Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Complete man

This is the 100th post on my blog and I  dedicate it to the only Complete Man I have met, my father...

Dr. K. Kunhikannan (1938-2011)

I understand that for every daughter, father is her super-hero, her inspiration.  My father was no exception. For me, he was the complete man. A loving father, a doting grandfather and a doctor who was respected and loved like god by all his patients.

My father was a self-made man. After losing his father at a tender age of fourteen, he struggled to complete his studies while taking charge of his family. His life was a continuous struggle but he never gave up. He did odd jobs to feed his family and get his siblings succeed in life. He worked as an accountant at a grocer, then became the assistant to an allopathic doctor, studied to be an ayurvedic pharmacist and then joined government service as pharmacist.

While there, again his thirst for knowledge and a quest for complete healing, led him to homoeopathy. Very soon, our house started to pile up with medical books and he became a very successful homoeo doctor. His love for homoeopathy he passed on to my brother and sister. My brother is Chief Homoeo Medical Officer with NCT Delhi and my sister manages my father’s clinic now that he is gone.

Many roles ,One man

He was Kannettan (Brother Kannan) to the whole village and we enjoyed the privileges of being Kannettan’s  kids. Wherever we went, we got special attention, people wanted to return the love he showered selflessly on them.

 He never took money for medicine at home and everyday many would be waiting for him to come home. To the poor, he was god himself, he would specifically write F on the prescription of patients whom he knew was poor, so that his assistant would know that no money was to be charged. Of the hundreds, he treated every day; there would be many such F.

He was a loving brother to his siblings. He took special interest in their well-being and he was the glue that bound the whole extended family together. If there were a crisis, he would wade in and solve it with ease.

For my mother, he was love personified. Like a dutiful husband, he took great care of her and us and yes, he never forgot their anniversary. He would give memorable gifts but would joke aside that he worried about his head lest he forgot the day he became a slave for life.

He wrote poems, plays and many articles for the local newspaper. He acted the lead role of that of an old man in a play he wrote to promote homoeopathy. I remember the songs they had composed for it and even some dialogues.

He did Yoga everyday and believed to eat for living and not living to eat. I wish he were near whenever I make tomato rasam, which was his favourite.

For the kids he was the sweet-man rather than doctor. Kids who refused to go to other doctors marched happily into his consultation room fully confident that he had no syringes and always had a bottle of sweet pills (globules without medicine) ready for them.

 My niece was the one pampered most by him, he would always come home with sweets and whatever else she had ordered. My son too loved him and still remember him as his sweet Achacha...

My happy niece with her doting grandparents

While growing up, I took pride that I was his pet. I got away with my laziness, nomadic nature and I-don’t-care attitude just because he stood behind me like an iron pillar of support.

During my kindergarten days, he would make my breakfast (mostly puttu) delicious by adding mashed bananas, ghee and sugar and keeping it ready to be eaten. My brother and sister would pretend to be the Lion and Tiger respectively and come asking for their share. If I did not give, Lion would get angry, the tiger will roar. 

My mother was working too and she left earlier than my father did. Therefore, he took on the role of mother too for me.

I will await the sound of his TVS after school mainly because of the hot buns, omlette and hot tea he will buy for me at Madhavettan’s shop near the Ayurveda hospital he worked then. He would be among the last to leave the hospital being a sincere worker. He would raise voice against the discrimination and corruption happening at the hospital.
A loving husband, a doting grandpa and a veteran sportsman

Whatever love for literature I have, I owe it to him. Starting from the bedtime stories that he read to me, he urged me to love stories.There was no dearth for books to read at home and he encouraged me to join the village library as well. Being in Kendriya Vidyalaya, he took special care that I read more Malayalam books, as we did not have Malayalam as a subject at school.

I remember he used to give reading challenges to me. Once during my school vacation, he gave me the Malayalam translation of Yashpal’s Jhuta Sach, which depicts the crucial period after Indian Independence and the after effects of the war. The book was almost nine hundred pages long and he promised me a gift if I finished it before my vacation was over. I completed it..

The love for the written word gave me “The best Library User” award at school and I still remember how happy he was about it. 
I used to spend the major chunk of my pocket money on books and he would never speak a word against it, though my mother would rant continuously about wasting money. He would then whisper, “IGNORE” to me.

There was a dictum he wanted us to follow. He never liked us criticizing food. He never complained either. He wanted us to be thankful for what was being served.

Being the prodigal daughter that I was, I did not choose to follow his steps nor did he insist. I was scared of the field of medicine. My best score was in biology but I selected engineering just to be away from the trauma a doctor sees every day. The thick medical books that adorned the shelf at home were another reason. He did not pester us to become competitive, he wanted us to follow our heart.

There used to be long discussions between my siblings/ their college mates and him regarding the science of homoeopathy. He believed in classic homoeopathy and my brother /sister’s friends would marvel at his knowledge.

He was also a talented football player and was the captain of the local football team, and had won many tournaments in his youth. Come what may, he used to watch all the world cup football matches and there would be a crowd of cousins and friends to join him.

During my brother's marriage with whole family

When at the age of seventy-four he left us for a place from there is no return, all of us were in denial for the longest time. It was unbelievable that our father, who was the brightest presence in our lives, was no more. During the eight long months that he was bed ridden after an attack of meningitis, every day we prayed for a miracle. We believed strongly that he would bounce back, being the fighter that he was. However, everyday he sank further away into a world of oblivion. He forgot even how to eat. He did not recognize his loved ones anymore.

Not a person returned dry eyed from his sickroom. Some ran away crying saying they could not bear seeing such a kindhearted man struggling.

A cruel march three years ago stole him from us. We are still learning to deal with the loss. Another march begins today to remind once again that the radiant sun in our lives has set forever.

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers, Thank You Indiblogger for making it a top post...


  1. Maa Baap kahin nahi jaate, 
    Bas aise lagta hai ki wo chale gaye
    Per wo jaate nahi,
    Kabhi wo aapke hothon se muskurate hain
    To kabhi wo aapke chalne ke andaz me jhalak jaate hain
    Kabhi wo aapke bete ke naak me dikh jaate hain
    Aur nahi to kabhi wo aapke bete ki beti ki aankhon me chhup jate hain
    Kabhi wo aapko chaunka detein hain
    Aapki hi zuban se nikli kisi baat per, jo unhone boli thi
    Wo un loriyon me hain jo aapko yaad bhi nahi 
    Wo us hichkichahat me hain, jo aap jhoot bolte samay mehsoos kerte hain
    Kabhi socha hai ki aap baithe baithe pair kyun hilatein hain
    Gullu, Bablu, Pinki jo bhi aapka pyar ka naam hai usme
    Kisi tasveer mein
    Kisi taareq mein
    Aapke andar ki aag mein
    Gaur se dekhiye
    Ek bahut lambi ladi hai bahut purani
    Jiski aap ek kadi hain
    Wo aap ke pahle the aur aap ke baad bhi rahenge
    Kyunki maa baap kahin jaate nahi
    Wo yahin rehte... hain Sadiyon Ke Liye.

    Taken from an ad for binani cement!

    1. Thank You for the lines Susmitha... They are lovely...

  2. Preethi, You have given an apt tribute for a godly person- your dad - that too commemorated your 100th Post so well.
    His blessings are always with you. May you achieve many more milestones and make him proud.

    1. Thank you Anita.. Yes I believe his blessings are with me...

  3. It brings tears to my eyes. Such a lovely post Preethi... daddy's the best... he's the strongest... We are all daddy's galz. And respect for your father... he really deserves respect. :)

    1. Thank you namrata... We are all daddy's girls and daddy is the best...

  4. Really a nice post Preethi.. a great tribute to the man who is the biggest inspiration of your life....we daughters are always the apple of eye of our respective fathers and nothing can compensate the loss.. my regards for him..may his soul rest in peace..

    1. Thank you Maniparna... Yes, nothing can compensate the loss...

  5. This is so touching! I can see the greatness in him through your post.

    1. Thank You Indrani...He was indeed a great man and we miss him very badly...


  6. really touching! beautifully written :-) n i cant agree more wen u say that father is a daughter's first hero :-) kudos to ur father (y)

    1. Thank You Swathi... Yes.. father is a daughter's first hero.

  7. I feel I've seen him in person now, your description is so vivid and wonderful. A befitting tribute to him. And a nice portrait as well. Sorry for your loss. May God Bless you !

  8. Great tribute... It was very touching to read this...
    Yes, to all girls, their fathers are super-heroes. I remember on the first page of the book "The Better Man", Anita Nair wrote the following dedication, "To my father, for a better man never tread the earth. For my son, a better man in the making." I never forgot this line, because to all of us, there has been no better man than our fathers..

    1. Thank You Sreesha.. Anita Nair's words ring true to most daughters... For me too, my father is incomparable and a better man never tread earth.

  9. The tribute to your father shall be eye opner for current generation who don't appreciate their parents scarifice in their up bringing.THANKS FOR SHARING.

  10. You are a lovable daughter of a great father Preethi... My salutes to his kindness and greatness! It is easy to tell that everyone has to leave one or the other day. But, the fact is that nobody can fill the space, except the memories.

    The Arts & Me