Wednesday, March 30, 2022


Dr [Capt.] Thimmappaiah

It was some time during 1972/73 that I came across Dr Capt. T and remained his friend till he died some years ago at the ripe old age of 92.

Those were the days, when compared to now, communication  was primitive and only way was to either personally meet or use the telephone which only few lucky ones possessed. There was three years wait list for processing this valued instrument, though on paper, doctors were supposed to get it out of turn! Having found myself out of date as for as medical knowledge goes, I was looking for avenues to update and the only active body was the local IMA branch, located in the heart of the city. I tried calling to find out if there are any ongoing programs only to find staccato noise at the other end! I decided to pay a visit to the IMA house.

IMA house then and even now houses the state and the local city branch under the same roof and one afternoon, I paid a visit. Considering the time, the building was impressive, and the city office was located on the ground floor. Few tables and couple of chairs with filing cabinets made the office. Most were empty except one which was occupied by and elderly gentleman who later I came to know was the manager and ran the office and the office bearers. I made my enquiries as to the CME programs. While I was talking with him DrT made his entry.

Dr T was always impeccably dressed in a dark-colored suit and with his tall and slim frame, he made an impressive personality. Add to this, his fame as a cricketer, athlete, social worker helped to increase this aura. At that time, I did not know all these additional attainments of his but by his demaneer could gather that he is a doctor. I introduced my self and after he came to know my army background, he became very friendly and next half an hour was spent in telling me his own army experience in the world war on the Burma front. There was not a hint of bragging in his narrating his exploits. I think he must have decided that I am worthy of being in his inner circle at that first meeting itself. He then proceeded to tell me about the various activities of the IMA and how it needed to improve its academic activities and invited me to be part of the activity.

During next couple of years, I became the secretary of the IMA college of general practitioners of the state and my friend Dr S.K Srinivasan, the state secretary. We began running a series of education programmes which sadly ended coupe of years later as the state and the local units were taken over by doctors who had little interest in academic activities, and we were forced to start our own association which came o be known as Family physicians’ association [FPA] that has grown to be a 1000-member body at the time of writing.

Let me get back to Dr T. During his school and college days T was an athlete and a stage artist. Being good looking, he was given female roles. This necessitated shaving of arms and forearms as you cannot have a hirsute playing the female role. On one occasion, after the performance the previous evening, there was an athletic meet next morning where he was taking part in the 200 meters  run. The athletes duly took their stance and next to T was Abdul Khaliq, a classmate and competitor, Khaliq tells him,’ Thimmu, what is this? all hair on your arms gone? I thought u only shave the beard area, u have now begun this new fashion of shaving arms also?’ This was to distract T. Irritated, T replies, E thuruka, u concentrate on running and not on my shaven arms!

Dr T was  more than average cricketer and played for Karnataka in the Ranji trophy matches and has the distinction of being the first one to score a century for Karnataka in a Ranji match. He was also a medium pace bowler and when he was in his mid-fifties was seen bowling to Dilip Veng Sarkar, some 30 years his junior. More than a player Dr T was known as an administrator. He along with Mr Chinn swamy, was instrumental in building the present stadium which goes by the latter’s name. After the demise of Chinna swamy, Dr T became the president and remained at the helm for several years

He was active in the affairs of the IMA, and I remember on one occasion going with him to attend a national conference at Lucknow. We were 5 of us and I have vivid memories of that trip. One of them was in chronic cardiac failure and had poor effort tolerance but who insisted on doing what others did and being the youngest, I was put in charge of this doctor. As he was on diuretic tablets, he needed to urinate often and finding a loo/convenient spot was a major problem. He would often [jokingly] threaten me with this imminency. Throughout the 3-day trip to and 3-day trip back I remember playing poker with no loss of money. Another vivid memory of Dr T on that trip was his stopping play when we approached Whitefield station on the journey back and going to the lavatory. When the train was approaching East station he emerges, clean shaven with his trademark suit on. The West Indies and India test teams were being hosted by him as president of KSCA and he was getting down at cantonment station and had asked his nephew to come to the station to ferry him to west end hotel which was close by. Ten minutes later he bid goodbye to all of us and made his regal departure.

The present IMA building came up because of Dr T and his friends. To name a few Dr Subramanyam, Dr Nagaraj, Dr Ashwathnarayan, Dr Shivram  and Dr Ramaswamy. I may have missed some names. All these stalwarts are no longer with us

He was also interested in classical music and started his lessons when he was in his mid-thirties.  A lady teacher would come home to teach. Dr Subramanyam would often pull Dr T’s legs saying, ‘our Timmu’s wife also began learning not because of any interest in music but to keep a watchful eye on the music teacher’ may not be with out substance given Dr T being so handsome

As I know he was president of a cooperative society, a bank, a music association, and the Indian red cross.

One is justified in wondering how he managed his clinic located in the  city center on Kilary road. I once asked him. He said,’ when I get time, I go there and open the doors. Patients come to know I have come and they arrive, when they are finished and go I too close the doors and go, I earn enough to keep the body and soul together’

This was Dr T

Though very fit, his last years were plagued by back ache and sciatica which he bore with lot of grace.



No comments: