essential things… access to healthcare and education.
- They chose to fight against population explosion in their own way.
- They chose to improve their respective native places.
- They chose to be the support system of their respective big and relatively developing families.
- They chose to make a mark in healthcare for rural and tribal areas.
- They chose to raise a crippled daughter.
- They chose hope over despair.
Guess what? Success and well-being has chosen them. Settled in a small village of 3500 population way back in 1969, they have established a rural specialty health clinic brick-by-brick. Invented a family planning surgery technique which is safe and suture-less, and reduced the hospitalization for a patient. They did nearly 95,000 surgeries in their devised technique all over country. They trained nearly 500 doctors in their technique. Simultaneously serving and working as 24 hour hospital for 200 villages in Gajapathinagaram, Vizianagaram district.
I have never seen my parents enjoy a good night’s sleep without being awakened by some emergency patients, delivery cases, accident or other cases. It’s amazing to see their commitment and grit in their work. Without knowing, I am learning something; I started learning invaluable lessons from them.
Life was a simple fare living in rural village for us. Our parents never imposed their ideology on us. But the everyday work that is being done there, free health camps, eye camps, taking care of patients had its own effect on my upbringing. I always dreamt of a big institute for physically challenged where they are respected and given the livelihood according to their talent. They were given opportunity not pity.
My father never imposed his ideas on me. Patiently they did my rehabilitation post many surgeries I had to undergo. Elaborately explained what caused my disability, what can be done and what can’t be. All these information assimilated in me and have given me a confidence to deal with my life. Today whatever I am, I owe this to my parents, my father especially. He was and is my hero, a fine balance in my life. I was named after his sister-in-law who died during child-birth. That sister-in-law sold the only ornament she has and sends my father to pursue his medical education. Due to severe drought conditions, their financial condition was really bad at that time.
My father met my mother in medical college. They fell in love with each other and humanity at the same time. They decided to settle in a hub rural village near to their native villages. Their decision to get married received the wrath of my father’s family boycotting them socially for some years. The reason is that they belong to two different castes. So when I was born, I inherited a part of that wrath as it was and is still believed widely that disability is the result of past sins. In my case, disability occurred due to marriage of two different castes people. But I am glad for one thing, that my parents took enough care that caste doesn’t enter their children lives. I was really saved from the biggest disability of human race.
At the same time, I was not allowed special privileges being disabled, as regards, my father I was more than normal. So every work is given like normal child only. I have to be responsible for my actions. I feel today what gift they have given me by keeping me grounded in my thoughts and actions. Another important gift they have given me is taking me off the pressures a normal girl in a village has to face by not being married for long time, or having severe disability. They encouraged me to pursue my dreams and in the same path as I wish!
The lessons learned from my father are innumerable. I can only write which made impact on in the order of priority, they are as follows:
- When you go on helping people, don’t expect return, you will get rewarded for the great work you are doing.
- Social work/helping the needy is not a retirement pastime. It needs to be balanced with life from young age.
- Terra-firma. Keep your actions to ground, face the ground realities, and get tough, you will find your way soon.
- Money is not everything. But money is necessary to help many. Have an active profession/work which can feed your passion of helping others.
- Negativity is like a virus. Be way from it.
- If you think you are week, you are! Physical disability is nothing. Get to the top, it’s always vacant and wants fresh ideas.
- Mental proximity is more important than physical proximity
- Have some long-term projects. Have great friends for long time
- Retirement means doing different work from the one you got used to.
- Death means stopping thinking of new things.
- When you delegate some work, trust them completely. Assess and re-assess from time to time.
- You can’t have single trees in different places and still call it a garden. Have all your trees of good deeds at one place.
- Set aside some income of yours for the betterment of people.
- Have your epitaph something like this-“ here lived a person with ethical respect and died with ethical respect”
- Strike a fine balance between legality and morality
- Teach anyone what best you know, till its drilled into the next generation to come
- First achieve independence. Then comes inter-dependence.
- Life is all about finding micro solutions to mega problems.
My father used to often say with a laugh-“every parent wants to make their children doctors/engineers/some lucrative profession. No one wants to make them a great social worker. If you are physically strong, I would make you either great surgeon or very good social worker.”
I say silently to you dad-“what upbringing have you have given me father, I will never let go of it waste, I will try to be a better person to change the life of many disabled to the extent I can. I will help without any expectation till my last breath… Till death comes!”
© Sai Padma :// IPR All rights reserved.