Today is exactly one year since Dad, Dr Pramod Potnis, passed away. Looking back at this one year, some things have changed and some have remained the same.
Sharing some of these with you.
Dad would insist that we make time for getting away from the city as often as possible and this would invariably happen over the weekend. We have driven all around Maharashtra over the past three decades and have lived with local people and eaten local cuisine. It is where we learned humility, diversity and sharing. These weekend trips are now down to a couple a year and we plan to change that soon.
Dad had a very peculiar habit – he would call us / come home and say – “We are going out, you have half an hour to get ready and pack for an overnight trip, hurry up.” When we would ask him where we planned to go, so we could pack accordingly, he would refuse to tell us. For the longest time, I hated this. When I was a teenager, I would complain to my mother about how he can’t just ask us to do this at a moments notice. Now that I am older, I miss these impromptu trips.
Over the last three years, I spent a lot of time with dad owing to multiple hospital visits, chemotherapy sessions and recuperating sessions. Towards the end, Dads sense of taste of taste had worn off. Due to this, he wouldn’t like to eat anything. Radhika and I came up with a plan, 15 minutes before lunch, I used to go home from office, heat lunch and stream House M.D. on tv. For the two few days he didn’t like watching House. The third day onwards, he really started looking forward to our lunch ritual, I would come home, heat lunch, he would set the table, we would sit together and watch House followed by some fruits as dessert. Watching House would spark some memory somewhere and I would look forward to his stories about cases that he had worked on. I would often hear him chuckle about how a Doctor like House would get beaten up if he tried talking to patients like he did. We ended up watching five seasons of House and even today I cant watch a rerun without missing dad.
I miss calling dad and making up a reason why I called so I could sneak in a question that was on my mind in the middle of the call. Since we were spending so much time together, he would tell me how his day went and I would tell him what I was working on. He remembered all our previous conversations and would ask me follow up questions the following week. I miss being able to pick up the phone on him and hear his stern voice on the other end.
Dad would lead by example when it came to volunteering time and money to help others around us. This practice has been a part of us since we were children; whether it was donating school textbooks, uniforms and mattresses at Chembur Children’s home or the many medical camps over the years. After he passed away, we took some time to adjust and shift gears when it came to volunteer work and have now picked up the baton from Dad.
So today, one year after dad passed away, we are launching the Potnis Foundation in his memory. All the work that he has done and foundations that he has built will be built upon. Starting today, Mom, Aniket, Nandita, Radhika and I will be picking up where he left off.
The Potnis Foundation is a Non Profit organisation. We believe in changing the world, one person at a time.
We are involved in Healthcare and Bottom of the pyramid programs. We also work in the Education sector and provide meaningful ways of education to young children. Our projects in Sanitation have enabled many people to build toilets within their homes.
We are currently working with Magic Bus to make sure that children living in poverty start on the journey out of poverty and towards empowerment. If you want to donate, you can write to us at email@example.com or visit our donation page.
Together we can make a difference around us and change the world, one person at a time.