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A doctor with an infectious smile: Dr. Om Shrivastava

Monday, April 16, 2018
By Devika Patel

Our in-house former pageant queen and member of social scene royalty, Devika Patel is more than just finesse and finer things. This Mumbai lover is a former Film Censor Board member and Sociology graduate. She welcomes readers to her favourite corner in The Afternoon D&C where she chats with friends and fabulous folk.

When you meet him for the first time, he comes through as a refined and a sensitive young man. Five minutes of conversation with him makes you realise that he comes from a very aristocratic and a highly educated background. Also professionally he has chosen a road not trodden by many doctors. He has opted to specialize in Infectious diseases

Om was born in Jounpur U.P. He was the youngest child in the family with four elder sisters to fuss over their only brother. His father was an Income Tax commissioner who was transferred to Bombay where Om studied at Hill Grange School. He went to Karad to study medicine. After finishing post-graduation in medicine from there , he went to Sydney and trained in infectious diseases and immunology. He met his wife Penelope, through a common friend in Sydney, and after a short courtship they got married. She was an Art Curator with Sotheby's and dealt with paintings and sculptures. They returned to Bombay in end 2004 and he joined H N Hospital. Then he joined other South Bombay hospitals. He has two children Prithviraj and Indravardhan who currently study in Cathedral School in Mumbai.

"When you opted for such a, may I say dangerous field, were you not scared of contracting the illness? Especially certain illnesses for which no cure has yet been found?"I asked.

"The concern of getting infections is always there but one has to take care of it."He replied cautiously.

"My experience with patients has been fantastic. Every patient has been a teacher. " He narrated a story of a young patient, "There was this young girl with T.B. involving several organs, from brain to spine, lungs, guts, kidneys bones disseminated T.B., she came from a top political family from M.P. She was told after taking many opinions that she'd be bedridden for the rest of her life and the expected survival was for about four months. As it turned out that the family was able to convert a large part of their home into an ICU. She required about two years of anti T.B. therapy and immuno-modulation. She now walks with no help. Sometimes you need to look at infection, nutrition, rehabilitation and immune strengthening. She'll need time for total recovery, but recover she will."

This dignified, charming and capable doctor is a cut above many of them, especially physicians of the same age group, so there is bound to be the green-eyed monster lurking around but he handles the situation with a lot of maturity. When I asked him  about it, he quickly replied, " To recognise jealousy is to give unnecessary importance to negative people and negative sentiment. It may be there but I'm oblivious to it".

"How do you relax?" I asked

"I have mental boundary about finishing work and leaving it there. I am also clear that beyond my efforts there is a will of the universe and the good lord that I will not be able to change. I tend to spend time with my family at my club. I play table tennis, cricket and basketball with my sons and invariably get beaten by them. I am an avid reader when I can find the time. I enjoy reading a mix of fiction, biographies and music. I enjoy listening to Abida Parveen, Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali.

"What is it that makes you uncomfortable in your personal life? Where do you go when depressed? Which is your sad corner?" I fired many questions together.

"I am not a person who gets depressed easily. I find that inequality and suffering by children are the two major areas where I'd like to make a difference. I tend to spend time talking to myself and sorting out mental cobwebs. I find that an uncluttered mind will get rid of most ideas of limitations. Like Rudyard Kipling's 'Rikki-Tikki-Tawi'it is impossible for me to be apprehensive or afraid beyond a point. One has to be by oneself to reason it out and solitude works the best. The solutions to what is acceptable to your soul , come best when you come face to face with your conscience wherever you are. You can have solitude in a crowd as well. This state is my banished sad corner"

"What about your happy corner?"

"Generally speaking one is able to make a difference in situations which are difficult, yet taught by time my heart has learned to glow at others good and melt at others' woes. I have the ability to simplify a grievous situation simply by having a still mind and this still mind is my happy corner."

Hi Friends! Each of us has that one corner where we feel happy, comfortable and most importantly, secure. The corner can be a physical corner like a part of your home say, a window, a balcony, a garden and so on. It can be a restaurant where you enjoy your favourite food or a resort where you can relax and be at peace with yourself. It can be an ashram or a pub, a mountain or a beach. Your favourite corner may even change from time to time depending on various factors. I shall periodically introduce you to people from different walks of life and their special nooks that make them who they are.
 - Devika

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