A new year has begun and its time to write about passions other than mine, about lives lived deeply and sincerely in their own realm and about people who make the choice to take up a cause for helping others.
I share a video which is, in many ways, a small token of the culmination of a dear friend’s mission in life. Years ago, when organ donation was the stuff of melodramatic movies and no one even thought about it in India, a dear friend was working in Britain and honing his skills in his chosen speciality. While undergoing training on organ donation from brain dead patients, something which was already a normal procedure in many developed countries, he realised that India is so, so far behind in this aspect of living and donating and saving live
The years have brought many a change in his life, but the organ donation mission has continued to fuel his ambitions, career choices and actions. He has been working steadily and silently ( sometimes) on making organ donation a topic of conversation, of change, or empowerment, or healing and of good civic sensibilities. From roping in celebrities to donate organs, pushing to make every occasion a place to position organ donation, making medicos aware of this possibility and sharing this option with families of brain-dead patients….he has done it all. More than 10 years have passed and today, Dr Avnish Seth has quietly pushed organ donation into TV channels, newspapers, civil society organisations and every other place in-between.
During our reunion 2 years ago, he had us all pledging our organs and getting our donation cards placed in our wallets. It is his singular passion which protected him from the ire of some merry-makers who felt that reunions were only for eating, chatting and having fun!
In a particularly poignant incident, when his strongest supporter, his wife, lost her mother to a sudden brain affliction, his daughter talked to her broken grandfather and got the consent for donating the organs of her grandmother. Weeks later, he took his grieving wife to a ward where a patient slept with a catheter bag hanging from the side of the bed. The clear urine in the bag was from the donated kidney of his deceased mother in law.
Sometimes, we have a chat on a rare morning when I am leaning on my forest balcony and watching jewel-red minivets flitting from one pine branch to another. Avnish is commuting to his hospital for the morning ward rounds, stuck in a grey traffic jam on some peripheral Delhi wide road. Both of us talk animatedly and happily… His conversation is all about the latest attempt at organ-donation-sensitisation and I can hear the contentment and joy threading his words together. I talk about my quiet day and the blue skies and he can hear the contentment and joy threading my words too.
Friends, pursuing their own dreams and passions…Friends, supporting and cheering the other’s journey….Friends, revelling in shared contentment at having done what they wanted to do.