Thursday, March 28, 2013


As I journey through life, I’ve met many people who I’d like to emulate in some way. I don’t have the time to write about everyone, nor do you have the energy to read about everyone, but I’ll highlight some as examples. Naturally, some of these people are my family members; the people I grew up with, seeing their lives and how they handled the situations of daily life. For instance, my dad: calm and collected even when the waters rush over his head, firmly anchored in the Truth of his Savior. My mom: not always calm and collected, but had a heart for her Savior that drove her to live for Him with abandon. My grandfather: frumpy and disheveled on the outside but tender and brilliant on the inside, with a hidden sense of humor to boot! Some of the people I’ve only met in person once or twice. For instance, Dr. Margaret Brand: who ended her life’s biography with “All I have need of Thy hand has provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” And Dr. Suranjan Bhattacharji: years of selfless service culminating with a charge to the next generation to seek those who need help and go light the world. This post is about his retirement from CMC.

With over thirty years of service devoted to his calling as a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) doctor, Dr. Suranjan Bhattacharji retired. He was once the principal of the entire hospital as well as the director of PMR. He is a humble, passionate, devoted, and sincere man—a credit to his Maker. To be asked, numerous times by numerous people, to join in the celebration of his service to CMC was a great honor. And so we did.

It was a Wednesday evening. Patient Zero had been asked to participate in the program and was instructed to be ready to go by 4:00pm. As his OT, I found it the perfect opportunity to work on dressing and other ADLs (activities of daily living) so I finished off my session with a button hook and word of good luck. Then I set off to find Charlie.

The weather had been a little dreary that day. We even saw a little rain at lunch time. When Charlie and I set out for the farewell function the skies opened up. Within a minute we were completely drenched to the bone. This was no sprinkle of rain. Just like the evening of the wedding, the roads quickly turned to rivers. Despite our drowned-rat appearance, we braved the quizzical looks and entered the chapel lawn for the event. As it turned out, being wet even on that warm March evening made for two, cold white girls. Also, the shindig turned out to be a much fancier affair than we were told it would be. The combination of feeling cold and underdressed drove us to finding an auto home to freshen up and perform a quick costume change. (Sarees really do feel like costumes for us white girls…)

We left our house with umbrellas, rain jackets on over our sarees, and with our sarees hiked up to our knees. Yes, very culturally inappropriate, but we were desperate to keep our clothes dry this time.  We stomped in puddles, laughed as we dodged the raindrops, and tried to stay upright in the slick mud as we made our way back. Halfway there we found an auto willing to take us the rest of the way. We arrived late, but dry and in more suitable attire.

Speeches were given, songs were composed and sung, and dances were performed all to honor the man of the hour. It was a beautiful tribute to such a man, but the best part was when the lights went out (intentionally, this time) while Dr. Suranjan and his wife stood at front with large candles and lit the small candles held by the stream of people that passed by. I was busy trying to get a photo of them lighting candles and didn’t notice that all the candles they had lit were lighting the candles held by the rest of the audience. As I turned around, I saw a simple example of what the night had been about. Dr. Suranjan and his attitude toward his service at CMC had inspired others, and he was now passing the torch on to the other generations. The choir sang Chris Rice’s, “Go Light Your World” as the outdoor space filled with warm light. It was a moving scene. One I am blessed to have been a part of.

I hope that with a certain calmness I will pass through waters that sometimes threaten to drowned me, live with abandon the life my Savior has called me to, with some measure of brilliance and humor walk through life smiling despite my disheveled appearance, know that all I ever needed His hand provided, and inspire others to go light the world. I am blessed to have so many rich influences in my life, and I have only named a precious few…

This ceremonial torch is lit and significant events. 

A song composed for the event... 
Speeches given...
Dances performed... 

Dr. George Tharion, current head of the department (HOD)
Charlie in her "costume."
The man of the hour.
Dr. Suranjan passing the torch.

Evidence of a torch passed.

Carry your candle,
Run to the darkness,
Seek out the helpless,
Confused and torn,
And hold out your candle,
For all to see it,
Take your candle
And go light the world.

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