July 8, 2006. My wife and I had been in the city of Madurai in southern India for just a few days when we read the news in the morning paper-Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (Dr. V), founder of the world-renowned Aravind Eye Hospital, had passed away.
By coincidence, July 8th was also the day I was moving into Aravind's guest house for a month-long surgical rotation. On that sun-scorched Saturday, we rushed to find any white clothing we had (the traditional color to wear at a funeral) and headed to Dr. V's house to pay our respects.
As I prepared my residency match list a few years later, I remember thinking about Aravind, and hoped that I might someday be one of the residents who have a chance to see it firsthand. So, it was with intense, yet mixed, emotion that I came to the campus and Dr. V's house that solemn afternoon. It was a dream come true to have the opportunity to see Aravind for myself, to gain a tremendous surgical experience, to present at Grand Rounds, to examine patients with a broad spectrum of "exotic" diseases, and-to be inspired.