Dr. Michael John Fernandez
Shradhanjali by Prof. Rajender Reddy
Life provides strange twists and the journey is at times hard to explain.
My career at Osmania Medical College at times seems like a blur but there are a few experiences that remain etched in one’s life. While I would consider myself then a bit disconnected from the rest of the World, I was deeply involved in my group of friends. It began with Sekhar, Bakul, Girish, Amrith, Aleem, Ali Reza, until Mike joined us with a transfer from Kakatiya and then others like Mohan Reddy (dearly called Khaja !) and Prasad joined us. Sad to say, Mike passed on in the 80s at the prime of his career.
Mike was a charismatic guy who was not difficult to make friends with. He was indeed my role model and some of us tried to emulate him-smart, energetic, multi talented in music ( played the guitar), sports ( good cricket player), education, and of course most importantly modest. I can recall his immaculate writing and meticulous book keeping and voluminous notes; true to his Catholic upbringing !
As friends, we had a wonderful time. The best I recall is that we would do group studying- certainly a fashionable thing at that time !. Whether it served the purpose it was meant to is still unclear to me. What it did though was that it provided an opportunity to get up at 4.00 AM to go to Charminar on my Vespa and have Paya and Zaban !
After having done miserably poor in our first crack at ECFMG ( some of us had to be escorted off the plane as we were quite drunk before we reached to Kuala Lumpur on an Air India flight), he left for the UK and I and others in our group followed him. He moved to the US ( albeit temporarily until he returned back to the UK and then went back to the US) and I followed him. We have great memories of our time in the UK. We would meet almost every weekend and travel somewhere and have fun. The best memories are of my wife, Vanaja. He was in Nottingham and we in Northampton. He would come along for the weekend. Vanaja would cook a huge meal to last the weekend and we would finish it in a day. He then would say-Bhabhi what’s for dinner !
Mike was a talented surgeon and was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK before he moved again to the US. He was married to Elaine, a delightful lady of Scottish ancestory and they had 3 lovely boys. We, along with Sekhar, Bakul, and Prasad remained friends until his demise in the early 80s. I vividly recall his illness and ultimate demise. He and his wife had come to visit us in Miami where he also had a lot of family. I had returned from Washington that afternoon and I asked for him while Vanaja and Elaine were chatting . They said he was sick and was in the bathroom and when I went in there, I found him on the floor and I immediately sensed there was something wrong-sure enough he had bled into his head and this then led to his demise. As life can sometimes be cruel, his wife Elaine developed metastatic breast cancer and passed on while their kids were raised by family. One of their sons continued to be a friend of our son.
Mike-we miss you. We salute you as a true friend, a humble soul, a great role model, a person with character and determination in pursuit of goals, a man who knew the balance between the pursuit of excellence and family life. May your soul rest in peace. There is not a day that goes by without a recall of our lovely time together. You helped shape the life of so many of us.
Quote: Sophia Loren
I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.
Shradhanjali by Bakul Kumar
Mike and Elaine
Mike was great fun to be with his wit, charm and intelligence. We all complemented each other with our unique blend of humour, banter, but above all great camaraderie.
Mike had no hesitation to drive everyday from Kingkothi to Badi Chawadi to be with us all, whether studying, going to Taj Hotel or movies.
As Rajender has said above, Mike was a great guitar player and his group “Psychedelics” played to packed houses in Ritz Hotel and 3 Aces . They used to belt out songs by Beatles and Rolling Stones and we were the “groupies”.
Always smiling, taking the mickey out of people (particularly April Fool jokes on us – Amrit, Girish, Mohan, Aleem and me), Mike had a greater understanding of humans because of his faith (a regular church attendee).
Whilst we (Shekhar, me and Prasad) were working in the West Indies, Mike rang us to say, he was coming for a holiday with his girlfriend (Elaine). We had a great time although money was in short supply!
We loved Elaine, who had a great sense of humour and they were a perfect match.
I continued to see both Mike and Elaine, whilst they were in UK and celebrated a few Christmas dinners together.
I heard about the sad demise of Mike and then Elaine and it took me a few years to contact Mike’s children Rohan and Mike Junior in Scotland.
I took some photographs and gave them an insight into our college days, Mike’s love for the music (as Mike Junior wanted to know about guitar in his dad’s room in Hyderabad). I felt I gave them a peep into how great Mike and Elaine were as friends.
I used to share our good times with Mike’s mum, Evita and Pattu(his sisters) and they used to laugh their heads off for the things we were upto.
Mike has left a big gap in our life, but we can live thinking about the good times.
May Mike and Elaine rest in peace.
Shradhanjali by Yadagiri Chary
Another departed classmate and friend is Michael Fernandes.
I used to call him ” Mike with full of action potential Spike”
He was not there with us in first year but got transferred from Warangal in second year. He used to sit mostly in the back bench and initially he was a loner and subsequently Sekhar , Rajender,Bakul,Girish, Reza, and Mohan Reddy became close and they were into a group which lasted throughout the school.
I was the other person who was close to him even though I was not from his group.
He was the tallest boy of the class with a childish face and smile. He was one of the few students who used to come to the college in a car , a black Ambassador.
I visited his house couple of times and had lunch and met his family members.
He used to play guitar and was into a professional group. His singing of the song” underneath the mango tree” from Dr.No was the first one that introduced me to English songs. Another guy was Balachander he also used to sing English songs.
He was always there for all the class picnics, the last one was to Azeemgadh.
He was a good student and missed his first class by four marks!
I lost touch with him after house surgency and came to know later on that he finished his FRCS and was working as a senior Registrar in UK, a very sought after post , I was told.
Then comes the news that he passed away in States while taking bath due to intra cerebral bleed following aneurismal rupture – It was depressing news.
The other day when I met Rajender, he told me that he passed away in his house. We lost a charismatic, lovable, classmate at a premature age.
When I was working as principal Gandhi Medical College, I was appointed as Chief Inspector to verify a Nursing school at Bandlaguda near Ecil. I was pleasantly surprised to meet Evita (Mike’s sister) who came to pick me up in her SUV. The school belonged to her.
While she was driving, we had a pleasant talk of remembering and recollecting the memories of her brother Mike.
Mike, we miss you.
Shradhanjali by Dr Maya
A very sad & untimely death of an intelligent doctor. It was one of the saddest news that day when I heard the news of Michael’s death.
Just a few years before he died he called me saying he wanted to come & see us as he was in Birmingham visiting friends & heard from them i.e. Renuka (2 yrs junior to us) that we were living not far away. Michael came with his girlfriend and that was a pleasant surprise.
When I was in the kitchen preparing the dinner for them, he sneaked in behind me and said “Maya what do you think of my girlfriend? I said in what, way? He said he was planning to marry her soon. I felt so honoured although was speechless as how could I comment about anyone by just meeting a person for a short time.
Subsequently he got married to her. That was the last time we saw him.
Another happy encounter that I remember regarding Michael was when he turned up at my house during Holi celebrations in 5th year with his whole gang i.e. Sekhar , Bakul , Abha, Vijjy, Syeda etc & insisted on me joining them for the celebrations. We went around to different people’s houses with our coloured faces and eventually took us all to Taj Mahal Hotel in Himayatnagar for Dosa.
He was definitely a “Down to Earth” person always ready to enjoy life to the utmost. Who can forget his bubbly smile?
Michael you will be remembered always by all your college mates.
May his soul REST IN PEACE.
Shradhanjali by Janardhan Reddy
Mike Fernandez, magnificent role model
Charismatic, talented, cheerful and humble
My years at OMC, pretty much blurred
Yet memories of Mike fresh in my mind
Sekhar, Bakul, Amrit, Aleem
Ali Reza, Girish, Mike and me
Picnics, parties, joy rides
Magnetic, popular with boys and girls
Group study, an excuse, just before exams
Getting up at 4am, have ‘paya and zaban’ in Charminar
Mighty help from Mike’s immaculate writing
And his meticulous note keeping
Once in the UK, his frequent trips from Nottingham
What a fun, frolic and great time!
Married elegant Elaine, had 3 wonderful boys
FRCS under his belt, moved to the US
One fateful day, visiting me in Miami
Mike was no more, collapsed in the bathroom
Fond memories of uncle ‘Mike’ for my children
His son, good buddy to us and my son
Guitar toting Mike, truly man’s man
Tall, handsome, gem of a person
Mike, we miss you, memories we treasure
Your legacy, we will cherish forever!