A Surgeon who seeks poetry in everyday world

Rameshwer Singh in conversation with Sunil Sharma
Rameshwer Singh is a busy medical professional based in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. A sensitive surgeon with artistic hands, he straddles the medical and poetic realms in a smooth manner. His poetry in English and Hindi reveals a heart that cares for suffering humanity, understands the nonverbal language of pain and loss, is full of empathy for humanity and takes delight in nature---hallmark of great writing everywhere, every era. His actions and words give succour to patients and readers both. You feel the presence of nobility in a crass age.

Setu catches up with this polished and suave person for a first-hand account of his life, interests and plans.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rameshwer Singh, live and unplugged.

Excerpts of an e-mail and voice interview:

Rameshwar Singh
Q: Your life story in brief, please?

A: Being only son of my parents and the only brother of my two loving sisters, we were a close knit and affectionate family.My parents instilled in me the values and principles of life.My father  Sohan Singh ji used to say that passion for study would occur one day as an enlightenment.It did occur to me one day.Since then I have been in love with reading.I found solace in books.I got the national scholarship and passed my matriculation with distinction.

My childhood was all about books,copies,G-nib Parker pen , Royal Blue ink, drawing copy, colours and brush. It was also full of friends, cricket,gully danda,frogs and birds. My initial study up to intermediate was from prestigious Government Inter College,Meerut.I passed my Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery MBBS from LLRM Medical College,Meerut. I passed my Master of Surgery from the same college.

Q: What made you to opt for a career in medicine?

A: My parents had a dream. They wanted to see me as a doctor.During my growing years, I got a divine feeling of serving humanity . I was equally good at mathematics and biology. I got selected for both medicine and engineering.My desire to serve the ill persons made me opt for a career in medicine.

Sunil Sharma
Q: How is the experience of being a medical professional in a multi-billion pain industry?

A: Medical profession has indeed being treated as a multi- billion pain industry. It is a really painful feeling and hurts me deep down, when the suffering of a human being is seen as money-making opportunity. It is disturbing when a representative of a pharmaceutical company hopes the season would be profitable time.We are here to relieve the suffering, when it occurs but not to pray for more sufferings so that we may earn more.This market -generated attitude has broken the trust between the patient and doctor. Human suffering should not be seen as an opportunity to earn money.

Q: How did poetry happen in a sterile space?

A: Poetry happened to me after my matriculation.My father fell seriously ill.My mother  Pritam Kaur ji was the one who took care of all family.My taya ji (elder uncle) cared for my ill father .Seeing my father in such a distress, I came in close proximity to God and could see and analyse different physical and spiritual values of happiness,love, sufferings and ultimate eternity.I started writing then and pledged to serve ill people.My train chugs on.

Q: What are the daily challenges of being a prominent and admired poet and surgeon in Meerut?

A: In fact as I always mention surgery and poetry are my main passions. Surgery is more of a physical process. It has to be performed, when it is due. So I always give priority to surgery.A distressed patient needs me immediately. Poetry is more spiritual. Only when I am free, I write poems and prose.It happens sometimes I cannot get time to write for many days.Poetry can wait; surgery can’t. But yes, poetry can appear in my thoughts anytime. Then I write it immediately on any possible item available. My hands,any piece of paper,may be a biscuit packet.

Q: Your take on poetry?

A: Poetry is spiritual.I remain in transcendental stage for few hours.People near me know that. It is like entering a temple for me. I take bath,eat light and meditate.I have never taken alcohol or cigarette. That helps me.

Q: Your fav poets---contemporary and classical?

A: Classicals that I love are Keats , Chekhov, Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala. Contemporary lyricist is Gulzar sahab.

Q: Your ustaad in the field of writing?

A: My father Sohan Singh ji . When he was doing Bachelor of Arts in English, I used to study his books of literature prescribed for that course. Father made me learn English and Mathematics . In both subjects, I always scored high marks .He wrote profound poems in Punjabi.He guided me to publish an article in prestigious Indian Express when I was in my medical studies. Father was my first teacher and all his teachings learnt from him, I have passed on to my son Priyank Singh. My  two dear sisters Jasbir Kaur and Manjeet Kaur have been a constant source of support and strength throughout my life, be it poetry, surgery or personal fields.

Q: Challenges of being a bilingual poet in a literary field already satiated?
A:
As I am not in race with anyone, I feel no challenge. That is why jealousy never captures me.I become very happy reading successful people. I write in both languages and that helps me relate to the people of varied cultures. When a thought occurs to me, I write in both languages, maintaining the exact aroma of the language. It can’t be a translation. Thought remains the same but words are altogether different. You cannot translate rim jhim barish. In Hindi, you can feel what rim jhim means. Sondhi-sondhi khusbu only a Hindi speaker knows. If you translate it to earthen smell, you lose its feel. Hindi or English, you need to write the words of soul which should approximate the inner feeling of the natives.

Q: How do you balance both the jobs of being a busy surgeon and a creative?

A: As I said surgery has to remain a priority. I need to be awake till late hours of the night to give time to writing .During these hours of the night,  I have written much of my poetry. They are  calm and serene hours. Surgery in these hours are also challenging and satisfying.

Q: The role of spouse in this eventful journey?

A: Dipika Ramesh is my soulmate. Right from the day we met for the first time, she has been with me. She is a prominent gynecologist. She knows I need extra time for writing. She makes every effort to provide me a congenial atmosphere for writing. She assists me in surgery too.

Q: Memorable incidents from both the fields?

A: In surgery I can’t forget the record big breast tumour of five kgs Dipika and I removed. The patient was 20 year- old unmarried female. Seeing the happy face of the patient after surgery is unforgettable. It was a big satisfaction for us to remove such a huge tumour. It was published in national papers. In poetry field, the first publication of my poem So Said Birjo My Patient in the anthology Melange will remain forever in my memory.

Q: Purpose of writing for you?

A: I seek and search eternity through writing. A divine feel surrounds me. I find solace. I want to reach people’s hearts.

Q: Digital world---a bane or blessing for a writer?

A: I think it is a blessings. It gives you the necessary platform so as to reach different people of all corners

Q: Your experience of the literary world?

A: All my experience is mainly my own reading of countless books. That experience is blissful. I could not attend many literary events. I wish I could.

Q: Are there other medical professionals with artistic leanings and sensitive hearts?

A: Medicine is so close to humanity.There are doctors doing art cinema,writing poems and singing .

Q: Your major themes?

A: Divinity,nature,love,human sufferings, hospital,

Q: What are you reading these days?

A: 'God of Small Things' by Arundhati Roy and 'Mujhe Chand Chahiye' by Surender Verma.

Q: Any message?

A: Seek love. Spread love. God resides in all. I do one thing. Whenever I talk or interact with anyone, I personify him or her as my mother, father, wife, sister or son. Then I can empathize with him or her. You remain humble and even considerate towards him or her. Mother Teresa is my ideal. To reach God, you have to serve humanity.

Q: Your future projects in surgery and poetry?

A: I wish to have a surgical hospital where poor people are operated. I would like to publish my feelings in books. Bilingual poetry books. Books on hospital life.

Q: Your favorite poems in Hindi and English written by you?

A: My favorite Hindi poem:

क्षिप्रा का तट !
.....................................................................
हल्का सा मुस्कुरायीं तुम
उस रोज़,
नरम  उंगलियों से
कुछ लिखने लगी तुम
पानी की धारा  में,
क्षिप्रा के तट पर!
ज्यों ज्यों तुम लिखती रहीं
त्यों त्यों सब बहता रहा,
धारा के साथ
डायरी के पन्नो की तरह,
पन्ने पलटते रहे,
तुम लिखती रही,
क्षिप्रा बहती रही!
मैं एकटक  ताकता रहा,
तुम्हे लिखते देखता रहा!
पढ़ कुछ नहीं पाया मैं
जो तुमने लिखा,
फिर भी सब पढ़ लिया मैंने
भाव पंछियों को,
तुम्हारी आँखो के पानी
में तैर रहें थे.
तुम्हारे लबों पर सुबह के सूरज से
लाल लाल थिरक रहें थे,
तुम्हारे गालों पर
गुलाबी रंग से
अठखेलियाँ कर रहें थे!
तुम में मैं
हर कहीं!
आज तट पर
मैं अकेला हूँ,
तुम नहीं हो,
बस बहता पानी है
क्षिप्रा का!
पानी में डायरी के लिखे
तुम्हारे पन्ने
आज मैं पढ़ रहा हूँ,
बस आंसुयों की स्याही है
मेरे पास!
आज मैं डायरी लिख रहा हूँ
पानी पर,
पन्ने फिर पलटते जाते हैं
क्षिप्रा बहती जाती है,
पन्ना पन्ना बदलता है,
मुझमे तुम
हर कहीं!
बस मैं हूँ अकेला
क्षिप्रा के तट पर!
अब तुम पढ़ना एक दिन,
आंसुयों की स्याही से
पानी पर लिखे
मेरे डायरी के पन्नो को,
अब  कभी जब
तुम आओगी अकेली
क्षिप्रा के तट पर !

My favorite English poem:

Adieu!
As dawn starts breathing cool winds,
As afresh as an embryo breathes
In the womb through maternal feeds,
Standing by the tracks
In a lonely forest,
I see
Your train whistling away,
Disappearing further and further
Away from me,
Gradually merging
Into the dense fog !
It is a journey
Of no comeback
You do not know this
As you are not told
About your incurable disease,
Even sky and birds above
Sea and trees below
Know this !
Many times I pray
Save her, kind God !
Though in cruciating pain
Dreams you still weaved every moment
Whistle of happiness
You still blew ,
Desires you still nourished
As you were unaware of fatal outcome !
Looking through
Window
You waive your
Silky hands
Leaving me here
In unbearable agony of
Dreadful dreams,
Debilitated desires !
Now
As your train
Finally disappears
And dissolves
Into mystery zone
Of ultimate
Calmness and serenity,
I with
Soulful wet eyes and
Tearfully crying heart say
Adieu!

Q: Thanks for the lovely interaction.

A: I am humbly honored and it is a great pleasure interacting with Setu. Many thanks Sunil. My best wishes to all the readers. Keep me in your heart. And remain in my heart !
Link to author's blog: http://rameshwersingh.blogspot.in

2 comments :

  1. Poetry is spiritual,so is the vision of poet.Simply hear
    touching !!

    ReplyDelete
  2. गोपी चन्द विश्नोईNovember 1, 2017 at 7:11 PM

    मैंने पूरा साक्षात्कार पढ़ा । मुझे यह तो ज्ञात था कि रामेश्वर एक अच्छा चिकित्सक है जो मरीजों से हमदर्दी रखकर उनका पूरे मनोयोग से इलाज करता है परन्तु यह नहीं मालूम था कि वह उच्च कोटि का कवि भी है और एक अच्छा इंसान भी है । रामेश्वर की कविताएं दिल को छूती हैं । मैं ईश्वर से उसके दीर्घायु होने की कामना करता हूँ ।। --- गोपी चन्द विश्नोई, जागृति विहार, मेरठ

    ReplyDelete

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