That was my first clinical surgical posting.

We were posted to first surgical unit headed by Dr.Ramesh Pai. I had heard about him but not seen him.
I was told that he was a strict disciplinarian and students were scared to face him. I was also told he was a good teacher.
We entered the ward MS1 and were allotted a patient to take the history. Seniors were examining a swelling in the region of Parotid gland.

Then we heard a hefty laugh from some distance from the ward and suddenly the entire atmosphere of the ward changed, the nurses became attentive, PG students who were attending the patients and the assistants, all became attentive.

A senior was telling “Pai sir was coming”. We the juniors were all amused and confused at the changed scenario.

Then entered a tall lanky, fair gentleman with a tie and apron, laughing loudly and nodding his head accepting the greetings from the assistants.

The first impression of that tall lanky person was Fearsome!

The surgical registrar told him about our new batch posting.
He immediately proceeded to the area where the seniors were examining the case and he asked all of us to join the group. We all went and joined the seniors.

Our senior started presenting the case of parotid swelling.

During the presentation, he suddenly turned towards one of our batch girl student and asked “how many surfaces for the maxilla?”
She was confused and nervous at the suddenness and blurted out ” external surface and internal surface ”

On hearing the answer he laughed loudly and made a face and looked at the student and said that ” When he was a student of anatomy in 1942, the maxilla had five surfaces “maxilla

He ridiculed the student for answering two surfaces and even took the name of the Anatomy professor for not teaching the basics!

That was the stormy introduction to one of the fearsome, controversial, self egoistic personality named Ramesh Pai.

One day in the operating theatre, while he was operating on an appendix, he asked me about “artery of Seshachalam” of which I was not aware.

Later on I came to know it as an accessory appendicular artery. appendix1

With all his short comings and short tempered nature, he was an excellent clinical teacher and I learned a lot from him.

He was a bad examiner in the sense, no student used to pass in first attempt at M.S exams.

Luckily by the time we reached final year, he became DME and Dr. Hussain was our Head of Department.

As a surgical registrar at Gandhi, I used to invite him for Post Graduate clinical, and he used to readily oblige.

His old house was at Erramanjil colony.
He went to the States to his daughter Sharada and he is with her, I am told he is in his nineties.

But for his idiosyncrasies, he was a great teacher.

I wish him good health.

–  Dr Yadagiri Chari