Wednesday, July 19, 2023

DR. MANSUKH PARMAR (194x - 2023)

My father, Mansukhbhai Parmar (aka Pankam), passed away on 16th July, 2023 of a sudden cardiac failure.  He was, well, a little over 80 years old to the best of our knowledge.  Born in a small village called Kareli sometime in the 1940s at home, he did not have his birth recorded and therefore no birth certificate.  His official ID card shows him as 80 years old but he was closer to 83 years according to him.

He grew up in a rural village with no running water or electricity as the seventh of 8 siblings.  He happened to be exceptionally bright as a child and showed a proclivity for learning.  When it was deemed that he was of age to start school, he lined up with some kids from the village at the public school.  They asked him if he know his birth date or how old he was.  He said no.  The person determined that he looked like he was 5 or 6 years old and assigned April 3rd, 1943 as his birth date on the records and so it stayed.  We have always celebrated his birthday on this date.

Being naturally bright and inquisitive, he went on to be the first in his family to complete high school and then go to college and become a doctor.  I remember him telling us how he would do his homework under a streetlamp after dark and sometimes burn cow dung patties to study.   I hope that some of that perseverance and tenacity survives through the rest of the family.

After getting married to my mother during his medical studies, they settled down in Vadodara which remained the home-base even when he worked for the health system in different towns. Over the course of a lifelong profession in healthcare, he served countless patients as well as helped many friends and relatives in setting up their professional careers.

He had a passion for knowledge and was a voracious reader.  Not one to keep himself idle, he always maintained that he would continue to practice medicine as long as possible.  True to his nature, he saw patients up until the last week of his life.  Fortunately, he was able to avoid a prolonged illness, just as he had hoped for.  

Over the last several decades, I have been noticing how selfless a man my father was.  I can't remember the last time he asked me or my sister to get something for himself.  He always had suggestions to get something for my mother, our extended family and sometimes even patients.  At his funeral, talking to some of the attendees, I was awed by how many people he had helped and to such an extent.  He has been an inspiration to me to make an effort to be a better person and help others.

He leaves behind a grieving yet grateful family.  My sister and I have now lost both parents and are doing our best to cope ourselves while trying to console our families.  His three grandsons feel a huge gap in their lives without him, as do the rest of us.   His youngest grandson will miss his regular banter with him about who loved the other the most.  Above all, we miss having his smiling, ever-positive presence among us.  

Heartbroken as we are with his sudden departure, we cherish the time that he was with us and will love him forever.

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः