When I take my pen to write something about the person who has made me what I am today, a flood of thoughts come to mind. I suddenly realize my helplessness, as I am not able to give words to all those feelings. I am talking about par excellent humane being, a great teacher & passionate doctor & gentle caring friend & spiritual soul…. My guide Prof. Dir. Dr. K. C. Mohanty
I recollect my first meeting with him. After finishing my official formalities, I joined JJ hospital chest & TB department as the lecturer, as a part of my under graduate bond.. I went to meet my boss, under whom I was going to work for one full year. I had a lot of apprehensions in mind as I walked towards his cabin. How would a person of international repute look like? Will I need an appointment to see him? Will he even look at me? And my mind started making plans to impress him in my very first meeting with him. But what I found there was absolutely opposite to what I thought. To my surprise I find Prof. Dir K C Mohanty sitting in a simple chair, in front of the simple table, in general OPD at J J Hospital, with no separate cabin for himself. He was having lunch while seeing general patients along with entertaining a big queue of VVIP patients of Government medical college. I can not forget that smiling face giving equal love & care to both group of patients & teaching students at the same time. That was my first opportunity to see multi tasking being done so efficiently. He was in his black jodhpuri suit with three golden pens in his pocket. I got introduced to him for the first time… totally speech less. Lying in front of him was his 22 paged resume that he took out for some conference. And by then I was feeling breathless also….
I introduced myself & sat in front of him. He offered me lunch from his lunch box & I shared a roti with him. He realized that I was eyeing his resume & he asked me what I was looking at & I promptly said … I sir want to rise to this. He blessed me & warned me at the same time by explaining to me that it requires a lot of sacrifice on all fronts. One has to sacrifice his clinical practice at times, his family life & social life to a certain extent. How true!! I realize now.
I started working with him & soon in about three months time could earn his confidence in me. He gave totally free hand in managing OPD & wards. Also he gave the charge of bronchoscopy department also. And I could do almost 200 scopies during my tenure as a lecturer under him.
Three months later, March 1998, NACCON 1998 was going to be held at Indore. We had sent three papers there from our department & all were accepted. I was to go to attend the conference along with sir. I got married on 1st march & planned my honeymoon after the conference. Sir could not make it on day 1 of the conference where he was to chair a session and he informed the organizers that he has deputed me to do his duties at the conference. To my surprise I was invited to chair session on day 1 of a national conference, absolute pre inauguration session with Dr. V K Arora & Dr Rajkunar on my both sides. I was scared to the core. My first national conference as a delegate & I find myself on the stage on very first day charring a session. What an experience !! I presented three papers at the conference & got my first experience to stand on the national platform.
Six months after my joining he asked me to prepare a lecture on Asthma for him. I was so happy & I started working on it. After full 4 days hard work I made some 70 slides covering all aspects of asthma including recent definitions, clinical phenotypes, investigations, pathology, patho physiology & management with recent GINA updates. We did not have computer access & I made it at my friend’s house & was really pleased with myself. Sir went through each slide in great details & appreciated the hard work. Very gently he said he would delete a few slides as it was not needed for that programme & then slowly he cancelled almost 55 slides leaving only 15 slides behind. And gave me first lesion of my life “Always before any talk, find out the audience & there expectations. Give what your audience demands from you & not what you want them to know”. I then realized the talk was at Ramazzini Research Institute of medical sciences for senior practicing physicians & family practitioners. Sir was of the opinion that to that audience the recent concepts of pathology & pathophysiology was not required. Rather practical issue with treatment would be more appropriate which was completely missing in my presentation. 4 days before the presentation he wrote the letter to organizers about his inability to be present there but reassured that our departmental work will be represented by the lecturer. It was like sky falling on me. I remember I could not sleep for three nights. I stood in front of the mirror practicing to deliver a talk to senior physicians of neighboring city. It was 30th August 1998 & I still very distinctly remember the day I gave my first presentation at any CME all by myself. It was a major success and my joy knew no bounds then. I called him up from there and spoke to him for almost 30 minutes over cell phone ( those days it was Rs 18 / per minute ) and I could realize he was satisfied with my presentation.
I had limited experience of managing tuberculosis at Sion hospital. We would shift all admitted patients at Sewree T B hospital & we did not have any posting there. So I was not confident of managing TB even after finishing my post graduation. On the very second week after joining J J Hospital sir took me with him to Muslim ambulance. I can not forget that day. 250 patients in 90 minutes. All TB patients. Then I was made to look after that TB OPD for next 6 months & I got my first hand experience of managing TB there.
Lecture at Pandharpur in February 1999 was another experience. It was a CME programme organized by Sholapur IMA. It was I think mahashivratri night & due to some VIP gathering that day, our hall for the programme was given to some local political party function & organizer were really worried as what to do with person like Dr. Mohanty already in town. I could get a glimpse of his great organizational skill that day. He, without a bit of hesitation, went to the near by Dharamsala him self & in a big room he asked the organizers to set up the screen & he adjusted that slide projector that day & we gave talk on asthma that day to almost 80 doctors there. He taught me to talk in the worst possible scenario.
December 1998 at Bhuvneshwar at the national conference of Tb association of India 53rd Conference, when I presented our departmental work in the field of therapeutic bronchoscopy, I was honored with the young scientist award. Since then I got innumerable opportunities to deliver guest lectures at various national and international conference. I used to get worried initially when he would ask me to join him for any conference as I was new to practice & had not settled down till then in private practice. I had a fear of loosing patients. He told me not to worry & assured me that I will not loose anything but shall gain something for sure. He taught me another lesion that day – he said by being here you may be able to help 20 or 25 patients that day but by going for CME programmes & teaching activities you are able to help many more patients. Doctors who get benefitted by your CME programme if start treating their patients better, that credit will help you eventually. I was invited by Mr. Geong Apang, the then CM of Arunachal Pradesh to be the state guest where a charted helicopter was sent at Gauhati for me to reach Itanagar and CM himself greeted me at the airport… I got opportunity to address the entire north east regional conference that time. Two years ago Mr. Dorjee Khandu the then CM invited us again for the second regional update at Tavang at 12,500 feet high from sea level & got the experience of my life. Today after 11 years of his blessings I have the honor of delivering almost 300 guest lectures at various conferences & have been awarded a few fellowships. Needless to say the full credit for this goes to him.
He has given count less opportunities to all his students & I am the luckiest to get the most of them. I have witnessed his multifaceted personality time and again. I remember during our recent Regional Conference of North East India he was suddenly asked to talk in Hindi as CM & A lot of political people were also present at the conference during the inauguration & he spoke so well in Hindi making the whole event lively. I got to learn not only to eliver a guest lecture but also to organize a conference, CME or work shop. Now we have organized more than 50 conferences and CMEs. Also I have given than more than 300 guest lectures & the full credit for the same goes to my teacher Prof. Mohanty.
It was 31st March 1993 when he got chest pain at his clinic at Nagpada. He chose to go to J J Hospital, went to cardiology department & on ECG was found to have ischemic episode. He arrested at 3 pm where on records he had flat ECG for more than 4 minutes & his heart started pumping after that again. He had this beautiful near death experience where lord Vishnu greeted with open arms & took him to sky where he merged with deep blue & got the glimpse of ultimate peace. He was discharged on 16th Day & his coronary angiography was done after three months in July 1993. Every body was sure that he would have triple vessel disease & would need by pass surgery. To everybody’s surprise his angio was completely normal. Dr Lekha Pathak repeated his angio thrice in the same sitting with same results. Completely normal angio with documented straight line & LVEF of 18 %. He has tremendous faith in Saibaba & had a guru by the name of Pasi baba. It is said that Pasi baba exchanged his heart for him. Pasi baba died three months after sir’s normal angiography due to heart attack, where he did not have any metabolic disorder or cardiac disease. Sir firmly believes that the current life is extension of his destined life due to Baba’s blessings & has not felt the need of getting any regular check ups done. I am aware that he has not got a single ECG done since than. He always mentions that it is god that has given him extension & he would continue to live till God wishes. What a contrast !! A man of science going by so much of faith in God!! He always said there is a very narrow line between miracles & co incidence. One may interpret the either way!!
I have also witnessed a lot of such events & I have also inherited his tremendous faith in sai baba. Be it real Sai darshan at Shirdi or me getting opportunity to be in front of Shirdi saibaba idol at the temple for more than 45 minutes. Be it my picture inside the temple with baba or be it help that he provided during our recent trip to Kodai canal, I have started believing in him.
Apart from being a par excellent teacher & doctor he is a true environmentalist also. He is the founder of this organization called environmental medical association. Where he has undertaken variety of activities and has compelled the government to make the necessary changes in system. Greening of roads, stoppage of use of kerosene in auto rickshow, issues of Deonar dumping ground are a few of the activities done under his guidance. He successfully managed plantation at a barrel land of Karjat that he bought some 15 years ago. Bore well also failed there that time. I am aware that he used to get water from Ulhasnagar by tanker there and introduced mataka Irrigation that time in 1992. The concept was adopted the very next year 1993 by government of India. He has now grown more than 3000 teak tree there applying his medical knowledge with common sense. Now the Parthraj Village gets the maximum water every year. Encourage d by him a lot of villagers of neighborhood also started plantation. It leads to deforestation which led to rise of underwater table level. Without any personal benefit he constructed a huge tank to preserve water by spending Rs 75,000 in 1996 to help farmers. Villagers are extra happy now, as they have realized that they can now get bore well water from the area near tank which was undreamable before.
In the same village he bought about an acre of land & to everybody’s surprise it has a swayambhu Maruti idol about 400 years old. He decided to make a temple complex there. With no contractor, with no architect & with out any engineer he with the help of the villagers constructed a huge temple complex at the base of Bhimashankar temple route from karjat. He spend days together there. He called the villagers & asked for KAR SEVA means every body will provide help and in return will get meal for the day. Today that complex has a swayambho hanuman temple, Nave Graha temple, van durga mata, bho Bhimashankar & a community hall along with Sai temple. Every day all visitors of the temple take Prasad at the temple. On Sundays there is maha pooja & on average 200 to 400 people have their food at the temple. I have witnessed the conceptualization to execution of the temple & beautiful management of the same. Students of near by schools, villagers come there regularly & participate in pooja there. Regularly programmes like health check ups, festival celebrations, maha Prasad & distribution of scholarships, uniforms etc are conducted. He has made total 14 temples & one dargah of Pasi baba which includes temples at J J hospital campus, Bhandup & Mulund.
He has believed in all religion alike. He was very close to late Dadi Prakash maniji of Bramhakumari & satya Sai baba. Also he had intimate relations with many Jain muni & swami narayan saints. He has to his credit the pleasure of visiting all 12 jyotirlinga, 4 dham, 12 mata & all Buddhist shrines. He has visited almost all Muslim shrines and most of the Jain temples.
All his students are now heads of departments & he always takes pride in saying that he has great grand children as lectures & associate professors at various medical colleges.
He has vast knowledge from tea to aero planes, from economics to politics, from spirituality to science. Once he explained me the difference between Darjeeling tea & Assam tea. I remember him talking to me for an hour about mechanism of air engine & differences in different craft models. He has given rational explanation of new scientific theory. And answered to my satisfaction all my funny arguments on existence of God & miracles.
I am lucky to be very close to him & values that I got to learn from him & virtues that I automatically inherited from him with out any efforts by just mere alliance are my real treasures!!
May all students get a teacher like him.
Dr. Agam Vora & Dr. Salil Bendre (Dr. Mohanty’s Students)