I had just started speaking to Dr Modi when an elderly monk entered his Ayurvedic clinic. He immediately stood up, offered him a seat, bowed to him with his hands joined and listened intently to what he had to say.
There is a different side to this from what most of us have read about. Abandonment of the elderly, elderly abuse, senicide. I recently visited Dr Uday Modi, in Bhayander, Maharashtra, who runs a small Ayurvedic clinic.
“There was a patient who used to visit me regularly. He came to me one day and as usual we got talking. While talking he welled up and started crying. I asked him what was troubling him and what he confided in me got me to start Shravan Tiffin Seva”, says Dr. Modi
There is a lot in common between the newly born and the old. The elderly man (his patient) told Dr. Modi,
“I have three sons, all of them are settled. None of them is ready to keep us. We used to make do with what we could, but now your aunt is paralyzed. She can’t walk, or change sides in her sleep, or even get up, let alone cook”.
Without a second’s thought, Uday asked him to stop crying and told him that food will be delivered from his own kitchen every day. He went home and told his wife what had happened. His wife immediately agreed but prompted Dr. Uday.
“This man has enlightened a path for us, that there might be others suffering through the same.”
Born and brought up in Amreli district of Saurashtra (Gujarat), Dr Modi says he’s blessed to have a wife who supported him every step of the way. More than that, there is a deeper sense of responsibility and set of values which he has imbibed as a child from his father.
“My father used to work in the post office and he used to make just enough. Still he managed to save money. This is 1987 I am talking about, there was a lot of construction work going on, with a lot of labours working barefoot. He used to buy slippers of different sizes and offer them (labourers) to pick their size. The happiness on their faces as they walked after wearing these slippers is what touched me”, he says thinking back of those times.
Dr Modi knew that his father couldn’t afford a lot of reference books, he made effective use of his time even as a young one. He used to borrow books from his friends when they weren’t using them, study all night from 11 to 7 and return them in the morning.
Shravan Tiffin Seva has been serving since 10 years now. Dr Uday isn’t just a healer, he has an artistic side to him. Even before he wanted to become a doctor, he dreamt of theatre, of acting. But he wasn’t able to see it through as a profession, but even that dream hasn’t died. Even today, he acts in plays and does TV serials apart from being a doctor, on his own terms. The money he earns from these helps him run Shravan Tiffin Seva.
He believes that he is following the will of Shravan Kumar to serve those in need. As we drew to a close walking back to his shop he tells me in a confused state,
“I still do not get how kids cannot serve their own parents, who nurtured them to make them independent, a part of the bread they earn, in the hour of need.”
Title Image Credits: Pixabay
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