Suddenly heavens opened up that evening. The Professor was totally unprepared. Rains were torrential and his consulting hours had just ended. He had just got ready to go home and the rains started to pour down in sheets. He waited for some time, his car-driver too was reluctant due to poor visibility and water-logging that was expected. Once the fury of the rains eased a bit the professor asked his car-driver “Shall we go?” Reluctantly the driver agreed. Hardly had they gone five minutes in the failing light that the old car went conk. Stranded in the middle of the road, without any umbrella to protect him from these unforeseen rains; he came out of the car briskly to take protection under the awning of a closed shop nearby. He was hoping to catch a taxi to be driven home. The fury of the rains intensified once again. He tried to call some numbers through his mobile but nothing seemed to be working. He was obviously distraught.
Always very upright, trained in England from where he got his FRCOG, he served a full-term at the local government Medical College before he retired as Professor and Head of the Obgyn department. He then started his own small consulting room in a rented premise admitting his patients in different hospitals.
Rains showed no respite and no taxi was stopping by. The professor watched helplessly as other private vehicles arrogantly passed by caring a damn for people around and splashing water all over. He had been stranded thus for an hour so. Suddenly a white Mercedes that had driven ahead screeched to a halt. It reversed and came close to where he stood. The owner in the backseat waited as his car-driver hurried with an umbrella to where the professor was standing. He said “Sir, please come with me. My master has requested you to come.” The professor was obviously confused. But with this being the best alternative available at that moment, he got under the cover and got into the car.
As he settled in the backseat and wiped his drenched face, he saw a well-dressed gentleman next to him. He was “the master” of the car-driver. He folded his hands to the Professor saying “Namaskaar, Sir”. The Professor responded appropriately but was completely confused about the identity of this Good Samaritan. He was about to tell his address to the driver when the owner said “The driver knows Sir. I have told him where you are to be taken. I will come to reach you home”. The Professor was all the more confused. He, however, remained silent and as some music started playing on the music system of the car he just closed his eyes. Too tired, he had no energy to think.
After about 20 minutes of the drive he heard the owner addressing him: “Sir, do you see that house there?” The Professor opened his eyes and immediately realized he was in one of the most affluent residential areas of the metropolis. On his way to work he passed through this area every day. The car had stopped and the rains too had ceased. “Sir I live there.” “You see the lights in there sir?” The Professor nodded. “Sir those lights are glittering because of you” This left him now completely perplexed. “Who are you, babu?” He asked most humbly. As the owner smiled he told his chauffeur to drive on the car to The Professor’s home. “I will see sir off”. He then turned to his professor to answer the question.
“Sir, I am Dr. Nripen Banerjee”. Oh! So this is Dr. Nripen Banerjee – the most famous cardiothoracic surgeon of his city – The Nripen Banerjee! So much had been heard about him, his fame, his surgical skills and what not. The Professor felt a little intimidated but he quickly regained his composure. “Hello!” he said folding his hands in a Namaskaar. Dr. Banerjee immediately caught hold of his hands and said “No sir, you are my teacher. You are not supposed to say Namaskaar to me. I owe you obeisance”.
As the car rolled on Dr. Banerjee explained: “Sir this is a story of more than three decades. I was a young lad – son of a priest from Bolpur. My father just managed to make his ends meet by performing rituals for people. I got admission in the medical college where you taught. But funds were a huge problem for me. Within a few months in medical college, my measly resources ran dry. My father used to visit me occasionally. But I knew that he was making up the smile on his face vainly trying to boost my morale. I knew he was trying but was not succeeding in getting help for me. Things came to a head when I had to buy my textbooks. Copies in the library were always scarce. The two pairs of clothes that my parents had got stitched anew were also wearing off as the new term began. Now I did not have money to even pay up my fees for the hostel and mess bill. At my wits end, I decided to call quits. I confided for the first time in my roommate, told him of my condition and that I would be leaving in a day or two.”
“Next evening as I returned to my hostel room completely helpless, disappointed and in tears, I got a huge shock. My entire wardrobe was full of decent looking pairs of new but not costly clothes. I suddenly felt a warmth within. Something good was happening. On my reading table lay neatly stacked new editions of my textbooks for that year. I saw under the base of the reading-lamp a wad of receipts of payments made for my college fees, hostel fees and mess bills all - outstanding as well as for the entire I MBBS course that was remaining. I was too stunned now to react. I just crashed in the chair and let the feeling sink in. Obviously, someone had silently helped me and saved my career. As I collected myself I ran in search of my room-mate. He was the only person who knew about my penury. He didn’t tell much. There is someone is all that he said. I can’t tell you the name. Every year your fees and living expenses will be paid till you complete your MBBS.”
|Disappointed and helpless|
“Sir, thanks to this critical support, I stuck on. I worked very hard and emerged consistently a topper in my class. I then after joined general surgery for my post-graduation and topped there too. But the fact that someone had silently saved my career and probably my life never left me. At the end of my post-graduation, I won a scholarship to do my super-specialization in cardiothoracic surgery abroad. Before I left I traced that erstwhile roommate of mine who was doing general practice in the city now. After a long plea, he revealed your name with a promise that I will not approach you to thank you. That he said was his stiff but strict condition. For decades, he said you would anonymously help students out of such crisis. You were that messiah who has saved so many”
|Glittering lights in a posh house|
“Sir I know this for nearly 25 years now. Today the lights that you saw in my house are your lights. You illuminated those decades ago and we live under their glitter, lest I would have left and gone to do priesthood in Bolpur. I even considered committing suicide – you saved me that day. But I have not forgotten you even for a moment. Sir, my wife and I have established a system which supports students like me anonymously without any obligation on the recipient. We do not tell this to anyone. You are the first one I am sharing this with”.