My career began in Indian Express Vijayawada in early 80s. And the most prominent memory of my six-month stay there was about a Mother Superior of a missionary hospital at Bandar Road called American Hospital.
After eating contaminated food at some hotel I began getting terrible splitting headache in the evenings while at office. The intense pain was so unbearable as if ISIS butchers were chopping my head off. A doctor nearby gave some yellow-coloured injection which brought temporary relief.
Someone suggested doctors at Satyanarayanapuram as all foreign returned doctors were clustered there and I took a cycle-rickshaw. I rushed straightaway into the doctor’s cabin saying “doctor, my condition is very bad. Please take a look.” The rogue refused saying I must first meet the compounder outside and pay the fees.
In sheer disgust and anger I walked out and the rickshawallah was waiting. He was such a noble soul and I will never forget him. He felt my pain as if it was his own. He was Shekhar, a Tamilian. He spoke with kindness, “Sir these doctors are no good. All they want is money because they are foreign-returened. I will take you to the American Hospital where you will get excellent treatment.”
Being new to Vijayawada I knew nothing about an Indian hospital let alone an American one.
At the hospital a sister came running on seeing me and sensed that I needed urgent medical attention. She said, “why not get admitted as it is difficult to judge the problem” and then assured me I will be given a special (student’s) room.
Shekhar almost carried me to the room and tests were taken and later one Dr Nambiar came at night. I was firmly ensconced under a blanket as the fever was high. Dr Nambiar began pulling the blanket and I began pulling it back with all my force refusing to come out of it because of the extreme chill feeling.
This doctor was really good so too his medicines, the drip etc which acted quickly and relief was perceptible immediately. Within 24 hours I felt there was nothing wrong with me. Of course the diagnosis was enteric fever a form of typhoid.
The sister took lot of care when she knew I was for all practical purposes an orphan as I had no friend or a supporter to call as my own. For bringing some medicines she asked a relative of a patient in next room to take care of me whenever the need arose.
But the most memorable or should I say the experience of divinity came when a fairly young lady “Mother Superior” visited me the next day. There seemed to be halo around her beautiful face. When she was told I was alone she magnanimously said that she can share her meal with me and I am free to join her. But all she would be having is a plate of curd rice. When in my condition I had nowhere to look or seek succour except looking up at the sky to see if God existed I was happy to have found Him in front of my eyes.
Barely two days after I told Dr Nambiar I wish to be discharged. He joked, “without you the Express is coming out with its editions. Rest is must.” On 5th day I was discharged and this problem of head-splitting pain I never ever experienced again.
Often we come across during our lifetime people who despite their greatness seem so humble and simple and yet they leave a mark on us. They are almost God Himself.
Religion has nothing to do with the greatness or badness of a man. It is our intrinsic qualities that matter. We tend to confuse a “GREAT MAN” as being a “TRULY GREAT MAN.” There is huge difference between the two. When you approach a “great man” he makes you feel small while a “really great man” make you feel great.
Lord Rama is worshipped not because he was king or he overshadowed his subjects. He is LORD because he was humility personified. He could have questioned his father, like modern day sons, for daring to send the Crown Prince away to jungle. “Dasrath, tu kya pagal hogaya hai mujhe jangal bhej raha hain? A modern boy wonder would have said. Rama went with his wife to a jungle full of misery and untold sufferings and the ignominy of seeing his wife being kidnapped by Ravana.
Today for any Rama the jungle would not be a bad place at all with a hotel or a motel somewhere around and with Colour TV to boot to while away time watching World Cup.
Jesus, Moses, Rama and so many others were great because not because they flaunted their greatness but for being humble. And so was Mahatma Gandhi. Had Gandhi asked his followers, and there were plenty, to throw a stone at the British all the British left in India would have been buried under a hail of stones.
True Godliness comes from humbleness. Is it not true water collects only at the place which is at the lowest level? Where there is ego or arrogance godliness would be sent packing.