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Until death do us apart...... An incredible Valentines story!
By Viren Mayani

Marriage vows although appearing just customary for most, are taken to heart by the Achar couple, whose amazing tale I have shared as a stupendous valentines story. It is so befitting that I could not resist meeting with them and getting the material facts in order, to express the magnitude of their affection, minus the hyperbole. It is so very rare to come across a real life story wherein there is absolute abundance of love, courage and sacrifice, bundled as a whole, in the entire family.

viren mayani

This story originates in two separate continents, wherein Pramila Jang in Mauritius and Vasu Achar in Mysore (India), were both pursuing their respective academia. Pramila Achar in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences came to India and got admitted to a University in Mysore where Vasu was also pursuing his graduate studies. Both met, fell in love and once married were seeking a place to begin their lives & careers to build a family. The search began by the couple being invited to South Africa by Vasu's brother. They stayed in Durban for a while and both their sons (Abishek and Abijeet) were born there. To enrich their lives further, they attempted to move and reside in Australia (and even considered a couple other countries) but Pramila could not find a career to her liking. They finally settled for the US, after a short stint in Toronto, Canada. Now in Kennesaw, Georgia; Pramila is a professor at the Kennesaw State University and continues her research as well as teaching and Vasu has a corporate job. His younger son Abijeet, a recent Emmy Award recipient  was recognized in Khabar June 2019.

Also in late 2018 Vasu was diagnosed with a rare Kidney infection wherein the function of his Kidneys were deteriorating at an exponential rate. The top US doctors left him with two choices: either to consider dialysis or find a donor for replacement. Neither of the options were favourable or achievable in the short term; as dialysis becomes a permanent crutch for the kidney function, creating complications in the near future and the lag for the right kidney-match donor is about six to seven years on average. Out of sheer compassionate love, Pramila desired to part with one of her kidneys for Vasu and by Divine grace, albeit from two very different lineages, her kidney matched with very high compatibility. Additionally Vasu's younger son too offered to donate his, but the Father refused his offer saying that he was too young and had his whole life ahead of him and that he; Vasu, would not accept Abijeet's kind but unsettling offer. [Out of respect for the Doctors, the Hospital is intentionally not mentioned here.] The screening process began, whilst the family was awaiting results. Once in, the Hospital, albeit declaring that it is a great match, was concerned because Pramila's kidney had a node that the Hospital Doctor's said would restrict her from donating her Kidney and that the couple should now consider dialysis before things got out of control. Confused between the earlier declaration and the new confinement as well as not being satisfied with the updated information, they trekked to India where Vasu knew a friend, who was now a top surgeon, and requested him to review all of the gathered data.

In the meantime, Abijeet, unbeknownst to his Father, had also undergone the screening process and by sheer Divine magic, was also certified as a great match for his Father's kidney replacement. Armed with that certainty and knowing that Vasu had refuted his offer earlier, out of concern for his well being at such a young age, he issued an ultimatum to his parents: either they sort out a solution quickly and to their satisfaction, or he proceeds to prepare donating his kidney and close the replacement chapter. The group of Indian Doctors including his friend, were absolutely confident of Pramila's match. They confirmed that the node is benign and that a very high percentage of Indian women carry it in their kidneys without issue. Furthermore they agreed to do the transplant in India, in case the group in US remained hesitant.

Returning back to Atlanta they shared their findings with the original group of Doctors at this highly noted Hospital. The Hospital was willing to give it another look and opinion, with the Indian Doctor's input. Eventually they agreed and a transplant surgery was carried out in February of 2019. Vasu was in surgery for more than six hours and simultaneously Pramila was also in the operation theatre for a little more than four. Heightened tensions among family and friends kept all agile but nervous but prayers soothed the tension. The transplant was successful but both were weak and needed the tender loving care. Although the Indian-American community is KSU is small they are a potent and caring family and they all took turns making food for the family, delivering it as well as following up with the couple very regularly.

At this one year anniversary, both seem to be recovering well and the love and respect between them has grown beyond bounds. Albeit monitored quite frequently and regularly, Vasu and Pramila's results are positive and further underscores how truly committed they are to their marriage vows and how lovely the fruits of their love, bear. In frankly discussing the litany of issues they experienced and to demystify such a crucial organ transplant, I learnt of the do's and dont's. Quite candidly both of them explained, having lived through it: it is perfectly "OK" to live with one kidney and if the other can save a life, there couldn't be a better blessing. And that taking more than one opinion is always helpful in these matters and although India may not have the requisite medical technology in place the Indian Medical experts are superbly educated and understand the Indian health nuances extremely well to enable your navigation through life impacting decisions. Where there is a will there is a way.

It is unfathomable to digest the unconditional love. courage and sacrifice this family was willing to endure so that one of theirs is able to extend his life expectancy by a huge stretch. It is very filmy to say: In love I can even give my life: [tere liye jaan de doonga] but is it that simple to part with, let's say one's kidney for real?
God bless this family and may they continue to enjoy life without any further hiccups.