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Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Father's birthday.

I called him early this morning to wish him. My father, as usual, is working. He is a simple man who is totally committed to his work.

Today, he is conducting his weekly Sunday medical aid visits to far off islands around Kochi. He has to travel by a boat and then take a ferry to reach these islands. With a team of like minded, highly committed doctors and pharmacists, he spends his birthday helping and healing many neglected and sick people who have no access to doctors, hospitals or medicines.  The expenses are borne by him and this team. He has been doing this for more than twelve years. 

Today, too, though it is his birthday, he is with them. There is no cake, no celebration, nothing to felicitate the remarkable man that he is. But his life is his message. There is no artifice to him. He is as simple and humble as a person can be. He doesn't like any kind of ostentation. He believes in simplicity, like a religion or something. He takes it very seriously. And the only time you will find my dad in a 'party' or 'celebration mode' is when his daughters are with him. Otherwise, he withdraws into his world of work.

I remember an occasion, an inauguration of a project for mentally handicapped children with which my father is closely associated. The occasion had Dr. K.J. Yeshudas inaugurating it. The doctor in charge introduced the great singer to every one and to my father, as well, who stood in the background, never wanting to catch the limelight in anyway.

Suddenly. Dr. KJ Yeshudas exclaimed to the doctor who was introducing them, "Hey, you are introducing me to my friend who studied in the same school with me? I have eaten from his place more than my own. His sister, Shantha teacher is my favorite teacher and almost like my mother."

Then he said, to Dad,  "Raghu, its been so long since we met, let me talk with you and I want to meet Shantha teacher now."

The doctors there were so surprised because Dad had never told anyone that he knew the singer since childhood.
But you know what? That's one of the reasons why I adore my dad, as do so many people. He never tries to hog the limelight. In fact, he hates any kind of unnecessary attention on himself.

When we decided to go on the Dubai trip, a Muslim patient came home in distress - a young lady in purdah - and she said to us, "If Doctor goes, whom do we have for our children when they are sick? We have no one if Doctor goes." That trust, that love - it cannot be bought with money. It comes from the heart.

The first time one of my articles was published, I was one proud teenager. While my dad read it and said, wistfully, "I feel so happy to see your name in print and that my name is next to yours. Of course, it will change with time."

I told Dad right there, "My name will never change with time, I will always have your name next to mine no matter what." I've kept my word to him.

It makes me proud to be Swapna Raghu. The truth is that without his name next to mine, I would never be me.  I'd not be existing.

Happy Birthday, Dr. C.R. Raghu! I love you.


Happy B'day to him..

Nice to know that he was proud of u seeing ur name and his name next to urs..

Keep giving happy smiles to ur dad..
Umesh said…
Hi Swapna,
First of all congratulations and greetings to you on the occasion of your fathers birthday.
You do have an excellent style of writing blogs,and specially this one, for after reading this,I have been able to get a crystal clear picture of your fathers life story.
It's really commendable of your fathers part to be doing the social service on the most imp day in his life.

Next time when I have to think of an example for the term "magnanimous", it will definitely be your father,respected Dr Raghu.
Sonia said…
Beautiful post ... says a lot about the person that your dad is, and also about how much you love him.

I wish him good health.
Rohini Prasanth said…
lovely sweet post! Please convey our wishes to your father too. he is truly an inspiration for our generation.
R's Mom said…
Happy Bday uncle (though belated) Wishing you so much and all in sure you are proud of your daughter :)
Iceman said…
Your dad is a good man!
Sreedhar said…
Nice post. Pls convey my wishes you to your dad. I am inspired by the work your dad has accomplished. I wish him good health and success.
My dearest friends, My father has been an inspiration for a lot of people, young and old. Through this post, I feel fortunate that he has been able to inspire you all. Your good wishes, kind thoughts and warm regards - that means everything to me in my endeavor to pray for my father's happiness and health.

Thank you is too short a word to convey how deeply indebted I feel but it is the nearest that comes to conveying my gratitude so - thank you, dear friends.
weourlife said…
Belated Happy Birthday to your Dad.

I came here from R's Mom, your name attracted me, my sisters name is same as yours.

I loved few posts you have written.And its great to know you have traveled a lot too. I too love the African land and I have written few posts in my blog. Here is one of them

I will come back and read rest of your blog..
@weourlife - thank you for visiting my blog, gr8 to know that you were in Africa too. I will definitely read your post and comment. Hope you will visit again. See you!

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