Two ex-students of Dr. P.K. Wanchoo, former Head of the Oncology and Surgical Department at SMS Medical College in Jaipur, have compiled the memories and anecdotes of their mentor and teacher in a book entitled: ‘Footloose Amongst Memories’. Jaipur-based Dr. Sandeepan Mukul and Dr. Pooja Mukul were undergraduate students in Surgery of Dr. Wanchoo at the SMS Medical College. Later, Dr. Sandeepan also did his Masters in Surgery under Dr. Wanchoo. The book (for private circulation ) is a hugely readable compilation of his anecdotes, musings and memories. Each of the anecdotes brings a smile or a chuckle to the reader as he goes through the book. He narrates that when Farooq Abdullah was studying at the SMS Medical College in 1955, he was Wanchoo’s dissection partner in Anatomy. They had become good friends. He recalls that Farooq was ragged so badly that he ran away to Delhi and went and complained to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru himself. Nehru then rang up the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Mohan Lal Sukhadia who then, in turn, spoke to the Principal of SMS Medical College, Dr. R.M. Kasliwal. Dr. Kasliwal then transferred Farooq Abdullah to the senior hostel whereafter he was not ragged. He also recalls that while Farooq Abdullah was the Chief Minister of J&K, he was invited to SMS Medical College as the chief guest in 1987. He was upset not seeing his former Principal Dr. Kasliwal, who had not been invited to the event’. He went personally to Kasliwal’s house to bring him to the event. And later he also went to drop him back personally. Yet another story is of how Dr. S.C. Mehta was brought by the Prime Minister of Jaipur, Mirza Ismail and asked to set up a hospital in the Pink City. The land was donated by Maharaja Man Singh on which the present SMS Medical College and hospital are located. It was earlier known as the Willingdon Hospital. Dr. Mehta played a pivotal role in the setting up of the hospital not only in Jaipur but also in Bikaner.
The book makes lucid reading with a lot of memories relating to his studying in the UK, his love for all things British including cricket. Trained in Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital in the USA, he worked for close to 30 years at the SMS Medical College and retired in 1996. He now lives with his son at Gurgaon.
Sandeepan Mukul is Director, Plastic Surgery, at Fortis Escorts hospital in Jaipur and his wife, Pooja Mukul, a Rehabilitation Physician is Technical Director, BMVSS – Jaipur Foot Organization and works for people with locomotor challenges. They say Dr Wanchoo was their favourite teacher and the book is a gift for his friends, family and well wishers. They will shortly be coming out with an e-book as well.