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The ones who left us # 1 Dr. Prabhakar Deshpande Shobhna Tai

Today is Ram Navami. We are missing Dr. Deshpande a lot. Every year on Ram Navami, when we visited the Daulat Ram Mandir, we would come across him strolling in the nearby park as he lived nearby. This had become a ritual since we first met at the Parkinson’s Mitra Mandal. If we did not meet him at the park, we would go to his house. Deshpande, who was over ninety years old, would be impeccably dressed in a white dhoti, kurta and topi. Pleasant personality, childlike innocence and an ever smiling face made an everlasting impression from the first meeting. He loved to talk, but his speech was not clear due to Parkinson’s. His caretaker, Kulkarni translated his words for us.


Kulkarni and his wife were caretakers for Dr. Deshpande and his bed ridden wife Dr. Vatsala Tai.  Deshpande’s treated Kulkarnis like family and Kulkarnis considered the Deshpande couple as their parents. Kulkarni always said that Dr. Deshpande is like God to us. Their house was on the second floor and there was no lift in the building.  It was a difficult task to get Dr. Deshpande down two flights of stairs. But, Kulkarni would carry him down every day and take him to the garden for his evening walk.  He also took Dr. Deshpande to the annual picnic of the Mitra Mandal. Kulkarni kept himself well informed about Parkinson’s. Dr. Deshpande was an enthusiastic person, once he made up his mind about visiting any of the members of the Mitra Mandal, nothing would stop him. Kulkarni would take him wherever he wanted to go. It was very troublesome to take him out so in order to avoid this, we would visit him often. He would be very glad to see us. We would also benefit by getting some positive energy from him. After his wife’s demise, his children sent him to an old age home. Kulkarni left his contact details at the old age home, asking them to contact him in case of any emergencies. It was difficult for the happy go lucky Dr. Deshpande to stay bound by the rules and discipline of the old age home. He would often run away from there. Seeing this, the officials of the old age home sent him back. Kulkarni was once again called to look after him. Kulkarni served Dr. Deshpande till the old man breath his last.


Dr. Deshpande attended the meetings till the end. He would sit in the front row and always asked questions at the end of the meeting. The speaker felt honored to see him at the meeting. After the meeting, Dr. Deshpande would gift his autobiography to the speaker. He was a happy person and had lived a very happy life. There was a foundation of spirituality. The spirituality was not only in words but in practice also.   Kulkarni wrote poems, which he shared from time to time. Anil Awchat, in his origami workshop had taught the patients how to make crowns from the newspaper. Everyone wore the crowns made by them on their heads as did Dr. Kulkarni. It suited him well. He was happy as a child.


He lived like that till the end. Kulkarni’s service rendered with love and affection, his own cheerful demeanor, happy disposition and taking life as it comes attitude was instrumental in his living happily with Parkinson’s.


We became aware of his death, two three days after his passing.  Though considering his age and health it was not unexpected.  He has left behind many happy memories for us to remember him by.



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