Even before I joined medical college ,in my preuniversity days when I was at Secretariat colony ,Kilpauk ,Chennai ,Dr Ali was our family doctor .
He was then an young surgeon in Kilpauk Medical College ,with a healthy practice in family medicine and I remember occasions when I was one of the patients who lined up in his waiting room with trivial complaints of a fever or a pain here or there ,
He probably was one of my many inspirations to become a doctor ,I longed to dismiss patients like him with a hearty laugh ,
but behind this his keen clinical acumen never ever missed anything and he would arrive at the diagnosis unerringly .
and then the day came when I too got into medical college and that too in the very same medical college where he was the teacher the Kilpauk Medical college Chennai .
He had a soft corner for me then as he knew I was a father less boy staying with my mother .
In college I came to know more of Dr.Ali ,he was far from a humble general practioner we thought he was ,he was a surgeon known for his excellence and a great teacher .
It was only from our third year when we had our clinical postings that we started attending
Dr Alis classes ,huge crowds of students flocked to listen in his OP days ,
here too he was brilliant in teaching with excemplary skill and in a very intresting manner ,he was quick ,agile and smart in all his actions .
One never missed an occasion to be in the theatre when he operated as his skills were superb and a delight to watch ,cracking jokes he would go about the most complicated ones with practised ease ,
so time flew ,and I had the luck to be in his unit for surgical postings in my internship too ,at these times he would occasionaly take me home in his car enquiring about me and my mother on the way .
On call days we usually had a makeshift dinner in the unit with one of us bringing dinner for all and we used to have fun late in the night over the exotic fare .
Once it was the turn of my friend who today is a leading surgeon owning his own hospital in the south of India , 'J' i would call him was a hostelite those days and had arranged for an excellent biriyani prepared specially by his hostel mess ,it was all ready and we were all waiting with bated breath in the small room waiting to begin ,
Dr Ali came and sternly looked at' J ' and said ," I find you didnt do the postoperative dressing for that patient in bed three "
'J ' trembeled ,he hadnt ,he had forgotten it in the confusion of arranging food .
Dr Ali was all fun except when it came to shirking your work and then he was a terror ,
"You go now and do it ,we shall wait for you ",
poor J ran and came back after his job and then it was Dr Ali back to his happy self .
Once my internship was over he called me and said " Hari you look after my clinic for a few days as Iam going out of station ,and also ,do give insulin injections to my mother everyday ",
a budding me was wary of the big responsibility then ,and I hesistated
Well that was the trust he bestowed on me ,
It was Dr Ali who made me take up radiotherapy ,he told me oncology is a good field and you could go into that ,somehow whatever he told I felt was sacrosanct and I have never regretted the descision till day .
Dr Ali never stopped studying as he rose up ,he joined for Mch gastrosurgery at an age any other senior consultant in his position would have laid back and enjoyed life ,he did it in Madras medical college at the same time I did my DMRT and came out in flying colours which was expected with his skills and experience and immense academic knowledge .
The best part of him like all great persons was , how he could relate to every patient rich or poor ,old or young and we all had a lot to learn from him .
I moved to Kochi in kerala but kept him abreast of all the happenings in my life good and bad ,to me he was always a mentor .
Dr Ali rose to become Director of Gastroenterology Dept in MMC a coveted post before he retired .
I went to meet him in Chennai recently before I came to UAE to get his blessings ,and he was still the same jolly person with a warm smile on his face ,he was in Mehta hospital in his chambers and he welcomed me profusely ,he was as active in his profession as ever .
Today he keeps in touch with many of his students with his enlivening e mails and forwards ,
Dr Ali never ages he becomes younger at heart and mind day by day and keeps others too the same with his positive attitude .
May I wish him and his family long years of prosperity and health .