KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Dr. Rajan Kapoor has been a highly respected eye surgeon all his professional life, and now that he is in his late 70s, he has cut back quite a bit on his work at Bombay Hospital. He still manages to go in to his clinic most weekdays, if only to keep up the routine he has established for himself. For countless years, his house was a hive of buzzing females; filled with the energy of his own four daughters and his two nieces that were welcomed into the home when their mother died at a young age.
With more time on his hands now that he is seldom in surgery, he has taken on some volunteer projects and one of them is a newly opened clinic in a small-town north of Mumbai. When we learned that he was travelling to examine several patients, and that his wife was going along, we gladly accepted their invitation to get out of the city for the day and keep them company on the drive.
We arrived to a wonderful lunch prepared by the nurses that run the clinic and while the doctor visited with the patients, we followed his wife Kusum to a nearby Hindu temple. We expected it to be quite rundown and unkempt, but to our surprise it had recently been painted and was in a splendid condition. We poked into every little nook and cranny, admiring the various gods and goddesses. I had a great time snapping photos, everything was so colourful and the bright sunlight made the colours appear even more striking.
Even from as far off as the temple, we could hear the wailing of a young boy who was cross-eyed. He was terrified at the sight of the doctor and made his fear known to all who could hear him. We took our time walking around the exterior walls of the temple, watching a group of young boys playing a pick-up game of cricket. By the time we arrived back at the Eye Hospital, the young lad was fast asleep on his mother’s shawl, spread in the shade of a huge tree in the courtyard.
We stopped at a roadside restaurant on the way back to the city, and delighted in watching busloads of school children arrive to visit a neighbouring waterpark. It was all I could do to keep from running to join them. I felt hot and parched as well and the hot tea only went so far to refresh me. When we reached home, there was a message on the answering machine asking Dr. Kapoor to return the following Saturday, the nurses had lined up even more patients for him to examine. There’s no shortage of people in need.