Thursday, May 05, 2005

Truly Swadeshi

Since I don't have anything meaningful to say, I am flicking my sis' article submitted for her college magazine. Pardon her sophomoric effort, she relied on my help extensively. Too much of dental jargon might give you tooth ache


There are very few people in our lives, strangers perhaps, who inspire us to go beyond your capabilities and would do things for a change – for others. Most people we know would just sit on their pile of money making plan to accumulate some more. But there are a few, who really work for others- healing the world, making it a better place for us. Such people indeed reinforce my belief that heaven indeed, may be a place on earth.

I was looking forward to peaceful Sunday after long busy weekends. But my mother announced a dental camp organized by her colleagues (Adivasi Kalyanashram group). I didn’t have a choice but to attend. The dental camp was at Ambesari a few kilometers away from Dahanu. I was told that a senior dentist would accompany us with his dental van. I thought, like in Nair Hospital, we might just do OPD and maximum extractions. But when we were heading for camp, I just had glimpse of the dentist. He was so restless to reach destination and start work that he didn’t allow even a single break during the travel. After reaching we had formal introduction and I learned that he was Dr. Dipak Mankame. He completed his BDS from Nair at 1978, then DDS and then successive courses in Oral Surgery, Periodontology and Orthodontics. Just saying this leaves me breathless. He is now settled and practices (roaringly, I must say) in Florida, US. But he still visits India after every 2 months interval. During this tenure he does social service for the less fortunate and dentally needy.

Now coming back to Ambesari when we actually started working what I saw was beyond imagination. He had everything in the van from Airoter, Micrometer, light curing gun for composites, Apex locater, Xray machine, Extraction forceps, 3 cavitron, 3 suction, generator and the list is endless. In the village, even where there was poor electricity, he managed all the connections for compressor, suction and cavitron. The village folk barely had clothes to drape and could afford two meals a day. So promoting dentistry there was futile. But Dr. Mankame, more than us, knows the role dental hygiene plays in our overall well being and health. So, he could hardly care for the villager’s indifference. He carried the kids in his arms to the dental chair (some prefer the electric chair). He did Composite, GIC, Amalgam fillings. We even managed to do extractions and scaling.

Dr. Mankame has been involved in such activities since the last 10 years. But he still aims high. In spite of currently having almost state-of-the-art equipment, he has ordered much bigger and better fitted van. The new van will also have 2 cataract units assisted by an ophthalmologist.

Such people - earning a lot, yes but still giving out their money liberally for the benefit of others are exceptional. Such people go unnoticed but still have the power to set examples.

I am just glad that he converted my mundane Sunday into a meaningful one.
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