Mumbai: It will be a truly memorable birthday celebration for retired school principal Arjun Govind Naringrekar, who turns 100 on July 15, having trounced coronavirus and returning home on Tuesday. Naringrekar received a grand farewell from the staff of the Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Hospital, who celebrated his birthday in advance.
On learning that it was his birthday on Wednesday, hospital staff, including doctors, nurses and other caregivers planned a surprise celebration for him. As Naringrekar was being wheeled out of the hospital complex, he was greeted with a 'centenary' cake and lauded by the staff for being a true Covid warrior.
Naringrekar was detected Covid-19 positive on July 1 and rushed to the civic trauma care hospital in Jogeshwari. After two weeks of intensive treatment and care, he recovered and was discharged on Tuesday afternoon.
Born on July 15, 1920, in Naringre village of Sindhudurg district, Naringrekar retired on July 30, 1978, as the principal of a school in Naringre village. Currently, he lives with his son in Kandivli and earlier this month, he and others in the family tested corona-positive.
"When he was found positive two weeks ago, with his 100th birthday round the corner, the entire family, comprising children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was shattered. They immediately rushed him from Kandivli to the Jogeshwari hospital for treatment," said a civic official.
But for nearly two weeks , the almost-centenarian's family was on tenterhooks, except for the man himself, who remained largely unaware of the deadly infection that he had contracted.
Given his advanced age and frail health, the doctors, nurses and other staffers took extra care of him, as they would for every senior citizen patient. "After some family members tested positive, Naringrekar too was found infected and showing symptoms of pneumonia. Throughout his stay, he was an extremely disciplined and cooperative patient, but occasionally, even our staff got a sample of the former principal's stern voice when he disagreed with something," said a senior staffer at the hospital.
During the birthday celebration organised by the hospital staff, Naringrekar was all smiles, profusely thanking and blessing all the caregivers before going home with his family. "Majhi changleech kalji ghetli sarvaanni. Staff-la majhi shubechha (They took very good care of me. My best wishes to the entire staff)" Naringrekar said.
He is the oldest person to have defeated Covid-19 in Mumbai. On June 30, 103-year old Sukha Singh Chhabra of Thane became the oldest man in the country to conquer the infection and return home.