A Child’s “Thank You” [Human Story]




Medical college hospitals have some very interesting routines. One of them is The Grand Round. Though its structure and name may vary from one hospital to another, in the obgyn department where I worked it was on the day on which we had our minor OT. On this day surgeries which did not need major anesthesia were performed. The chief of the unit would take the round with all other junior consultants and all postgraduate students. It was a spectacle – the chief walking cot by cot surrounded by his entourage of his subordinates and nursing staff.

One fine morning in one such grand round, the chief stopped by a patient who had choriocarcinoma (a quick-growing form of cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus (womb). The abnormal cells start in the tissue that would normally become the placenta). Choriocarcinoma occurs in young subjects in their reproductive age. Thankfully it is very responsive to treatment. The subject in question was being administered chemotherapy (medicines for treating cancer). While the chief was being briefed about the medical details of the patient’s condition by his juniors an intriguing happening occurred. The small child of the patient in question climbed up her mother’s cot and started touching the chief’s spotless white apron with its dirty hands. 

Child reaching out


The chief looked at the child with loving eyes and patted its cheek. Both communicated with each other with no words spoken. The assistants however were not very happy. “How could this dirty and shabbily dressed kid touch and soil the apron of their boss?” It is said that the kettle is always warmer than the tea it holds. After the round was over two assistants walked up to the mother and instructed her to ensure that this is not repeated.  All seemed to have been forgotten till another grand round – a couple of days after.



Again the same spectacle recurred. While the chief was being briefed about the latest condition of the patient, the child climbed up its mother’s cot. It boldly reached its hand out to the chief and touched it. Prominent stains of dirt were seen on the spotless white apron where the child had reached the chief. Again the chief looked at the child with loving eyes and patted its cheek. Both communicated with each other with no words spoken. He talked a word or two of reassurance to its mother and moved on. But the juniors were now livid. As soon as the chief left the ward, all of them rushed to the patient reprimanding her for her child’s “misdemeanor”.

The week that followed saw the same spectacle – the grand round visit of the chief, the mother with an intravenous line of chemotherapy and the child climbing up her mother’s cot and reaching out to the chief soiling his spotless white apron. The chief as kindhearted and gentle as ever patted the child lovingly, smiled at the patient reassuringly and moved on. But this time he didn't leave the ward. As soon as he reached the gate of the ward, from the edge of his eyes he watched his juniors making an angry rush to the patient’s room. He quickly turned around and called all of them. What followed was something very tender.

The hospital being a government public hospital could not provide free cancer chemotherapy treatment. The patient in question was in no position to buy these drugs from her resources as she was financially challenged. The chief seemed to have sensed this. As he had done with many of his patients in the past, he anonymously arranged for the costly drugs from his personal resources. He had clearly instructed the chief-resident through whom the chemotherapy was arranged, not to reveal this to anybody. In his exuberance it seemed the chief resident had told the patient from where the money for her treatment had come. However other consultants and junior doctors were oblivious of this. Apparently the husband and wife were very thankful and had discussed their relief amongst each other in presence of this small child. Their child was sensitive enough to sense that it was the “big” doctor (the chief) who had done “something” for its mother. The happiness of the parents was sensed by the child. The brilliant chief had picked this up.

             
A sensitive heart

               The chief told his assistants and students, “When the child is trying to reach me and make some physical contact all that it is doing is telling a thank you. It doesn't have words. It is not erudite enough to speak. But it has a sensitive heart”. The child was making attempts to reach this man who gave happiness to its parents. Little did it know what that happiness was. It knew no language but the language of touch. So it was trying to touch the chief. “Her child is simply telling us Thank You. Just listen to the unspoken words of the child. Just feel the words in the touch of the child. It is saying….Thank you!”




Comments

  1. Excellent narration. We want more from you, Pankajbhai.

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    1. Thanks Kamalendu Da. Your encouragement will take me miles.

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  2. Dr. Sunil Parikh commented this on Facebook on this blog: Little children, even how little they are they know the tenderness and genuineness. Great story.

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    1. Sunil Parikh added this comment: May be the child liked the clean white coat. Doc sometimes our mind extrapolates many events positively. But the story has universal appeal.

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  3. I still remember sir how you used to offer payment for the drugs of poor patients who were not affording... this indeed had a lasting impression on me and not only the poor patients were blessed but we as well to work under such an inspiring leader. The small child in this incident must still be thanking you from somewhere ..

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  4. Really touching story.
    We had more of such caring consultants those days.
    Its definitely a lesson for our younger doctors to emulate.
    Do keep writing such great blogs, Pankaj.

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    1. Thanks a million Dr. Suresh Sundar. I am indeed touched by your kind encouragement.

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  5. Manobendra Roy commented this in Facebook on the blog: The child is the father of 'Man'...

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    1. Col Roy further commented: Your lucid style reminds me of "Malgudi Days"...RK Narayan...writer and illustrious brother of RK Laxman...didn't know in the morning that you'd be uploading Pankaj, was rushing then to take Dad for his periodic path lab tests...will remember next time

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  6. Ganesh Desai commented this in Facebook on this blog: Very nice & very humbling! Please keep sharing such noble stories!

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  7. Archana Tandon commented this on Facebook on this blog: Thank u ........... Dr for this nice share !!

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  8. Kirit Jadav wrote this couplet in Facebook on this blog: Dard ke sahre me koi barse maherba hoke....,,.......Ye dil bhi khilkhilake keh dega ' shukriya'......

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  9. Milind Sakhardande commented this on the blog in Facebook: Many Times Expressions Reach The Recipient Through Diifferent Senses,In Case They Cannot Be Delivered Through Speaking,This Is a Classical Example.

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  10. Poonam Khanna commeted this on the blog in Facebook: So nice of you to share it!

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  11. Mehul Panchal commented this on the blog in Facebook: Minor feeling need to be appreciated, in a busy schedule with lot of work this taste is lost in air. where the mind is clouded with so many obsession......great story

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  12. Akash Balar Patel commented this in Facebook on the blog: Touching,Indeed..

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  13. aditi pathak ‏@AditiIfraved tweeted this on the blog: आपने वाकई काबिलेतारीफ लिखा है। impressive narration. keep it up. will follow ur blog. all the best.

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  14. Shilpen Gondalia commented this on the blog in Facebook: Language(Spoken words),,,,are never enough to express feelings,,,,!
    Eyes can read eyes and Heart can feel Heart,,,,,!
    Same way Brain will Recognize brain,,!

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  15. Lalita Iyer Vaitheeswaran commented this on the blog in Facebook: Hats off to your story sir
    I am impressed by the heart to heart bonding between the chief and the child .The chief who to the students is someone strict and unapproachable has been won over by simple innocence.

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    1. Lalita Iyer Vaitheeswaran further commented: and this story also goes a lot in telling us our behavior in general......when a poor not so clean child approaches a "clean,tall,worthy" chief.....we all run to reprimand the poor....we are not able to take this fact that there can be no barriers where love is flourishing irrespective of a social status....

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  16. Raj Iyengar commented this on the blog in Facebook: Touching story sir...

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  17. Uma Manohar commented this on the blog in Facebook: Good afternoon Dr Pankaj great story very touching thanks for sharing with us i almost cried thanks again may god bless u.

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  18. Bhuvan Chaturvedi commented this on the blog in Facebook: Pankaj dear
    I have no words to express my feelings except to reach your hand for a touch .

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  19. Riddhi Desai commented this on the blog in Facebook: Wow amazing, could not control my tears, thanks for sharing Pankajbhai.

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  20. Pratosh Vashi commented in Facebook on this blog: Was indeed touching story

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  21. Chandan Baruah commented this on the blog in Facebook: very touching.

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  22. Manohar Kamat commented this in Facebook on this blog:
    In today's world of misery , frustration, inhuman attitude , such stories give us , teach us to do something different and better

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  23. Sudip Kumar Basu commented this in Facebook on this blog: Great story

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  24. ‏@B_W70 tweeted this on the blog: Simply Beautiful!

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  25. ‏@DrTahirZaidi tweeted this about the blog: Great Sir God bless u fr sharing this incident . We want more people who heal rather than Doctor (pun intended)

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  26. DrSudam Patil passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Great ! Big hearts always sense the sensitive hearts and this is your greatness Pankajji you made us to share this story. Thank u.

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  27. ‏@gaonwali01 tweeted this on the blog: Touching!

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  28. ‏@dubeymanisha1 tweeted this on the blog: Thanks for sharing. Great story

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  29. Kamal Merchant commented this on the blog in Facebook: heart warming...thanx for sharing

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  30. The kind of happiness this job of being a Doctor gives is immense and only a Doctor can hear things without words being spoken...

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  31. ‏@DrDamodhar tweeted this on the blog: Thanks for sharing Sir, simple stories tells big things...

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  32. Silvio Aladjem M.D. ‏@dr_silvio tweeted this on the blog: Thanks for the letting me know about this story. Quite touching.

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  33. I share Ganesh`s sentiments;please keep on doing the good work and sharing and inspiring all of us.

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    1. Thanks a million Bhartendu. Much encouraged.

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  34. Replies
    1. Thanks Kiran. That has encouraged me to no end. God Bless You.

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  35. language of emotions does not require words,,just expressions

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    1. Very well said Vipulbhai. Thanks for the appreciation

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  36. kiran kopariha ‏@KKopariha tweeted this on the blog: yup I liked it...it is full of emotions...........

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  37. Vasu Ritu Primlani ‏@greencomedian tweeted this on the blog: Yup. Made me cry.

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  38. Keerthi Kariappa ‏@Keerthi_AK tweeted this about this blog: That was a touching story doc. Thanks for sharing.

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  39. sundar ‏@Sundar140 tweeted this about the blog: WOW !! Speechless :)

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  40. Hema Aushat ‏@HemaAushat tweeted this on the blog: Indeed, the language of touch can be understood by the one who is aligned with the other's feeling. :-)

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  41. Kasturi ‏@Kashanand tweeted this on the blog: Lovely! Very touching!

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  42. Ketan Panchal ‏@KetPan tweeted this on the blog: A heart-warming anecdote that will make you smile. Please do read. :)

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  43. Gulzared ‏@gulzared tweeted this on the blog: Thanks to you for sharing such a nice post .. loved it

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  44. @MeghnaPant tweeted this on the blog: Thank you for sharing this deeply moving story, Dr Desai. Reminds me of my experience with these children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8fA-ZH0wMA …

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  45. Thanks for sharing. Let us make the world a better place to live.

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    1. Thanks Dr. Panchal for your kind appreciation

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  46. madhvi ‏@madhvi15 tweeted this on the blog:....well written

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  47. Paresh Chaudhary sent this email on the blog: Thank you sir for such wordless story.

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  48. Replies
    1. That was very encouraging Gunjan Puri. Thanks a million.

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  49. Boss your writing shows your Personality as whole. Salute to you,- Rajesh Shah

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  50. SlowCode ‏@occamrazr tweeted this about the blog: very touching, thanks for sharing.

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  51. Uma Manohar commented this on the blog in Facebook: I have read it n enjoyed it. People out there don't miss this golden opportunity....get it n start reading it.

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  52. Mukta Sharma had this to comment on the blog in Facebook: Absolutely amazing and touching !

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  53. Haresh Kapadiya passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Absolutely touching, the cheif also teaching more important lesson to learn in life to resident than only ob n gy

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  54. Renu Makwana passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Nice touching story

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  55. Marryam H Reshii ‏@reshii tweeted this on the blog: comes a validation that there still are good humans around

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  56. Nitin Lal commented this on the blog in Facebook: Excellent

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  57. Jayanta Bhowmick commented this on the blog in Facebook: As usual, very heart touching and excellent narration.

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  58. Manoj Ambwani commented this on the blog in Facebook: I lived through the true story - as if I was part of that grand round. Brought back memories of my own resident days. Pankajbhai you have written so well - my request to continue doing this more often. It touches your heart. Thank you...

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  59. Nirah Chawda commented this on the blog in Facebook: Classic!!

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  60. Sanjukta Sarkar emailed these comments on the blog: Very touching. Shows us how limited we are in our ability to be comprehensive in our understanding. We jump based on linear judgements, our half baked intellect is complemented by the ego so much so we lose out on feeling human touch.

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  61. Sair Mir ‏@sairmir tweeted this on the blog: Very well written, Sir.

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  62. Shama Hakim emailed these comments on the blog: Thank you for this story - may God grant that I too become as humane , caring & understanding. It is easier with children, but with adults. . . . God WILL help me.

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  63. Nidhi Sharma commented this in Facebook on the blog: Want more such wonderful stories from u Sir

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  64. Shashank Shringarpure emailed this on the blog: Thanks a lot Pankaj for sharing this one
    Indeed, it was nice to go thru this

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  65. Bindoo Desai emailed these comments on the blog: Great blog. Unspoken words by eyes tell you a lot.

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  66. Replies
    1. Thank you very much Rachana. I am much encouraged by your appreciation

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  67. twilightfairy ‏@twilightfairy tweeted this on the blog: Good going

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  68. Heart touching..!!
    So long as you can sweeten anothers pain, life is not in vain...

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    1. Thank you very much Chitra Muley for these very encouraging comments. I am touched

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    2. Sir,I made my daughter Rucha,read this story n she also loved it..!!
      one can not be sensitive to pleasure without being sensitive to pain..
      Thanx for sharing this story..

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  69. This blog has also been published in Garma Garam News: http://paper.li/Unsecure_Condom/1343376416

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  70. I am just coming back from a National Conference on Health Professions Education at Mumbai and I am reading this. I am happy that we are seeing so much about the affective domain that we need to incorporate while teaching our medical students. Once again I would love to use this story for teaching my undergraduate students for making them strong in the affective domain. And also Thank you Pankaj Sir, you continue to inspire us, as always. You are being missed at your alma matter!

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    1. Thank you so much Parag for your kind words, encouragement and appreciation. I am indebted to you for all your feelings and appreciation

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  71. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  72. Sir, very few people in this world who can understand or attempt to listen to the unspoken words..... but nice to know, they still exist! Children however teach us a million things, which we tend to forget as we grow up, only if we are attentive enough to them. :) Thanks for sharing this one... Binz

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    1. So nice of you for appreciating Binz. I am greatly encouraged. I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks. ~William Shakespeare

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  73. often touch speaks louder than words... also children do pick up on emotions faster than adults--they can sense who is true & helpful more aptly than adults often... a very bful way of describing it... sir u ought to compile ur experiences in a book :-)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I will be publishing a few more soon. Will let you know. So nice of you to have encouraged me.

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  74. Non verbal communication is more powerful than verbal.Medical students should be taught more about this.nice connecting with you Dr.pankaj

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    1. I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton. Thank you very much Vishwanathan. I am touched.

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  75. wow beautifully put forward the need for basic understanding ....

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    1. Thanks a million Shruti for your kind appreciation.
      How beautiful a day can be
      When kindness touches it!
      ~George Elliston

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  76. The Miniaturist ‏@zenpalette Tweeted this on the blog: Thanks for sharing this. *Truly moved*

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  77. Rasesh Solanki commented this on the blog in Facebook: What a vivid description! It was like watching a video through prose. It is indeed lamentable that teachers like you have left our Alma-mater. Nevertheless, you continue to inspire us by such touching and thought provoking anecdotes. We look forward to many more in the future.

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  78. Bruce Patel (Brahaspati Patel) passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: NO WORDS

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  79. Charu Rawat Mittal passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: A truly heart-warming story Sir, thank you for sharing!

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  80. Shivani Sachdev Gour passed this comment on this blog in Facebook: Its simply beautiful

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  81. Vijaya mehta ‏@mehta_vijaya tweeted this on the blog: Thanks loved it....you have a lucid readable style of writing...

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  82. Sarita Sukhija passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Simply heart touching story of reading a child's mind by a kind heart ....kindness is a language that even a child understands !!

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    1. Thanks Charu. that was very encouraging indeed

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  83. Truly a heart-warming story Sir!

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    1. Thanks Charu. that was very encouraging indeed

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  84. As Sant Dyaneshwar said --this is shabde vin sanvadu (To talk without words).This is very powerful sometimes.But for this you should have good heart.
    Dr.Desai , we have experience this quality in you. When we were in difficulty inUSA with our daughter in law's treatment and asked for your advise, you replied immedietely by mail and phone.We are very greatful for you for that.The world is beutiful because of such people.
    Thanks-- Dr.Dabaks

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  85. Neeta Dhabhai emailed this about the blog: Thank you for the beautiful story! For me it was a learning about children's sensitivity and their response!!

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  86. Kameswari Prasad Pappu commented this on the blog in Google+: Very touching indeed.

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  87. Meena Jain emailed this comment on the blog: Even a child appreciates the gratitude you do.Certainly God will appreciate also, in his own ways.

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  88. Replies
    1. Thanks Amit for your kind appreciation. i am much encouraged.

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  89. Dr.Rajendrasing Pardeshi emailed these comments on the blog: Really Touching. Lesson:We should feel, recognize the language as Doctor.

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  90. This moving narration greatly tells us what we are all missing in this money craving world. Thanks Desai ji for this reminder.
    Dr.S.Sampathkumari

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    1. Excellently put Dr. S. Sampathkumari. Your comments are very insightful. I am touched.

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  91. Anthony Varkey emailed this comment about the blog: Thank you very much. I am dealing with many such children every day. We are all human beings and they need us very much

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  92. Thank you Dr.pankaj for your beautiful narration.your students and patients are lucky . Please continue your good work . Dr.viswanathan

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    1. So nice of you for encouraging me. I am much obliged

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