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What Humanity in true sense?
An anecdote from the life of Dr. Jagmohan Rao, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, India / Shared by a Scientist
My ancestral home is in Bhopal while I worked in Chennai. One day my father called and asked me to leave for home immediately as there was some very important work. After packing up my work and taking essentials for the journey, I hurriedly reached the railway station and tried to make an immediate reservation but due to summer vacations, not a single seat was available.
The Grand Trunk Express was standing on the platform and it was completely packed with no place to sit, but I had to reach home somehow. Without thinking much, I entered the general sleeper class coach standing before me. I thought, in such a rush, the ticket collector will also let it go.
I pushed myself through the crowd trying to find a place to sit and spotted a berth where a gentleman was lying down. I requested him to accommodate me on his seat, and he smilingly obliged, sitting up and saying, “It’s okay, you can sit here.”
I thanked him and sat down in the corner. After a while, the train left the station and picked up speed. In a few minutes, everyone settled down and had a place to sit, and soon people started eating whatever food they had brought with them. The whole coach was filled with the aroma of food. I looked at my co-traveller and thought, it was a good time to start a conversation! I introduced myself saying, "My name is Alok and I am a scientist at ~~~~. Today I had to go home urgently for some work, so I just climbed into the sleeper class coach, otherwise I would not travel in less than AC."
He smiled and said, "Wow! So a scientist is traveling with me. My name is Jagmohan Rao. I am going to Warangal. I have a house in a nearby village. I often go home on Saturdays."
With that he opened his bag and took out a tiffin box from it. "This is home cooked food, would you like to have some?" he offered.
I hesitantly refused and took out a sandwich out of my bag and started eating it.
Jagmohan Rao! This name sounded somewhat familiar, but I could not recall where I had heard it.
In some time, everyone had finished eating and was trying to get some rest. A family was seated on the berth opposite us; parents and their two adult children. They had also finished eating and were laying their beds to sleep. I crouched on the foot of the berth and started playing on my phone.
The train was moving at its full speed. Suddenly I saw that the 55-57 year old gentleman lying on the opposite berth was panting in agony on his berth and he had foam coming out of his mouth. His family also got up in panic and tried to give him water, but he was not in a position to say anything. I screamed for help, "Somebody call a doctor, it's an emergency."
But where was a doctor to be found in a sleeper coach at night? Seeing him in a helpless state, his family members started crying. Just then, Mr Jagmohan Rao, who was sleeping next to me, woke up and asked me, “What happened?”
I explained the situation to him. He immediately took out his suitcase from under the berth. As soon as he opened the suitcase, he took out a stethoscope, and placed it on the chest of the gentleman, listening for the heartbeat.
After a minute, lines of concern appeared on his face. He did not say anything but took out an injection from the suitcase, and injected it in the chest of the gentleman. Pressing his chest, he put his handkerchief over the patient’s mouth, and started breathing into his mouth. After giving CPR for a few minutes, I noticed that the patient’s pain had visibly reduced.
Jagmohan Rao took out some more medicines from his suitcase and said to the patient’s son, "Son, do not panic on hearing this. Your father has had a massive heart attack. His life was in danger before, but I have given him an injection and you give him these medicines.”
The son said in surprise, "But who are you?"
He said, "I am a doctor. I’ll write down his case history and prescription. You please get down at the next station, and take him to a good hospital."
He took out a letterpad from his bag and as soon as I read the heading on that letterpad, my memory came back to me.
It read - Dr Jagmohan Rao Cardiologist, Apollo Hospital Chennai.
Now I remembered that a few days back when I had taken my father to Apollo Hospital for a checkup, I had heard about Dr. Jagmohan Rao there. He was the most senior and exceptionally talented cardiologist in the hospital. It took months to get his appointment. I looked at him in amazement. Such a renowned doctor was travelling in the sleeper class. And me being just a small scientist – was talking proudly about travelling in the AC. Here he was, such a man of importance, behaving so normally!
With this, we reached the next stop. The suffering passenger and his family got off with the help of the T.T. and the medical help that had been called for his aid.
The train started moving again. I asked him out of curiosity, “Dear Doctor! You could easily be travelling in the AC coach, then why here in the sleeper?”
He smiled and said, "When I was young and lived in the village, I saw that there were no doctors available in the train, especially in the second class. That's why whenever I go home or travel anywhere, I only take the sleeper coach. One never knows when someone might need my help. The reason I studied medicine was to serve people like myself. What is the use of our education if we are not able to be of any help to anyone?"
After that, the journey passed in conversation with him. It was four in the morning when we started nearing Warangal.
He left and I enjoyed the rest of my journey basking in the fragrance that came from his seat. Here was seated a great man, who smiled and shared the pain of the people, and kindly served humanity with no pride for his name.
Now I understood how this fragrance spread despite such a crowd in the coach. It was the essence of that great personality and virtuous soul that had made both my life and my thoughts fragrant.
As we change, the times will also change.