The Surgical Devotion

A couple unable to imagine their lives away from each other challenge death and destiny 

He brought his wife to the hospital in a deep coma. They were both in their late sixties. I was called to see them in the ICU. “She was absolutely fine when she went to work in the morning,” Sarosh uncle told me with a dazed look on his face. “But when she got home for lunch, which she does every day, her speech was a little slurred and she was talking gibberish, which is very unlike her. She complained of a terrible headache in her temple and couldn’t complete the conversation we were having and collapsed,” he narrated. “I immediately rushed to find her completely unconscious. Our family physician and my two sisters got her here,” he said, limping from a bad arthritis of the hip that he’d been ignoring for years. He told me that she had been a breast cancer survivor for 18 years. We had noted her blood pressure to be 240/110.

“Did she smoke?” I asked. “That was her only vice,” he revealed. “About 15-20 cigarettes a day for the last 35-40 years. “Otherwise, she was the life of every party: vibrant and full of vivacious energy. We’ve been married for over 30 years and there has never been a dull moment,” he volunteered information. “But she never smoked in front of me,” he interjected. “She knew I didn’t like it, so she would only smoke in the kitchen, or if we went on a dinner date, she would excuse herself,” he told me with a look in his eyes as if they were still in college.

I examined her to note that she was completely paralyzed on the right side. She didn’t open her eyes even to deep pain. No sound from her either. The CT scan showed an 8 cm haemorrhage in the left temporal lobe, the area responsible for speech, language, and memory. “We have two options,” I tried to explain. “Either we don’t do anything and let her pass peacefully, or we remove the hematoma and see to what extent she recovers, knowing that she’ll never be normal again,” I said softly, bluntly but lovingly. “Oh my God,” he replied, unable to fathom the gravity of the situation, several thoughts probably coursing through his mind.

“Being an editor myself, I’m an avid reader of all your columns, and you’ve saved so many people who were almost dead,” he said, searching my face. “We always try our best,” I put my arm around his shoulder, “and sometimes we win, but sometimes we don’t,” I replied, feeling almost like a fraud for not being able to deliver for someone who had come to me with such hope. Over the next hour, we went through the entire spectrum of possibilities, from death to a persistent vegetative state to assisted living to the uncertainty of predicting to what extent she would recover. I was ambiguous about whether her speech would recover or if she would remember anything. “We have so many things we still want to do together,” he told me. “I would be completely devastated if anything were to happen to her. We are all we have,” he lamented. I asked him about his children, and he said that he hadn’t wanted kids and she was ambivalent. “I had often asked Ketayun who would look after us when we are old, and she used to say that we’d always have each other,” he said, a solitary tear running down his face.

“Can I accompany you inside the operation theatre?” he requested, explaining, “I would not like to leave her side. I’ll sit in a corner and won’t be in your way. I just want to sit and pray while you’re doing the operation,” he kept adding sentences, hoping I’d agree. I convinced him it would be best for him to wait right outside, and that we would be done in a couple of hours. We finally operated on her and removed the large thick blood clot that was compressing the vital structures of her brain. The tense brain was soft again. As we wheeled her back to the ICU, I told him I was happy with the surgery and the nature of the brain at the end of it. “We’ll have to take one day at a time,” I told him as I signed off.

He secured special permission from the hospital management to sit next to her 24/7. When I went for my rounds the next day, he was praying over her. I was so deeply moved by this man’s love for his wife. “Why don’t you get some rest, Sarosh uncle; this is going to be a long haul and it might wear you out. You have to be fresh and fit so you can look after her,” I tried to explain. “In fact, I was going to request you for something,” he said to me. “Can you please arrange for me to have a shower in the hospital? Because when I went home yesterday to change and shave, I was stricken with a profound grief of having left Ketayun’s side for a few hours,” he shared, wearing his heart on his sleeve.

We arranged for him to be comfortable around her in whatever way he wanted. Over the next few days, we were able to get her off the ventilator and she began opening her eyes. She could not speak because she had a tracheostomy tube in her windpipe, but she was beginning to move her right leg. Every time I walked into the room to see her, she would break out into an enormous smile, which thrilled Sarosh uncle to bits. “She’s making great progress,” I told him, as he adjusted the speaker that played healing sounds in her ears.

“Do you know, she’s taken such good care of me,” he told me on one of my daily rounds. “I often have these dizzy spells, so she used to constantly remind me to drink water. And if she knew who I was with, she would remind our friends to make sure I was drinking enough water,” he said with gleaming eyes. “‘I live for you,’ she used to tell me. ‘And you are my life,’ I used to reply.”

I went home that day and told my wife I loved her. She probably wondered what was wrong with me. I narrated this story to her. “They seem like a special couple. I would love to meet them,” she said. She met Sarosh uncle and Ketayun a few days later, when we had arranged a special musical evening for patients and their relatives in the hospital cafeteria so that they could forget about their worries for a moment. “I must have done something phenomenal to deserve a wife like Ketayun,” he told her then. “I also must have done something to deserve my wife,” I told him, leaving out the ‘phenomenal’ bit, as all of us laughed a little after three weeks of rigor.

As Sarosh uncle and his beautiful wife Ketayun left our hospital to continue further rehabilitation and physiotherapy elsewhere, I couldn’t help but remember the famous Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, who said, “In this world you can search for everything, except love and death. They find you when the time comes.”

67 Comments on “The Surgical Devotion
  • Mahrukh says:

    Just lovely I know the couple personally they are the icon of love both complimenting each other. Wishing my Keta a very speedy recovery 🙏.

  • Behroze Singh says:

    What a beautiful article on this lovely couple, who are my friends. We are all praying for Katz to recover well. Hats off to Sarosh for his devotion and care.

  • Hushang says:

    So touching – God Bless
    What is her status now

  • Bachi Karkaria says:

    What a touching piece to match that devotion. All the bestt for many more years of caring and sharing, dear Ketayun and Sarosh

  • George Koshy says:

    Your piece is divine

  • Hutoxi Doodhwala says:

    Super !
    I have always believed that doctors are God’s chosen ones to cure and heal the sick and infirmed.
    Your skill and expertise and Sarosh’s prayers worked for Ketayun.
    May you be always blessed with success 🙌

  • Dr.Sukhmeet K Kalsi Consultant Family Physician, Counseling Psychologist and an International Life and Executive coachng Psychologist ,International Life Coach says:

    What a beautiful and an amazing capture and narration of your heartfelt experience with the cute and deeply emotionally bonded couple

    This must’ve been such a soulful experience which made a mark on your mind and now even on our minds as well

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Pratima Shrivastav says:

    Absolutely heart warming. I would add life to love and death finding you at the right time. As in even in her case… found her back against all odds.
    Bless you.

  • Dr . Sunita Khedekar says:

    This one is unconditional Love I ever seen . Wish the couple a very good recovery and happy long life 🙏🏼

  • Dhairav shah says:

    Great work doc.

  • Jasmin says:

    Cried my eyes out. What a beautiful couple and a beautiful story. May they have many more decades of health and love and togetherness 🙏

  • Mahashweta Biswas says:

    What a beautiful & adorable couple. You have once again come through for a patient & this time for a loving couple. Hats off to you & God bless

  • Jamshed Mistry says:

    Compliments for a most touching piece !! Wouldn’t have expected anything less from Sarosh !! Wonderful couple !! God bless them and you Dr. Mazda for sharing this 🙏

  • Supriya Correa says:

    “Every time I walked into the room to see her, she would break out into an enormous smile, which thrilled Sarosh uncle to bits. “She’s making great progress,” I told him, as he adjusted the speaker that played healing sounds in her ears”

    God is in the detail. God is also in this neurosurgeon.

  • Jiwesh says:

    Wonderful experience and the writing too🤩👏

  • Jaishree Goel says:

    Sir, you are a very efficient surgeon and a great human being but I admire you the most for your sense of humor.

  • Chandan Sanjana says:

    God bless this couple and may she recover to be with her husband as they love each other so dearly . Saw his devotion towards her when I was visiting a friend in the ICU at the hosp. Was happy to know that she was moved to a private room so that he can be at her side comfortably twenty four seven!
    Marriages are made in heaven, so true and we have to remember these profound words always. I feel and know that marriage is the best institution if one is blessed in having a good marriage.
    Glad that found you as their doctor as you are the most kind, loving and caring doctor towards your patients and their near and dear ones. Bless you

  • Jasmine says:

    Beautifully penned and this what I call written from the heart .
    Ketayun is a fighter and will recover very soon. She is always the life of every occasion.
    God bless Dr Mazda Turel and of course the beautiful couple Sarosh and Ketayun.

  • Anil Handa says:

    Katz ALWAYS a LIVEWIRE , Sarosh will nurture her back and she will Smile at him and swing one leg with her exuberant energy albeit without a cigarette … Hearing this , we are SO SAD & Yet SO HAPPY that she has Sarosh and yourself …
    God bless

  • Vistasp Hodiwala says:

    What a profoundly touching piece. I hope to God she makes it and they make it through together for a whole lot of years. Thank you for penning down this piece with such sensitivity. I can only imagine how this experience could have changed you as well.

  • Dr. Rafat Ansari says:

    Their story restores my belief that indeed a couple is made to b partners for life thru thick n thin…Being the best of friends is all that matters right from the start. U value the person u love the most all the more wen life gives a jolt! Been there felt that vibes!!!

  • Khushroo Colabavala says:

    A brilliant, touching piece for two lovely people who truly deserve the love they share.Sarosh and Ketayun are such wonderful human beings and are being tested so that their love emerges stronger.There is never a dull moment with Ketayun around, who has you in splits with her humour and Sarosh with his intellect.Thank you Dr. Turel for taking care of this fantastic couple.A big God bless.

  • Kersi Naushir Daruvala says:

    I hope alls well with Ketayun and Saroush may Ahura Mazda give them speedy recovery and enjoy each other’s company. As usual you are an Angle in disguise, Hope you get many more opportunities to survive this human race. AMIN.

  • Gita Bhatia says:

    Beautiful love story Seen their loving devotion personally.Wish them both many many years of loving togetherness.God bless you both Sarosh and Ketayun 🙌🙌🙌🙌💕❤️

  • Dr Vinod Gidwani says:

    Can we get up a follow up on the progress of the patient in subsequent weeks . It will be interesting

  • Sameer says:

    Loved the “also must have done something to deserve my wife,” bit😄
    Beautifully written as always

  • Anuradha says:

    Brilliant article and emotional too. Wishing Ketayun a speedy recovery and may their love story be blessed for ever. As for you Mazda, you are the best!!

  • Priyanka Vikramadithyan says:

    Wishing Ketayun a speedy recovery, and for Sarosh and her to have many more decades together! They are lucky to have found you Dr. Turel.

  • Harit Nagpal says:


  • Rita singh says:

    What a breath taking narration. I couldn’t wait to know what happened to katayun while her treatment was going on .U r really God in human form for so many people in distress and despair.God bless the couple for many more years of togetherness. God bless u and ur beautiful wife too.

  • Bruce Blewett says:

    A remarkable story Mazda – it just goes to show what the power of positive thinking can do

  • Sarosh Bana says:

    As our neurosurgeon and now our very dear friend Dr Mazda Turel has mentioned, I did tell him that I must have done some splendid deeds in my past lifetime to deserve a wife of incarnations like Ketayun, and that’s why I did what I did. Ketayun would have done the same thing for me, it’s as natual as that. But I never realised that it could result in such a fabulous, even spiritual, narrative that Mazda has so adroitly brought out. Ketayun’s and my undying gratitude to him for everything he’s done for us. And thanks everyone ever so much for all your loving and supportive words.

  • Rosalind Pereira says:

    How touching this story is, and how brilliantly you have captured the emotion !

  • Namita Devidayal says:

    Beautiful piece about a beautiful couple … wishing K and S the best 🌷

  • Celine D'Cruz says:

    Got to know Katz over 20 years at Anokhis. She is very special person and very fond of her. Invoking the universe to present itself in all its glory to Katz and Sarosh. Sending you lots of love from Berlin.

  • Vispi mistry says:

    A very beautifully written piece Mazda. I pray that the lady is fine and is getting better now.

  • Shola Rajachandran says:

    May the Almighty shower his blessings on this beautiful couple.Prayers that you are there for each other for a long time.Wishing you togetherness & inseparable bond all your lives.

  • Mridula Kadam says:

    Beautifully written article !! Touches your heart!! Ketayun is strong , positive in her outlook and a fighter. With Sarosh’s dedication she will recover well. . We miss her a lot and are waiting to have her back with us soon !!

  • Vidyottama Sharma says:

    Tears rolled down my eyes when I read this beautiful love story. Sarosh has been a good colleague. I have met ever-smiling Ketayun once. Reading this beautiful write-up brought out so many emotions. May God bless this lovely couple.

  • Ajay Sabharwal says:

    A narrative beautifully captured and narrated as if everything is happening live ; here and now. Thank you Doc for sharing . God bless.

  • Dr. Albert Rajendran says:

    Beautifully narrated by Dr. Turel..!
    Though Sarosh and me have become friends very recently, we keep our communication very much alive..
    Sarosh and Ketayun are fully deserved to be role models… Hope and pray that Ketayun gets better and recovers soon..❤️💖🙋🏻‍♂️

  • Narioshang Nariman Nava says:

    Thank you Angel Dr. Mazda Turel. I personally know the couple very well. My prayers are there for Ketayun. I will also pray to Almighty God for her speedy recovery. Thank you once again. Almighty God has truly selected you as an Angel. God Bless You All.

  • Rhoda Vandrewala says:

    This missive is indeed soul stirring. You are Ahura Mazdas chosen angel to nurture her back to the living! Remain blessed always Mazda dear . 🙏

  • Azmin says:

    I will remember to say, ‘I love you’ to my husband too!
    Maz, you inspire at so many levels!
    @the Medical level – your compassion and skill play god to so many hopeful hearts.
    @the Humanitarian level – one cannot imagine what your writing does to so many of us who take little things in life for granted.
    Your writing is thought-provoking and heartening!
    God bless you with so much more love in your life and Deb might be lucky but you sure are with her in your life! Wish you both all the love and togetherness!

  • Mahrukh Sutaria. says:

    My Mother Freny and Dad Dara share a similar relationship. So beautiful. He is 92 and she 86 years of age. My mum loves reading your articles in Jame jamshed even though she can’t see with one eye. Am pretty sure she’s read this if this was printed in the Jame! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Natwar says:

    I pray for faster recovery.

  • Shompa Dasgupta says:

    Sarosh shared this article and it made an absolutely touching read..especially so because Ketayun has been my special astro guru for years and a source of inspiration always..and as a couple..both Sarosh and Ketayun have been an inspiration too..a match made in heaven by all I have been praying hard for her speedy recovery..and this article gives me hope that she has been and is in good hands and is getting better..let’s all keep praying for her speedy recovery..because the world needs great souls like dear Ketayun to live to 100 atleast..and also good samaritans like Dr Turel..

  • Anjali Patki says:

    Touching story of a beautiful couple. Engaging, involving and emotional. Best wishes to them and to you.

  • Anjali Patki says:

    Touching story of a beautiful couple. Engaging, involving, emotional.. best wishes

  • Anup Jalan says:

    Thank you for this lovely write-up. Wishing Sarosh and Ketayun all the best.

  • Tshepo Molosiwa says:

    They are surely the epitome of love and companionship. It’s inspiring to see the bond they share. Speedy recovery and best wishes to them.

  • Prema Sanghvi says:

    Dr.Mazda Turel’s article is deeply moving.My prayers are with Ketayun and Sarosh they are a blessed couple who share a perfect symbiosis and love for each other.Speedy recovery dear Ketayun

  • Prema Sanghvi says:

    Dr.Mazda Turel’s ‘s article is deeply moving.
    My prayers are with Ketayun and Sarosh they are a blessed couple who share a perfect symbiosis and love for each other.
    Speedy recovery dear Ketayun.

  • Yashwant Sanghvi says:

    Really very Remarkable Dr Turel.
    Ketayun and Sarosh are a wonderful couple who are most devoted to each other.
    Swift Recovery Dear Ketayun.

  • Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre says:

    Nicely articulated Dr Mazda.

  • Virendra Lokhande says:

    Great work doctor, pray for her speedy recovery.

  • Goolcher Navdar says:

    True love is a rarity more often than not. But no one can seperate twin souls. Even if death seperates them, they will follow the other to the other side in no time. Thank you for sharing this endearing piece. Great respect for you Doc👏

  • Kashmira Khambatta says:

    Got to know Ketayun and Sarosh just three months back. A very sweet couple. May God Bless them with many years of togetherness. Prayers for her speedy and full recovery.
    Bless Dr. Mazda Turel.
    Very well penned Dr. Turel..

  • Maj Gen Nilendra Kumar says:

    A very moving naration.Unforgetable.I believe it as I have known them. A special couple.Made for each other. My prayers and best wishes.

  • QUAID NAJMI says:

    Touching and inspiring for all… Dear Sarosh Bana.
    I pray to Almighty for His Miracle and help your Ketayun become normal again very soon…

  • Vipul Shah says:

    Dearest Dr Mazda Turel…..

    Lovely piece on perfect & Lovable Relationship between Sarosh & Ketayun……..

    It’s an eye opening Article so very well written an inspiration for modern couple to follow…..

    Your hands Dr has a magic & your brain has super Magic to recover all your patients out of their miseries

    May Lord give you superpowers to serve all cases to your bestest of Abilities & Affections …..

  • Lalita Ramdas says:

    Having recently lost my husband after a journey of 62 plus years, this saga of love and devotion…of both Sarosh and Ketayun, as also that of this amazing neuro surgeon…a true healer…opened up the floodgates….something I have been keeping bottled up.
    Sarosh thanks for sharing this.

    And sending love , prayers for your continued togetherness and a return to total good health.

    From Ramu and Me

    Lolly (Lalita) Ramdas

  • Zarin Bahmani says:

    To know that such love and devotion exists, is thought provoking!
    Sincere good wishes to both Ketayun and Sarosh, the ideal couple, May you enjoy the rest of your lives together!

  • Priti says:

    So so much touching story. Such pure love and bond . God bless them both.

  • Burzin Panthaki says:

    What a beautiful love story.
    Wishing them years to love and tenderness


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