Tripti Sharan, is a doctor and a writer in her moments of introspection.
She loves to write on ‘doctors’ and ‘women’. In her latest book ‘House of Doctors’ by Readomania, she takes us on an exciting journey to reveal all that goes inside a medical school, making people aware of the trial and tribulations faced by young medicos in their quest to be known as the lifesavers.
Earlier, her struggle in getting past the misogyny that exists in our society led her to penning her thoughts in her first book ‘Chronicles of a Gynaecologist’ published by Bloomsbury India.
Writing defines her and makes her world happier.
Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I am a doctor, a gynaecologist by profession and work as a senior consultant at BLK super speciality hospital, New Delhi. At other times I am a reader, writer, thinker and dreamer.
My dual role of a doctor-author is something that instils me with a much greater responsibility but I value that a lot and it stays very close to my heart.
Having worked in both government and later private hospitals I’ve had a close brush with both the worlds. Obstetrics remains my first love and though it’s a challenging branch with long and stressful working hours, it brings meaning and objectivity to my life.
If obstetrics teaches me that life can be most unpredictable, it is surgery that teaches me patience and continues to transform my imagination.
I had a slightly nomadic but a very indulged childhood. I was born in Patna in a family of theosophists. My father’s work as an archeologist, took us all over India. I still carry the rich and versatile experience of our diverse country and its amazing culture. I also learnt to flaunt in front of my friends, our stay in the historical monuments during my summer holidays .
I can boast of good literary genes and my first introduction to the literature was not in school textbooks but over animated discussions at home. In those warm summer holidays when the electricity would also play truant, and people would huddle together to play cards, I could be seen leafing through the newspaper and noting down the daily quotes. I was never a tomboy, rather loved playing with dolls and still get nostalgic over doll weddings.
One could also find me perched over the lower branches of the guava tree, singing at the top of my voice, the national anthem amongst all the other songs they taught at school. Those were the days, when holidays were spent with cousins, school meant studying till school time and then playing in the parks till it was either dark or the parents’ angry voices calling back.
Though I grew up in a typical Bihari household eating rice and fish, I can easily trade places to be at the chaat wala anytime. Just like life, I love my food all spiced up.
The only regret I have is that I was never sporty, a price I paid later in life.
Medicine was never my first choice. I am an ‘accidental doctor’. I always wanted to graduate from IIT and later join the civil services. But destiny had different plans for me.
I was recently conferred ‘Global Youth Icon Award 2018’ by Writers Capital Foundation for my work in literature and in serving humanity. I was also adjudged as the ‘Inspiring Gynaecologist of north India 2018’ by Economic Times , health world.
I am married to a paediatric intensivist, and am a full-time mother to two teen-aged boys. Pursuing my passion and profession together, is akin to constantly living on the edge but it only serves to inspire me more.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
I have been dabbling with both prose and poetry. My literary avatar started with ‘Dewdrops…a journey begins’, a collection of poems which was adjudged the best anthology in English poetry (2015) by ‘Aagman’ literary group and moved ahead with my next volume, ‘Shadows of a fading twilight’.
In my first book as an author, ‘Chronicles of a Gynaecologist’(2016) which was based on real life experiences, I tried to decipher the conundrum of a woman’s life at every step. Apart from writing for everylifecounts.ndtv.com and TheBetterIndia, where I showcase the myriad issues that plague women, I am also a blogger with webzines, and contribute to anthologies and publications.
I have especially been vocal about promoting the cause of menopausal women and raising awareness about another rising global epidemic , teenage pregnancy
I recently came up with another autobiographical book ‘House of Doctors’ that traces the arduous yet exciting journey of a medical student offering insights into all that goes behind making of a doctor.
Apart from that my profession keeps adding stories for the Chronicles of a Gynecologist Part 2. One day I dream of writing something along the lines of Eric Segal’s ‘Doctors’.
And in between I write poems to rejuvenate my soul. Writing makes my world happier and more spiritual.
I am currently working on my next book ‘Anecdotes of a Medico’, a medical thriller based upon “NiPah, a viral outbreak’ and another volume of poems ‘Radha’. My tryst with literature continues.
Recently I took upon the cause of children appearing for competitive exams. The regular school going children are being subjected to a very unfair competition because of a culture of ‘dummy schools’ , a very different kind of cheating that has made competition unequal and tough. The competitive exams that are programmed to fail rather than succeed, and the paucity of seats have driven children to these dummy schools, away from their home and the despite legal restriction because of paucity of seats.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Success is a relative term. But I have reached this place by hard work and determination.
Right from the beginning the major roadblock has been health issues of self and my close family members. At a time when most people were devoting their time to their careers I was struggling with health issues at home.
I learned the value of healthy eating and physical exercise when I lost my mother to chronic kidney disease. This was the same time when I too battled with an early onset diabetes. I realized the havoc an unhealthy lifestyle can cause to our lives.
Now an ardent swimmer and a fitness freak, I educate people the value of exercising and leading healthy life. I try to make them aware of the impact of stress and lifestyle on our lives and the burden of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases that even a poor country like ours’ reels from.
An empowered woman is the face of a healthy civilisation and I hoped to empower women by promoting health and awareness. But my biggest challenge has been getting past stereotypes and misogyny prevalent in the society. The difficulties in combatting prejudices and the social bigotry that I faced led me to penning my thoughts.
‘Women’ the largest resource of this country lie untapped because of traditional gender roles. Motherhood remains the central role of majority and is their only definition leading to much psychological problems. Most homemakers suffer from a lack of identity.
Another thing that troubled me has been the hierarchy and favouritism that exists in every system including medicine. Right from my medical school days when ‘gold medals’ were the birth-right of the children of our professors I realised the anguish this ‘medal’ culture had on the psyche of students. Thankfully competitive exams happened taking away much of the sheen from all these medals but I still carry a deep aversion to most awards given in this country.
It was my search for senior residency and later for a government job that proved to be an uphill task. It was my first brush with corruption and I realised how deep rooted and extensive were the tentacles. The way things worked and how professionals were exploited by doling contractual posts made me cringe and I gave up upon my dreams of a government job.
Contrary to popular perception, private sector came to my rescue and gave me the liberty to walk on my chosen path. It had its shortcoming but then it was here that one could save young lives using every available resource and technology. Can there be any high greater than saving lives?
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
When I picked up my pen couple of years back, it was not to prove myself as an author or to create a niche in the literary scale. It was to convey the realities that breathe behind the sanitised walls of a hospital. I didn’t worry about the consequences. I wanted to break some stereotypes. The first and foremost being that doctors were not sensitive people. To the world we might show a tough exterior but that’s a professional compulsion. The root of medicine is nurtured by love , compassion and sensitivity.
Moreover these are troubled times, where so much is being said everywhere that ‘truth’ becomes a myth. We keep hearing what the patients and the media talk about doctors but we rarely hear what the
doctors feel about their patients. I wanted to build a bridge between the medical and the non-medical world. My mission is almost accomplished when someone writes to me that ‘they never knew doctors could feel like this , or that this has changed the way they perceived the doctors’.
To me that’s my biggest personal achievement , beyond professional ones.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I have a streak of ‘activism’ in my blood. Professional and personal commitments keep that in check but in another time, another place I would have gone whole heartedly into it. Social injustice, corrupt politics and gender discrimination provokes me no ends and I would dedicate my life fighting against these
Music has enthralled me but its one thing that I have never explored. I come from a family where almost everyone is good with vocals and instruments. If not a doctor-author, I would have definitely been drawn towards music.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My profession has been my biggest inspiration. The tenacity of a doctor to take upon unforeseen challenges, in a battle that tests your resolve against the almighty itself has been awe inspiring.
Nothing can bring more meaning and objectivity than saving lives. Their mettle to survive in a hostile environment , dwindling infrastructure, in a world full of hope , anxiety and despair is a test of human perseverance and has taught me beyond medical textbooks.
Another set of people who fill me with lot of respect are our freedom fighters. I envy their zeal in fighting against the mighty British empire. Their sacrifice shall remain supreme and if I live long enough to be in a time machine, these are the people I would first go back to meet.
What does the future hold for you?
I would love to be in a space where I can use my profession to fulfil my passion.
I aspire to work for the underprivileged and contribute to ‘safe motherhood’ despite my compulsions of working in a corporate setup and the necessity of earning my living.
And while I am still struggling to find my spiritual self in a material world full of expectations and compulsions I would love to knock a balance one day. take a book, a backpack and explore the world.
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