Monday, December 17, 2007

Chhatri !!!!!!

Literally Chhatri in Hindi would mean an umbrella . Well this blog is dedicated to our Anatomy teacher Dr. Chhatriwala , whom we lovingly , as well as out of fear and spite , used to address as just ' Chhatri ' . Last evening we felicitated him in our Grant Medical Alumni Club , Thane . The function was held at Yeoor hills on the beautifully maintained farm house of Dr. Pravin Gupte , a leading Pathologist and past student of our college

I reached the venue at 7.00 pm . A few doctors from the Managing Committee , the host Dr Gupte and the guest Dr Chhatriwala and his wife with their 2 grandchildren were relaxing in the bungalow of Dr. Gupte . I went up to introduce myself and was pleased when he got up to shake hands with me . Being from the 1971 batch , I asked him since when was he in our college Faculty to which he replied ' since 1963 to 1986 ' .
He was a demonstrator and an examiner for us in the Anatomy Dissection Hall and a professor of Surgery for post graduate students later on . His speciality was that of being a strict disciplinarian. He would expect all students to be clean shaven and in well polished shoes . He used to order students out of the hall if not shaven , at times paying 25 paise from his pocket to embarrass the student. Word used to spread like wildfire as soon as he was sighted climbing up the stairs. All used to say ' Chhatri aa raha hai ' or ' Ghengiz Khan is coming ' ---- he used to refer to himself as Ghengiz Khan . At times he used to move around with a toothed forceps , walking around the hall, his eyes inspecting the students faces and if found with a stubble held the skin at the elbow from behind and whisper in the ears ' Go shave and come '. Even with all this , he was respected and loved and as put by some speakers that day ' Sir has not only disciplined us but also taught us to be always presentable '.

I was told that when our committee members visited his house in Colaba to invite him for this felicitation , he was extremely happy and readily agreed to come. Anatomy is a subject which no undergraduate really likes --- it is dry and tedious , with all Latin terminology to mug up and recall----and so I presume that these teachers remain in the background memory of most of us. I was really pleased when I saw the invitation for this function and read that Dr Chhatriwala was to be felicitated . As clinicians we always remember teachers, who were part of our later years in college and dealing with patient oriented subjects .

' Sir , seeing you and interacting with you yesterday , was a very pleasing experience .We saw you after more than three decades . You have become so mild at this age of 75 years , you are totally different from those terror days . We will always remember you and we pray to God to give you a long and healthy life !!! '


Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Gaitonde,

I happened on to your blog about Chatri and Dr. Pannikar and realised that I was in the same class of 1971 GMCites! Aruna Patkar may jog your memory! I have been in US (Chicago area) since 1982, and just returned from a 2 week visit to Thane. You probably know my brother, Dr. Rajeev Patkar who is Orthopedic surgeon in Thane.

I am sorry to learn about your mother, please accept my condolences. I went thro' the same pain when my mother passed away in 2003. Time is the only thing that makes it easier.

I wish I knew about the felicitation of Chatri in Thane in Dec. I had the distinct previlage(though it seem that way at the time!)to be in his group of 20 some students for Anatomy dissection classes. Thank god we had Abban in our group, for he liked her a lot and picked on her to no end! The pictures brought back memories of waiting for him at 7AM, then he would show up only about half of the times to teach for about 15-20 minutes cause a lot of commotion and leave! However, he was such an excellent teacher that everything that he taught stayed at least till the exams. Few years later, when I was a resident anesthesiologist, I had the distinct pleasure to work with him in a different capacity. Oh, how different he was as a surgeon! Not only he treated all the OT staff with atmost respect and consideration he was also very kind and sympathetic to his patients. And of course with all his knowledge of Anatomy, he was a superb surgeon too!

Did you meet Vijay Pannikar? How is he doing? Few years ago, while visiting Thane, I read an article about Diabetes that he had written in Times of India. However, there was no contact information. I also remember Dr. Gabale.

I will try contacting you during my next visit to Thane. Until then I will look forward to the News about class of 1971 in your Blogs.

Aruna Dabholkar(Patkar)

Ajitbhai said...

Hi Aruna ,
Of course I remember you and am very thankful for reading my blog ,though I am not that regular in posting.I am closely associated with Rajeev and Hemangi and both have managed my patients wonderfully . I meet Vijay Pannikar quite often as I am doing a lot of work in Diabetes and attend his talks.Deven Gabale is also in the US and early last year he gave me a surprise call when he was in Mumbai.Do give your email id .