The register says 59 patients came today. The last was Rakesh Kumar who didn’t know what to do first, touch Doctor Sahib’s feet or show him his pulse. It’s Dr. Madhukar Kapoor’s last Saturday at the cardiology department in
He tells Rakesh to continue his prescribed dosage for another week and to smile. Kumar can’t help but wipe a tear, everyone’s hearts are heavy here today and Jagdish, Dr. Kapoor’s peon is having a hard time trying to keep everyone out. Before he shuts the door as the doctor finally leaves his office, Jagdish surveys the empty chamber, “It’s very hard to see old doctors retire, especially ones as popular as Doctor Sahib.” His popularity is evident, a crowd of comprising close to a hundred people has gathered right outside the cardiology department. “This is the first time a government doctor has been given a farewell by his patients,” says Salim, an old patient of the doctor’s.
As one steps out of the department, an air of melancholy touches one. Octogenarians Badri Prasad Shukla and Yashoda Devi are sitting opposite the little stage that has been built for Dr. Kapoor’s farewell. Yashoda Devi has come from Pratapgarh with her son Captain Pramod to wish her doctor farewell, as the feeble old lady climbs the stage to garland Dr. Kapoor she breaks into tears and blesses him with all her heart. Badri Prasad ji says, “I have been his patient for twenty five years and he has saved my life” before he completes his sentence another patient Uma Shanker pitches in, “He has saved my life twice!” and then he points to a lady sitting in another corner, “that’s my wife Urmila Devi and that’s my son Manoj, they too had heart attacks and doctor sahib saved them!”
Manoj is sitting at Dr. Kapoor’s feet and the doctor is visibly moved and embarrassed by all the attention, he talks quietly to each patient as he hugs them.Uma Shanker continues loudly, in a husky voice “I went to doctor sahib in Barabanki, when he was posted there, I still have the prescription he wrote me!” and this was no less than four years ago. But he lightens up when he remembers, “When I used to get medicines from the counter, the compounders used to tease us because all three of us, my wife, my son and I had suffered heart attacks!” Numerous supporters and well wishers crowd around the doctor bidding him adieu, while others petition to the government to give him a two year extension.
Ashish, Dr. Kapoor’s son is overwhelmed with the affection of the people, he stands between the patients watching his father who’s eyes are now red from far. “My retirement does not mean I’m retiring from you, this is my karam bhoomi, I will come three days a week for two hours to give free consultations, this is my promise.” The crowd cheers him and he continues, “ I am only leaving the hospital, not my patients hearts”. Saying this, he shakes hands with the doctors who have gathered to invite him to Vigyan Bhavan, for his official farewell.
Even as he walks away from the cardiology department, his patients follow him. Ajrunisha watches him walk past as her sister Zeenat remembers vividly the day she was brought here. “Ajrunisha was dying, we took her to the emergency ward and they sent us here. Doctor sahib admitted her immediately and saved my sister’s life”. Zeenat too was treated by the doctor, both sisters who are observing their rozaas felt that it was “important to be here today, for our doctor”. Ajrunisha breaks down and says, “Doctor sahib dil se dekhte the mareezon ko… mohabbat se,” and showers blessings upon him with a heavy heart.
But it is the young intern Dr. Shahnawaz who claims that, “My master is Dr. MK Kapoor, I have learnt everything from him… everything I am is because of him”. He remembers how the doctor taught him to “follow his heart” while making tough decisions. “There was a patient in front me, he was dying and I had just passed out of my MBBS and joined here, I turned to Doctor Sahib but he just stood next to me and said do whatever you think is right, don’t worry I’m here,” reminisces the young man. He adds “The patient survived and I learnt one of the most important lessons in medicine and life from Dr. Kapoor that day, to trust myself and my instinct no matter what is happening around me.” He quickly catches up with the doctor and the patients watch as their doctor waves out to them one last time, reminding them to be strong in their hearts.
In the Express-- http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Goodbye-Dr-Madhukar/222798/