Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rohan Bopanna

When I first met Rohan he was a thin gangly 11 year old. His father Prabha [Bopanna] is the younger brother of Raja [Nanjappa] who is a very dear friend and neighbor [also golfing buddy of over twenty years!].’Doc, look at this boy, he wants to play tennis, how can he ever with his eating habits’ Prabha said pointing to the grinning boy. ‘What eating habits’ I asked. He likes only bread and honey and occasional glass of milk the father said. This worried statement made both of us laugh and I don’t remember exactly what advice I gave the boy then. Kodagas [Coorgs] like their meat and no meal is complete if there is no meat dish preferably pork and naturally the father was worried about this bread and honey eating boy.

Then on there have been many occasions when I met Rohan either as a patient or when he came to stay with his uncle [Raja]. His build makes him Injury prone and his whole carrier is bedeviled by many injuries mainly to his right shoulder [serving arm]. As a matter of fact with his ability and character he should have achieved much more as a singles player but for his injuries. Rohan is one of the most self effacing boy [man] I have ever met. Success sits very lightly on his head. He is the same Rohan whom I met for the first time some 15 years ago.

He met Aslam [Qureshi] about ten years back and they have started playing doubles together some five years back when Rohan shifted his priority from singles to doubles and the pair began making history. Their reaching Wimbledon QF and now US open final has made all of us very happy and proud. So much so, despite winning today’s golf match and the bet of beer, Raja did not allow our opponents to buy and celebrated Rohan’s victory by buying drinks for all of us!

It is very big news for us In India and many like us I am sure in Pakistan,to see these two men who have shown how the two countries can get along and as Aslam rightly said,’ leave religion and politics behind and play tennis!’

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not their cup of tea

I read with interest two news items, one recently and the other some time ago. The one I read a couple of days ago described the travails of the dean of a government medical college. This dean after a lot of struggle had succeeded in building a state of the art mortuary for his teaching hospital and wanted a dignitary to inaugurate this building. In India no public function is complete without this formality and generally the preferred dignitary is a politician of some standing, usually belonging to the ruling party. Thus the first choice was the chief minister of the state who declined and the next two were the health and the medical education ministers. They too refused. The number of ministers in each of our states is sometimes equals that of the legislators. This is to accommodate as many of the winning legislators as possible and give them some status and power. This in turn leads to massive corruption is every ones guess and no one’s concern. So after many ministers refusing it was the turn of beurocrats. The dean met with the same kind of reluctance. At last he was driven to inaugurate the building himself accompanied by few of his trusted staff.

Obviously those who refused to do the honors believed that by doing so they may end up in the morgue before their time is up!

The other news item is about a constituency named Chamarajnagar. Since last twenty odd years no Chief minister has visited this place. Do you know why? In the earlier years those who did lost their chief ministership with in a short time after the visit. So the place is stuck with this taboo and no one has dared to break this voodoo!

We humans are strangely superstitious. It is all over but we Indians must take the cake. We have a right time and a wrong time to do anything and everything. There are Pundits who prepare almanacs giving the exact good and bad timings each day. No auspicious function is held without consulting these experts. I have known many daughters who have remained unmarried because of some blemish in their horoscopes [birth charts]. Strangely there appears to be less stringency where sons are concerned! I have on an earlier occasion written about my not being able to find a friend’s home because he had changed the entrance to the house following such advice. My friend who is an architect tells me that he has to use all his ingenuity to satisfy this belief and also make the house look good and livable!