<%-- Page Title--%> Personality <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 158 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 11, 2004

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A role Model and Friend

Kavita Charanji

Mother's Day went by recently. I thought of writing a piece but the inspiration just wasn't there. Today, three weeks later, I feel it is time to talk about this remarkably talented, affable woman doctor who has steered her family through the ups and downs of life. In the process, I hope to be able to express my gratitude to my role model and friend. As I write this, the memories come flooding back: my mother, tenderly looking after me when I saw ill, welcoming my friends, gathering resources so that I could have a contented childhood.

My parents were far from affluent in my younger days. My mother, a radiologist and my father, an Indian Air Force officer, had to scrimp and save to see my brother and me through school. I distinctly remember the time when I demanded to go to Kashmir for camp along with my school friends. Somehow they granted this unreasonable request by putting together enough money for me to make the trip. She was always there through my adolescence and adulthood. I recall how she looked after me as a I recovered from an appendix operation, extending the ambit of her care to my two children, and being a confidante always.

She reached the upper rungs of her profession as a radiologist. For years I have watched her read X-rays in the Delhi hospital where she worked most of her life and now for charitable organisations. She became professor of radiology at a time when few women in India used to work. Who would have believed that she had no clear ambition when she was a young woman but was motivated to take up the medical profession by her father? In addition to her work, she is a talented designer, cook, gardening expert and dispenser of advice on medical ailments. Old photographs of her medical college days show her in stylish clothes. Her interest in cooking makers her a popular hostess and she is a member of the local kitchen garden association. One only has to go to her house to realise that she is a woman of many facets.

To her other achievements, she adds a cheerful disposition. This quality has enabled the family to steer through troubled times -- be it illness, job or inter personal problems. Who else could have withstood pressure and yet come out the winner through her grit and resilience?

When my children were born, she played that role of grandmother to a hilt. Through the colic, chicken pox and viral fever days, she helped me tend to them. When I restarted work in a magazine, the children would be with her after school and it is thanks to her that I could work. She took a delight in playing and talking to the children. It is thanks to her and my father, that my son and daughter have been lucky to grow up in and extended family. There have been glitches, of course. But my mother's unfailing optimism has seen us all through.

Now in her late '70s my mother has slowed down a little. Yet she is a popular figure in the neighbourhood, with the bridge group, Yoga friends and family members. It is difficult to find the words to express my gratitude but think a simple thank you will have to do.




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