1022 AND ALL THIS
(An autobiographical sketch)
Lakshmana Rao Ganti
Green Tel Media
I wouldn’t call this a book review in the conventional sense for more than one reason. The foremost being whenever I happened to consult Dr.Vinayaka Rao, who was always clad in a white pancha kacha and a loose banian, I would return with a feeling of well being. I noticed he not only possessed all the qualities required for a noble profession but practiced them in true letter and spirit. When I stumbled on this book written by his son, I was delighted to read passages written about his father which took me back to several decades when I came to Madras after my marriage. Dr. Vinayaka Rao was our family doctor and we would consult him even for a mere cold or slight fever. He would smile softly while feeling our pulse and dismiss our ‘ailment’ as something very trivial. Most times he would prescribe something very very mild and advise rest. “Can I have ghee with rice ?” I would would ask adding that it is not good for my weight. ‘You see, avakai and pachadi tastes good only if it is had with a little ghee’ he would say.
The second reason is unlike in a book review which has only one or two direct quotes of the author included, this piece of mine will have extensive reproductions from the text where the author talks about his father Dr.Ganti Vinayaka Rao, thus giving the reader a peep into his personality, his principles and the way he adhered to them till the end of his life with the help of a supportive wife.
“ My father Ganti Vinayaka Rao was born in kartika Bahula Tadiya, Novenber 8, 1903. After finishing High School in Rajamundry, he studied B.A.(chemistry) in Presidency College. He joined Madras Medical College after his B.A. and got his MBBS degree in 1928—-He got his DGO and later a post graduate degree M.D. in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1945.——-He was one of the early Telugu doctors with an MBBS degree and perhaps the first Telugu doctor with an M.D. in the whole of Madras city. He set up private practice in 1933 and continued his practice till his death in 1984.He did not submit a bill for his services in his long practice of more than fifty years. He did not receive any money from most of his patients, including most of the konaseema dravida families in Madras. So far as I know only two konaseema dravidas paid him on a regular basis for his services.” ‘He lived in full measure to Hippocrates Oath “with purity and holiness I will pass my life and practice my art’. …..Even when he came to know that people were exploiting his good nature he would not deviate from his resolution of not submitting a bill for treating the patients…..Nana would visit patients at their houses on his bicycle even though they did not pay any money.”
In the rest of the book Ganti describes his life both on and off work in India, Europe and the U.S. 1022 indicates the year his ancestors migrated to Rajamundry in Andhra Pradesh from Velangaman in Thanjavur district. The book is sure to create a nostalgia in many hailing from the above two regions and help to reconnect with the subsequent generations.
n.meera raghavendra rao