In life, Hari Krishna Arora, the grand old man of Lucknow theatre, excelled in surprising and helping people. In death, he chose to be no different.
The octogenarian actor, popularly known as Hallu Bhaiya, who fell silent forever at his Risaldar Park residence on Wednesday, left behind a will that his body should not be cremated. Instead, he wanted it donated to a medical college so that it could be of some use to medical students. The family honoured his wish, in spite of the emotional pain involved.
So, no last rites were performed. Instead of the priest and a hearse car, a team from an eye bank arrived followed by a vehicle from the KGMU's department of anatomy. The eye bank team first removed Hallu Bhaiya's cornea (the procedure has to be performed within a couple of hours of death). After that, the body, accompanied by the veteran actor's family members and scores of mourners, was taken to KGMU.
There, after completing formalities, the body was handed over to a grateful team of doctors. They felt though Hallu Bhaiya's will was "great", his family members were to be appreciated even more for honouring the wish. "Often, overtaken by emotion, family members are unable to muster the courage to execute a will of this nature. Thus, today's act by Hari Krishna Arora's family is laudable," remarked Prof AK Srivastava of the Anatomy Department.
While he was alive, Hallu Bhaiya was known for helping people. "Even in his death he has helped us a lot. We require about 12 bodies annually for teaching students and conducting medical investigation. We barely manage to get eight bodies. Such gestures are welcome. Bodies sent to us after post-mortem examination are not of much help," Prof Srivastava added.
For family and friends, however, this was not easy. His son Anshumali was aware of his father's wish. So, he decided to honour it. "However, at his residence and even at KGMU, one could see how painful it was for Anshumali as well as for all of us. But, since the will was intended for a noble cause, the family decided to go ahead," said Swadesh Bandhu, theatre artiste and an old friend of Hallu Bhaiya.