Friday, April 11, 2008

An irrepairable loss

Late in the evening on March 17th, 2008, Dr. K Taranath Shetty received a call informing him that his name had been cleared by the Prime Minister's Office for the post of Director of NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council). He was in Goa with his friends from his Ph.D days to meet Prof Gaitonde, their teacher and guide who had guided them during their Ph.D. That night, after having spent the whole day with his teacher and later having received the information of his appointment over the phone that he would be the next Director of NAAC, he had told one of his friend, "Suresh, today is the happiest day of my life". The next morning, Dr. Shetty had a massive heart attack and passed away. He was 59 (but looked 45 and never dyed his hair).

What's shocking to me was the fact that he had no risk factors at all. He was a vegetarian for the past 18 years, he didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't have cholesterol, no BP, no hypertension, triglycerides were perfect, used to wake up at 4:30 AM each day and exercise for an hour, used to run up the stairs to his second floor office two steps at a time and wouldn't be breathless when he reached the top, his family has no history of heart ailments, his father lived till 90 and mother till 103, 5 out of his 6 siblings are still alive (he was the youngest of 7, and his eldest brother died at 74 almost ten years ago). He used to say "Longevity is in my genes, so I'll live to see my children grow".

It's going to take a long time to get used to the fact that India lost arguably it's best clinical biochemist and I lost my father so suddenly. The wound is so severe that it's scab is going to be peeled off several times, over and over again as I am beginning to experience it first hand. I'll miss you papa, we all will.
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