Here's another incident that I cannot forget. A young man walked into my chamber with his wife who had a hearing complaint. I noticed that woman's right arm was missing. I wondered: had her handicap been kept a secret from the man prior to the wedding or did she have an accident after marriage? The man told me that he had married the girl knowing full well that she had only one arm. He further added that two friends of his had also married disabled women, one who was blind and another who had been afflicted with polio. These three youths had taken a vow in their college days that they would marry only handicapped women. I wished all of them well and to this couple I gave my professional services free.

An infant was brought from the interior of Rajasthan to the Udaipur Medical College Hospital with gash wounds on its buttocks. The child was helpless; it had neither arms nor legs. It had been bitten by a wolf at night. The child was admitted to the care of one Dr Sharma, a surgeon of great local repute. Dr Sharma looked after the child well and it recovered. But the peasant parents who had brought the child to the hospital had absconded. No orphanage was willing to accept the child. The nurses and the doctors continued to care for the child for months but the time came when the hospital authorities had to decide on the child's future. Ultimately Dr Sharma took the child to his own home where his wife looked after it with maternal solicitude. As the child grew up, it was fitted with artificial limbs and hands. The child grew into an adult and by then he had been rehabilitated so well that he could move around on his own on a cycle! He turned into a useful citizen.

On one of my visits to Udaipur, Dr Sharma took me to the school he had started for deaf children. There were about a hundred deaf children in the school. I wondered aloud what made the doctor go into social service. He told me his story. One fine morning, he said, Mrs Sharma went to the door to collect her milk bottle. To her shock she found a tiny infant abandoned at the doorstep, neatly wrapped! It was hardly three months old! The city police were reluctant to take the child away, so the Sharma couple had no alternative but to adopt the child. As the child grew, they found that it was both deaf and dumb. The Sharmas felt that God had entrusted the child to their care and they should do all they can for it. They felt that it was their duty further to take care of more deaf and dumb children. Hence the school. It is a long time since I visited the Sharmas  but I understand that  the school they set up is now housed in its own A has a complement of about 300 students.

One day parents brought to my clinic their newly married daughter. Since she was deaf her husband had sent her back to her parents’ home. On  examining her, I found that she had correctible deafness which was successfully treated by surgery. Her hearing improved tremendously. However, the was not willing to accept her inspite of my assurances that her had been largely restored. My pleas fell on 'deaf' ears. I learnt that he  was working at Mazagaon Docks and I contacted the union leader who happened to be my friend. I explained the matter to him. He found that the man concerned was having a quiet affair in his office with another lady. She was transferred and the young man was read the riot act. He came round and took his wife back. The things that a doctor sometimes had do!

A young couple entered my office. They were highly educated and were engaged to be married. However the girl was reluctant to marry as she was suffering from deafness. She insisted on getting it treated first before entering into matrimony. I was in a dilemma. The deafness was correctable. But there was an off-chance that as a result of surgery, the hearing could be damaged permanently. So I suggested that the couple should get married first and come to me after their honeymoon. After a lot of convincing, the girl agreed. I operated on her subsequently and her hearing showed great improvement. But some time later, the couple came back to me and the girl said she was not at all happy with the result. But the hearing tests, as well as people around her vouched fully for her tremendous improvement. I met the husband alone to gauge what the problem was. He told me that his wife was not willing to consummate the marriage. In my conversation with her I found that she was very well-informed about her disease, Otosclerosis -

one of her friends was a medical student and had  provided her with literature on the subject from the college library! The disease is supposed to aggravate in pregnancy and so she

was reluctant to have sex relations with her husband. I convinced her this was not a proven fact. I succeeded in dispelling her fears and today the couple has two lovely children. I recount this incident merely to prove that we doctors do not stop with treating the physical complaint.