Herald: .... As we said goodbye....

.... As we said goodbye....

03 Feb 2019 06:02am IST
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03 Feb 2019 06:02am IST

He managed to touch many lives as a doctor with his expertise and his finesse. His old-world touch was much welcomed in this modern world. Dr Arcanjo Menezes leaves behind a strong memory, Maureen Alvares takes a look at his legacy

n the 5th of January, 2019, Margao laid to rest an Icon. The hundreds, and I use that number loosely, who came to pay homage to one of the very Best, had only one thought as they stood, in his home, at the church or at the cemetery; how does anyone who has been touched by these healing hands, who has been gazed upon by that beautiful gaze, get over this loss? For a long time I sat wondering how to put down words that overflowed from a heavy heart. Some things are simply too deep for words, but what this needs is to be vocalized, to be read and to be seen by everyone whose life, Dr. Menezes touched, brought into this world and above all, blessed with his wondrous simplicity, because with his passing, an era of old-world charm coupled with the updated world of pre and post natal care is over. There are many others who I am sure are equally wonderful. But there will never, ever be another Dr. Arcanjo Menezes, and that, is saddest truth of it all!

His smile was one that often began in his soul, ended on his face and often the twinkle in his eyes made one feel so special, that one felt singled out for attention. What an honor it was to be treated by Dr. Arcanjo! From the many lives he brought to light in this world to the many other miraculous wonders he put into place with his myriad surgeries, his was an old world touch with the magic wand of modernity. 

My first interaction began right from the time with my own children. His every consultation was accompanied with some little tidbit of information about childbirth, what was the accepted and what was “old-wives” tales! He always accompanied this information with his characteristic smile and a glowing twinkle in his eyes. Every time, it made me feel privy to some momentous secret, only I was privileged to share.  Along with his wife, Dr. Ninette, who was another aspect of the classy duo, every entry into the “Nursing Home”, felt like a visit bound in familiarity. What an honor it was to be a part of their circle of concern, the care and their deep familial atmosphere. My first time was fraught with many scares but Dr. Arcanjo was firm about the how and the what of it all. He knew what a first time mother went through and his gentle rebuke of not going the extra mile with the obsession was never forgotten by many! 

I remember him asking me if I wanted to hear my baby’s heartbeat, the first time ever, he was watching my face as I was listening in awe. He smiled and asked me, “It feels like magic, right?” I never forgot that moment the first or the second time, even. When he operated upon my 8 month old son for his congenital hernia, he was so meticulous in his explanations. Everything was outlined and we knew what we were going to be seeing and the care giving thereof, too. He did all the talking and never left it to any one else. It instilled an awesome confidence in us as parents. But the day of the surgery was the one that stood out most in my memory. My son awoke from the anesthesia in the theatre, we never knew of it, of course. But later, we heard a clanging of metal which he explained was the making of a musical distraction, just so the child would calm. He smiled and said, “You really are going to have a handful in that child! He really gave me a tough time to settle him down and the whole surgery delayed by a good ½ hour”  But the effort put in with his signature handiwork would put the best designer to shame; neat, perfect, impeccable. 

Dr. Arcanjo was one of the few physicians who never spoke down to any patient. I remember him explaining “Endometriosis” to me as if I knew what it was all about. Such a precise manner of making me feel privy to everything I needed to know. He also shared with me how much he was keeping on par with the advances in medicine made in this ailment, in the U.S.A. He explained things to me in a way that I felt so completely at ease with myself when I walked in to the surgery. I was stunned when he even went so far as to explain the sutures, the why and the wherefore of it all. When I shared this with a friend, who had also gone through the same, she told me how he had done the same for her. 

My mother-in-law who had been his patient explained  to me that his care of her made her feel so special that every night she said a prayer for him and for his mission, in life. My family, from the nephews and nieces to now, even their own children, were brought into this world, at the “Dr.  Arcanjo Menezes Nursing Home”. How many homes were lit by his care and his wonderful hand! How many! Neither Dr. Ninette, his beautiful better half, nor he, ever forgot to go beyond the moment of medicine, with their social obligations. Their association extended beyond the world of care giving. Their presence, so stately and wonderful always instilled a sense of privilege in the recipients.

Farewell , is a word, I have always hated, but like it was rightly put:

To live in the hearts, we leave behind, is never to die…..

…. And in the many, many, many….. lives he brought into this world and those he saved with his magic touch, Dr. Arcanjo lives Eternal in all of our lives.

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