Poetry Of A Common Indian Female
“If you want to help someone, don’t go out and shout it to the world.”
Dr. Priyanka Soni Rajpoot took this line very seriously. Priyanka was born to a gynecologist father, and so was familiar with the medical fraternity.
I was about to start the interview and was contemplating how it would turn out. Priyanka on the other hand looked relaxed.
“We usually discussed patients and their problems and medicines and more patients at home so it was natural for me to like the medical field.” She smiled and her eyes sparkled as she said this.
Priyanka spoke in a lucid manner and I kept on listening to her. Priyanka’s unwavering belief towards the social causes she is attached to made me wonder, how does she do it?
You cannot define or compartmentalize life problems to merely financial or emotional.
Sometimes a girl like Priyanka, without a trace of visible problems, can pick up problems from society, work on them with all her might, and yet grow in her personal life. This is the story of one brave girl who went out of her way to give something back to the society from which she has gained a lot.
Gear up people, this one is a doctor’s journey into unchartered territory…which in the end, she made her own.
Born on 16th September 1985; Priyanka was the younger of two children. She has one elder brother whose name is Soham.
“If you ask me what problems I have had since childhood and in becoming a dentist? I would say no major problems.”
“I was highly sensitive to pain. Whether, it was mine or others.”
Life was good for Priyanka, her father is a very famous doctor and a trustee of ‘Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad’- an organization concerned with medical treatment for the needy class and ‘Sahyog Krishtha Yagna Trust’ in Sabarkantha, Gujarat. Her dad provided a good lifestyle to both his children and that allowed them to blossom in each and every area of life.
Little Priyanka was a good child, highly adorable, and completely unaware of the wonderful things she would do in the future.
“At the back of my mind I always knew that I wanted to become a doctor. Which field? I was unaware.”
There is a very famous saying in Gujarati – you don’t need to paint peacock’s eggs! This Hindu saying held true for Priyanka. She was already fated to be a doctor.
“I finished my education in Himmatnagar, Gujarat and after my 12th standard, there came a time when I had to choose- what to study further?”
Priyanka was in a dilemma; she was not sure of which doctor stream to go for. Being a very creative person since childhood, Priyanka also considered doing theater.
“In my school days I was into plays. Once I became a tree (she laughs) and gradually I started getting other roles.”
Although, Priyanka liked the stage and theater a lot, she was skeptical of it as a career.
“I thought of it once, but immediately decided against it, since I knew people around me would not approve of it and personally also, I did not like the idea of full time theater.”
So, after many days of thinking and pondering over many different options, Priyanka chose dentistry. A profession charged with making people smile better; in which, Priyanka was already an expert.
“I went to Rajasthan for my dentistry course with the dream of becoming a good dentist and helping as many people as possible.” This decision of choosing dentistry from the wide array of medical fields available changed Priyanka’s life for the better.
“I always liked making people smile, so I thought why not to do something which will keep that smile intact, and earn through it. Though, the money part was not that important!” says Priyanka, explaining the reason behind choosing the profession.
You might think what an ordinary story? Every other girl is doing this, right?
Ok! Let’s begin proving you wrong.
Her life at dental college in Rajasthan started on a good note. She was studious and got through the tough subjects of dentistry quite easily.
“I graduated in 2008 with good marks and overwhelming excitement!”
Every diamond needs polishing, and to polish her skills Priyanka started working at a trust hospital in Himmatnagar along with many other trainees.
“The people we catered to were mostly from backward and needy classes. Usually they did not have any money; and most of them worked for daily wages ,which ranged from Rs.100/- to Rs.200/-; I worked there, because I really liked taking away pain from those people, and while doing this noble work, I felt content.”
The people Priyanka is referring to here are people who could not even think of going to a private dentist, because the doctor’s one time fees would be equal to their earnings of five days. Even the thought of entering a private dentist’s door would haunt them for many days. Usually these were people who did not take any precautions for their teeth, and so they required the most amount of oral care.
“I had seen people (read, rich people who can afford it) spending thousands on their teeth and oral care, but spending that much was just not possible for the patients at our trust hospital.”
Priyanka worked relentlessly at the trust hospital, curing as many patients as possible while at the same time creating a friendly, peaceful and loving environment, which was her specialty.
“The old, poor uncles and aunties or even younger people whom I treated were very happy, since they felt that they are getting world class treatment done at almost no cost.”
Priyanka was learning the intricate details of dentistry on site. For e.g. extracting a tooth to receding gum lines, tooth cavities, dentures(artificial teeth)…etc. helping her get ready for her future.
“People loved me because I was friendly yet strict with the patients. I could scold them if they were not following what I said; and I could make them smile also when they were in intense pain.”
This quality of Priyanka was (still is) truly remarkable. People from different parts of Himmatnagar who could not afford a private clinic came searching for Priyanka.
“As I told you, I was not earning, but I was quite content at the job that I was doing. Making people free from the pain was and still is a real high for me.”
Although, Priyanka loved each and every day of her job, something was troubling her.
“See, I was happy. But I was concerned about my growth. I learned a lot at the trust hospital, but the opportunities for understanding and implementing the latest trends and techniques of the dental world were far and few.”
Priyanka kept doing this job for some time, until one day she realized that she wanted to grow and learn new things, so that she can widen her horizons.
“I decided to quit and move to a bigger city. I wanted to see how I fare there. Will I be able to perform to the best of my ability?” she said, “Will I become a better doctor?”
So, finally in 2009, after her brief stay at Himmatnagar trust hospital, Priyanka moved to Ahmedabad.
“I was young and full of energy; I started looking out for jobs.”
As simple as it sounds, it was not that easy.
“I was searching for jobs, but the better jobs were very few. I wanted a nice place to work, where I could learn.”
As I told you in the beginning, Priyanka’s father was associated with ‘Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad’, and ‘Sahyog Krishtha Yagna Trust’-these organizations used to arrange camps for the poor and needy classes.
“One day my dad told me to, get ready to go on a camp.”
I told you earlier, these camps were non-profit. You do not earn anything but at the same time you earn a lot. Confused?
“I was seeking jobs; going to a camp meant there would be a break.”
Priyanka thought about it and decided to go on a camp with her dad and make him proud.
“The first time I went to the camp; I cannot describe in words what I felt.”
Priyanka was overwhelmed by the disease and illness that prevailed amongst those people. She being a very emotional person was saddened by what she saw.
“I was moved to tears when I saw some patients in bad shape. Old ladies with tons of life experience- their wrinkles said it all. Some old men with receding hairlines and bad oral condition-which clearly indicated the kind of life they have had due to lack of money. Some needed oral care, some females needed gynecology care and we even found a leprosy case there.”
Priyanka along with her dad and team of doctors started providing treatment to the patients.
“We made them sit on plastic chairs inside an old school. And one by one the team started their work. Whatever the illness was, we were fully equipped, with people and with instruments.”
The amount of happiness and job satisfaction that Priyanka felt is beyond words. She was so involved in treating those poor Vanvasi patients that she sometimes forgot the passage of time.
“After my first experience in the camp I thanked God for making me a doctor; and most importantly, for giving me the opportunity to treat those people.”
The good service does not stop there. The team of doctors gives required supply of nutrients to the children, and supply of free medicines post-camp. The patients who are not cured at the camp are called to the trust hospital in Himmatnagar and given treatment, then sometimes without charging them any fees. And for the duration of the patient’s stay at the hospital, the food is sent from Priyanka’s house.
“I really like this idea- doctors going to patients; not the other way around. And that’s what I think is required. There is a lack of channel for poor people to access medical care. They simply do not know where to go. We, in our own small way, try to cure as many people as possible.”
I can see Priyanka’s face, which beams with excitement as she talks about the camps. We need more doctors like you Priyanka!
Well, the camps were over and Priyanka was back in Ahmedabad, looking for a job. She found one at a private hospital.
“Honestly, without much difficulty I landed a job for myself. It was 2009 and I started working. The work was the same but the big difference was people. Here I had to deal with people who would have a phone, which is no less than an I -Phone, and generally a car which is no less than an Audi.”
Priyanka, used to treating patients with love and care had to deploy new policies here.
“Although it came naturally to me, being friendly with people, here I had to be completely artificial. Nobody encouraged developing a close relationship between patients and doctors. I felt odd; this was not the style of work I was used to doing.”
Priyanka felt awkward at times treating people who were high on money but low on E.Q (emotional quotient).
The biggest lessons of life, Priyanka learned here and how!
“Some people, while undergoing dental cosmetic treatment at the private hospital, would call their drivers and tell them to bring cash which generally was no less than Rs.10,000 or Rs.15,000. I do not have a problem with that. But, upon seeing that I was reminded of my people at our trust hospital in Himmatnagar, where the patients sometimes would not come to hospital for their treatment which would only cost them a mere Rs.30 or max Rs.50.”
“But why? Why would they not come? Since the treatment was so cheap.” I asked, trying to understand this unusual behavior of patients at the trust hospital.
Priyanka’s answer shook me completely! As sometimes it happens; a single thought can change your way of looking at the world. What Priyanka said completely shifted my thinking into a new consciousness.
“Because, that small amount of Rs.30 or Rs.50 was their single day’s earning. And if they would spend it on treatment, what would they eat? People are that poor, in those areas.”
I could not say anything. Priyanka’s answer left me speechless! Numb to the core. What an imbalance we have in our society and the world. I am not trying to be moral or something, but I think that each and every citizen of India should be given basic medical treatment without too much hassle. And right now there is a huge gap that the poor have to face.
We need infrastructure, a proper one, so that we can create a bridge between the poor and their basic needs. Okay, let’s move ahead in the life of our wonderful Dr.Priyanka.
During her time at the private hospital, Priyanka learned a lot about the dentistry world, the tricks of the trade and the intricate details of cosmetic dentistry. But once again, there was something else that was troubling her.
“I was young and hungry for new knowledge. I was finding it slightly difficult to cope with working under someone, working hard and yet they do not praise you. I cried sometimes, I just could not take the cold treatment from people who didn’t understand human behavior. So, one fine day, I decided to quit.”
That was it! Priyanka gave up her job, and started seriously thinking about, her future course of action. Priyanka being a strong, passionate girl decided that come what may, she would do something of her own. The idea of setting up her own venture captured Priyanka’s imagination.
The year was 2010, and what started as a mere thought began transforming itself into reality.
“I decided that I wanted to set up my own clinic. I had the required experience and a human touch, which I think is very important. (She smiles). I discussed it with my father and he instantly agreed to help.”
You have to have a business plan clear in your head before setting up any venture. Both the avenues of investment and return should be well defined. Although, Priyanka was a very smart and intelligent girl, she was yet inexperienced in doing business.
“I had no idea of where to draw the finances from or how to go about it. It was then that a superhero came into the picture. Yes, the superhero was my dad. He helped me out with most of these things.”
It was time for Priyanka to understand how the world works on a grass-root level. And the number of obstacles you have to face before opening up your venture. “My father helped me in getting a loan from a reputed bank; and I was prepared to open my own clinic. Can you imagine? My own clinic!” says Priyanka with childlike excitement. Her eyes speak a lot more than her words.
Finances done, other government approval under process, and Priyanka was highly nervous!
“Obviously I would be nervous. It was the first time for me to be doing something this big, opening my own clinic!”
“Right from purchasing the required instruments to finding a perfect place to open the clinic, I wanted it to be perfect.”
The only thing which remained was that Priyanka did not think of a name for the clinic. She was yet to decide. Although it was a trivial question, it did trouble Priyanka.
Priyanka’s elder brother Soham is an engineer. And he is very close to Priyanka. One day while someone was calling out to Soham at home, it struck Priyanka! This was the name she was looking for. Soham meant ‘Heal from within’. A perfect name for a dental clinic, that’s what she thought.
Finally, after a lot of hard work and struggle and patience, in december 2010, Priyanka started her own dental clinic- ‘SOHAM DENTAL CARE’ in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
“I couldn’t believe it happened! I was too numb to think of anything else.”
The clinic became fully operational and Priyanka started working relentlessly day in and day out.
“It was difficult initially. I was not a famous doctor and my clinic was not situated at the center of the city; so, the footfalls were less initially.”
This did not discourage Priyanka even a little bit. She was mentally focused on making the clinic work and doing quality work for her patients. And don’t forget the camps she used to work at, free of cost! She still does that.
Funnily, some (rich) patients would ask her, “do you also charge for just examining the teeth?”
Priyanka would look at them in awe. “I thought if I do some treatment, then only you would charge,” the patient would say. Completely baffled, Priyanka would stare at them and with a warm smile she would say, “two hundred rupees please.”
Funny incidents like these happen but Priyanka laughs it off and continues to work very hard at the clinic.
“Basically I have two types of patients. People who are extremely rich and others who do not have that much money. But I treat both the classes with equal care.”
You don’t need to tell us that Priyanka. After hearing your story till now, my readers and I have understood how caring you are.
“The people who do not have money for treatment; like servants in the surrounding area, watchmen, maids etc. they come to me in intense pain and tell me that they would not be able to afford it.”
We all know how Priyanka is. The slightest sound of the word ‘pain’ and Priyanka’s ears instantly capture that.
“To these people, I tell them that they should not worry about the treatment, and the money part; I would charge them at subsidized rates.”
What a wonderful gesture by Priyanka. Although she has opened the clinic for earning; as we all work to earn, upon seeing people who could not afford the treatment, Priyanka’s heart cries for them; and she is wholeheartedly willingly to operate them at subsidized rates, that too sometimes in installments.
“I feel true happiness in it, I counsel all my patients very well. And I think that’s why today I have many patients liking my work. In some families I treat up to three generations. That includes the grandfather-grandmother, the dad-mom, and their children; and as I told you, sometimes their servants also.” (She blushes)
“I always felt that a job is a job. And you always must think of starting something of your own. You will face difficulties but in the end you will be happy. You, yourself will be in charge of you.”
“My dad always told me that to sustain any business there is a rule, ‘1000 days of work’ and if you sustain for this period you would sail through. And, I would like to tell you that I am nearing my 1000 days.” Priyanka says with a big smile on her face. And she looks beautiful while smiling. Not to forget, she is beautiful at heart also.
“My dad is my hero and guide. I love him a lot; my mother unconditionally loved and supported me. I cannot imagine a day without her. My brother is adorable.”
Are we missing something? Priyanka is!
“How did I not ask it earlier? How did you meet him?” I asked.
“He was my best friend’s brother. And we mutually liked each other. So one fine day we both (Actually I) confessed our feelings for each other.”
In December 2012, Priyanka got married to Chahal Rajpoot. He is a business man from Ahmedabad.
“Has life changed after marriage?” I asked.
“No, in fact I do love each and every second of it.”
Today, Priyanka regularly attends the camps arranged by ‘Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad’ and ‘Sahyog Krishtha Yagna Trust’. And she along with her team has till now treated thousands of poor people by going and helping them.
Priyanka’s life has been good. But the way she has gone out and reached to people who need her, is truly remarkable. Not many have the heart and the guts do that.
My interview is complete. And I prepare to get up. You might be thinking, after reading all the stories till now, as per habit, I would ask my last question. But, no… I had asked everything of Priyanka.
“Bye take care Priyanka. Keep up the good work.” I said.
“Bye, thank you very much.” Priyanka said.
“I should be the one who should be saying thank you.” I said feeling inspired after hearing her story.
I did a gesture of a Namaste and as she walked me to the door, the question just popped in my head. I smiled at myself, thought for a second and finally asked her, “What made you feel that you really had to help those Vanvasi people in Sabarkantha, when for the first time you visited the camp?”
I was expecting an instant reply. But, I was made to wait for a few seconds. Finally, after getting lost in her thoughts for a while, she spoke, which summed up everything so far…
“I saw that they could not even afford the bus journey to the hospital. And it was my duty as a doctor to help them.”
If you want to buy this book please visit this link: http://bit.ly/PoetryOfACommonIndianFemale
About the Author: Virendra Desai, is an Advanced Business Strategy Advisor & Subliminal Communication expert. You can write to the author at [email protected]