A Farmer; A Giver
“Since you asked, I’ll oblige!”
And just like that, Kaka takes us 19 years back for a peek into his life – 28 th October, 2000 to be exact.
My wife and I were plucking grapes in the farm. It was a regular day in our lives. While returning home in the evening, I happened to meet an acquaintance in the marketplace. I was happy to see him again but concerned too.
‘I hope everything is okay. What’s making you visit the village from Bombay every week?’
What I thought was a job issue turned out to be graver. His brother was suffering rapidly from kidney failures. Though I had never met his brother, the news hit me. I enquired about them testing for being a possible donor only to be met with a dead-end.
The patient’s three brothers’ and their wives’ blood group did not match as a donor. Despite the mother matching, she was immediately rejected owing to her blood pressure and age factor.
I casually asked for his brother’s blood group. Destiny seemed to fade in cinematically here.
‘O +ve!’ he said in a dejected tone.
Perfect! I am O +ve.
My smile knocked the air out of him. He stood there frozen and confused.
I asked him to go to Bombay – that was a Monday. I promised that I would catch the ST for Bombay on Wednesday and meet him and his brother on Thursday in the hospital.
Dazed and afraid, he mumbled in a chant that he needs a kidney donation. Hope looked like an oasis in the desert. He was hoping against hope that it wouldn’t turn out to be a mirage!
I reassured him and gave my word. He bid me goodbye with optimism in his heart but suspicion and disbelief in his eyes. I don’t blame him; his extended family wasn’t willing to step in but, here, a stranger was!
There was only one obstacle for me to reach Bombay – I had no money… I decided to borrow some from a man named Rajaram Pawar in our village.
So, with a choice, two functioning kidneys, a few clothes, and a ₹ 350/- loan, I boarded an ST bus to Bombay.
The brothers went pale on seeing me in Bombay’s hospital. We wasted no time and begun stringent rounds of tests. Meanwhile, the patient’s family decided to gift me ₹ 5000/- to thank me for turning up. I sent most of it home to my waiting wife and two sons…
Because our surgery was going to be borne by the government, the process was rather slow. Finally on 28 th October, 2000, I was no longer
Mr Pramod Laxman Mahajan who was a farmer. That day, I was reincarnated as Mr Pramod Laxman Mahajan who was a farmer and a donor!
Our recoveries went well. Life continued for all of us. The recipient had been married for 13 years (when the transplant had occurred) but had no offspring. I feel, somewhere, I had a role to play for changing his life. He fathered two sons after the kidney transplant!
Like many others, I am proof that one can survive – and survive healthily – after a kidney donation. And now we also have proof that children can be borne after a kidney transplant!
Having saved one life, I felt the need to do more. 2001 onward, I dedicated my life for social causes.
Today, when I am on a solo-motorbike expedition for B.O.Y. 2.0, I believe people’s blessings are keeping me safe! How else can one logically explain an old man riding across a nation on a bike with a single kidney; not just once but for the second time!?
– Juhi Kothari / Shetty