Vinod K. Puri

Born in 1941, Vinod was brought up and educated in Amritsar. He attended Government Medical College, and subsequently trained as a surgeon at PGI, Chandigarh. He left for USA in 1969, and retired in 2003 as Director of Critical Care Services at a teaching hospital in Michigan. Married with two grown sons, he continues to visit India at least once a year.

The word swami has entered the English language, thanks to the writer RK Narayan and hordes of hippie visitors to India. But in this personal tale, the word has a special resonance. 

By Swamiji, I refer to was my grandfather's younger brother. I do not even remember his given name. This was a bizarre incidence in the family's history! You would have to imagine that a family of middle class traders amongst them had produced a saffron clad personage who in his lifetime renounced the world for the good of humanity!

By the time I first had a look at the face of Swamiji, his older brother Lala Charan Das, my grandfather was dead. My grandfather was something of a legend in Amritsar because of the amount of wealth that he had accumulated and the fact that he had married three times! They were perfectly legal marriages, after the demise of consecutive wives.

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