"When I graduated medical school, my mother told me two things. First, when I was born she cried. She cried not with happiness, but cried because I was a girl child and she wanted a boy."
“If I had to, I’d summarize my journey so far as ‘turning my pain into my purpose, and ultimately into my power.’
Being the second girl child in a Punjabi household had unfortunately subjected me to strings of sexist comments and judgements. I felt the need to constantly prove myself every single day.
When I graduated medical school, my mother told me two things. First, when I was born she cried. She cried not with happiness, but cried because I was a girl child and she wanted a boy. She didn’t really want me, but had no choice really. Second, she was now proud of me. She was proud that I am her daughter and that I too can fulfill all her dreams.
The first statement impacted me more than the second one.
Since then, we’ve been through a few psychotherapy sessions together. I now share a reasonably pleasant and casual relationship with my parents and other relatives, but a wound that stems in your childhood never really goes away, does it? Not being wanted is a hard feeling. For a while now, I’ve had mental health struggles due to a number of such experiences and through them, I’ve learnt an awful lot about human nature.
I turned my pain into my purpose when I decided to become a pediatrician. The desire to work closely with children stemmed from the hurt I felt as a child; I wanted to make sure no child ever felt what I did. Children are the most wonderful and innocent beings who make you believe in magic. They bounce back from setbacks quickly and are so full of love to give, which makes us hopeful for a better tomorrow.
Recently, on Raksha Bandhan, a young child from the Pediatric Oncology ward made a rakhi for me and tied it on my wrist. For me, that wasn’t just a ritual, but a realization that it is my duty to protect them and care for them. I get to be the adult for them that I wish I had to look up to, when I was young. Small acts of kindness can make someone’s day and that is what I live by.”