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How to Be a Friendly Physician: A Memoir

Hi,welcome to my Hubpages profile. I am Arun Kanti Chatterjee and live in Kolkata. My mission is to share experiences etched on my memory.

Jovial and helpful

It was a chilly wintry morning in Jalpaiguri, a district town in North Bengal. I was trying hard to solve an arithmetic problem for quite some time. Finding no one to help me in the matter at that moment I felt totally disappointed. Exasperated I then prepared to go to school and face severe rebuke from my teacher who had insisted the earlier day that we should complete the home work any how as the annual examination was around the corner. I had been already late and a sudden deafening shout downstairs caused my annoyance further as my mother was busy cooking and I had to walk down the long stairs to enquire. The voice transformed into a thunderous merriment as I was embraced warmly by a well built cheerful tall and lively person in his thirties ready to make an entry into our house with gifts tucked away in his motor cycle. Making the vehicle stand quickly he came with me whistling in joy to announce his arrival and before we could properly receive him he went straight to my study room to solve my problem easily assuring me a quick drive to my school to make up for the lost time.

An elephant roaming the roads


Turning over a new leaf in life

  • He was our uncle from my father's side. A bright student yet his lack of concern for his career combined with his ever increasing habits for aimless jaunts on the river Teesta and growing adventurism on a hunting spree caused huge anxiety for my father, a great academician. Being the prime mover of education of our family he sensed ominous signs for the otherwise intelligent brother. My father decided to let him go for medical education to offer him better scope to mend his wayward emotions and serve the common man after being established in life. The opportunity proved to be a boon for him as he changed his ways to devote his time to become a good physician although his craving for hunting and noisy mirth continued unabated.

Becoming a registered medical practitioner he soon received lucrative offers from the tea gardens which were then flourishing in our district. As a physician he would be engaged in the gardens and in the evening he would go on rounds visiting almost all households. As I often accompanied him in his cycle or motor bike the journey to the distant villages was very interesting with rows of trees dotting the two sides of the wide roads. Soon we would have to take jungle paths to reach the rural areas. Although I would start fearing in such a dark and desolate place, with such a bold and brave person at my side my initial fear paled into insignificance in no time and I began to learn how to face any adverse situation. Shedding ego, if any, he would thoroughly examine his patients who considered him like an angel next to God. Although he did not hold any high degree in his chosen profession but what he could claim to possess was enough empathy and care for his patients. He would not think twice to waive his paltry consultation fees or distribute the free sample medicines he would receive from the medical representatives.

Busy plucking tea leaves


Inimitable uncle and resplendent dooars

He would complete his round and come back to his residence quite late only to plan for the next day’s routine. Some time he would take us to the gardens showing lush green tea blooming with workwomen busy plucking the leaves deftly which they would store in the basket hanging on their backs. A few would even carry their children in such indigenous containers while doing such hectic jobs. I could know early how such leaves turned into flavoury tempting Darjeeling tea.

On the one side it was my inimitable uncle and on the other side matching him perfectly was the resplendent dooars the coveted travelling spot of our district. Although not a good writer my heart longed to reproduce the whole thing in black and white then and there. Now I venture into the realm to give vent to my feelings at that tender age. Perhaps a word or two about the enviable geography of the place is essential as the beauty of the region lies not only in its tea gardens but also in the dense jungles that make up the countryside. Many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are also located in the region.

Herds of elephants in Dooars


Paying tribute to an ideal physician

A number of rare endangered species of animals like tiger, rhinoceros and elephant make their habitat in the forests of Dooars. Other animals include different types of bison, deer, birds and reptiles. A railway line runs through the tea gardens amidst protected areas. Driving across the sinuous passages in the company of the sparkling river Teesta takes one to the gardens set in a seductive landscape amidst lush green sunkissed tea gardens of mystical dooars of North Bengal.

A very interesting story surrounding my uncle was when he returned home in the evening after a day’s hectic schedule he found to his utter surprise his wallet missing from the hip pocket. He could not even dream of even losing such a precious thing being very popular and respected physician of the locality. Normally a very cool and poised person he flew off the handle and armed with a revolver he took a bus in my accompaniment and reached a nearby road junction. He had been tipped off in the matter from some of his patients and relying on their hints he could catch hold of a young boy who pleaded guilty and ate humble pie in presence of a horde of people after returning the purse. I stood dumbfounded watching his immense popularity and bravery.

He would visit our house off and on in jalpaiguri town and would always bring Darjeeling flavoured tea which we heartily enjoyed. We had very precious moments in his joyous company with our neighbours of all ages as they poured in to see their favourite doctor uncle. The revered physician has long passed away but his memory still lingers and in these days when some doctors lack scruples and neglect their patients for the sake of money one cannot but remember such a popular physician as my uncle for his humane services to mankind.



ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 09, 2019:

Chandan Kumar Roy

Thank you very much for your visit and comments.

Chandan Kumar Roy on December 08, 2019:

Very nice, thanks for sending.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on June 05, 2019:

Prasenjit Sarkar

Thank you very much for reading the hub and leaving such nice comments.

Prasenjit Sarkar on June 02, 2019:

Thank you for sharing your memories with us. It’s really nice. Have a good day uncle.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on March 22, 2019:

Sanjib Talukder

Thank you very much for your visit and such nice comments which are encouraging. Have a nice weekend.

SanjibTalukder on March 22, 2019:

Your uncle was a genuine human lover as read out from your captioned Article which is absent nowadays so called Doctors. Nice story indeed.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on March 20, 2019:

Murtaza Jamali

I am glad that you have liked the write up. You might like to go through my short stories/essays numbering about 50 of which a few relate to tributes to my parents as well.Thank you and wish you all the best.

Murtaza jamali on March 20, 2019:

Really heart touching memories.. I found myself engaged all the way through it. The pictures shown here are alluring and story is exemplary and I could relate this memory to one of my town's doctor but unfortunately he too has passed away.

Last but not the least i am chandra's friend and project mate in tcs.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on March 17, 2019:

Nithya Venkat

Thank you very much for your comments which are very encouraging.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 17, 2019:

God has blessed you with such a wonderful, kind hearted, generous uncle. Thank you for sharing such amazing and fun recollections about your childhood, enjoyed reading. You made every moment come alive with your excellent narration.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 10, 2014:

Thank you very much for reading and leaving such appropriate comments. Have a great weekend ahead.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 10, 2014:

Wonderful recollections! Your uncle is like all physicians should be. When they take the Hippocratic Oath, it is done with a seriousness, with treatment and hope for recovery for all, whether or not they can afford to pay.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 08, 2014:

LadyFiddler- Roaming was a menace causing traffic disruption and loss of human lives. Now in view of vigilance of the forest department officials the incident is infrequent. Thank you for your visit and comments.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on July 08, 2014:

Nice story about your uncle. Do elephants really roam the road? so if a car is on the road what do you all do? because that's scary!

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 07, 2014:

Trisha Roberts-Thank you very much for your visit and I am glad you have liked the hub. Have a great weekend.

Trisha Roberts from Rensselaer, New York on July 07, 2014:

Beautiful tribute and I deeply enjoyed the beautiful pictures. Sounds like your Uncle was a very wonderful role model. Thank you for sharing!

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 05, 2014:

FlourishAnyway-Thanks for your visit and leaving such positive comments. Have a great weekend.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 05, 2014:

Nell Rose -Thank you very much for your visit and comments which are encouraging.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 04, 2014:

teaches12345-Sorry for the belated response. I always appreciate your visit and such apt comments. Have a great weekend.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 04, 2014:

This is a warm tribute with interesting details and photos. I enjoyed reading.

Nell Rose from England on July 03, 2014:

What a lovely story! And a great tribute to your uncle, who sounds amazing! as you said not many doctors would be like that today, and your photos were lovely too!

Dianna Mendez on July 03, 2014:

Your uncle was a remarkable person. You were blessed to have such a good role model. As you know. Empathy makes the doctor much more human and patients appreciate it.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 03, 2014:

travmaj- thanks so much, appreciate your visit. I'm glad you liked the tribute.

travmaj from australia on July 03, 2014:

It is indeed a lovely tribute to your uncle. Fascinating to hear of his waiving fees and making house visits so generously. How things change. The elephants roaming the roads, the tea leaf picking all add to this story. Thank you.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 02, 2014:

kj force-I appreciate your visit and comment on the hub. I am glad you enjoyed the write up.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 02, 2014:

annart -Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such nice comments.

kjforce from Florida on July 02, 2014:

ARUN KANTI...a lovely tribute to your uncle. It is ironic that you chose to write this article, as over the past 40 years, the Medical world has changed. Gone are the days of " interaction" between Dr and patient, due to scheduling of the " visit " ( time allotted each patient per Ins restrictions). Your memories of his time, appear to have had a positive influence on your life..Thanks for sharing...

Ann Carr from SW England on July 02, 2014:

What a lovely story and tribute to your uncle. You paint the picture well; I can see the places and people in my head. The joy of his visits comes across through your writing. Ann

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on July 01, 2014:

Devika-Thank you very much for your positive comments which are very encouraging.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 01, 2014:

Informative with lovely photos. Well-mentioned ideas.

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