A Value-Oriented Life
Chatting with the young, cheerful oncosurgeon Dr Neha Bhargava is uplifting as her zest for life is infectious while her humility and determination is inspiring. The downto- earth doctor loves music and dance and fervently wishes to serve society to the best of her abilities. A quick chat with the doting mom and caring physician, who practises in Dhantoli, NagpurBy Anila Mathew Vivek
How would you describe yourself?
I am very passionate when it comes to work, life, love…. I am very committed to achieving my goals. And I am pretty organised.
How do you generally unwind at the end of a tiring day at work?
What works for me is a lot of good music, dancing and playing with my two-and-a-halfyear- old daughter
Who would you say has inspired you the most in your life?
My parents, both of whom practise medicine. My father, Dr Varun Bhargav, was the first person who told me how each one of us is unique and blessed and we just have to find the purpose in our lives. He guided me a lot; my values, goals, the passion… all come from him. My mother is so hardworking, I haven’t reached there yet.
Outside the OPD, what keeps you busy? Are you involved in projects or initiatives apart from work?
A lot of my interest is in preventive oncology. I regularly do public seminars to sensitise Indian women about screening. Unfortunately, all women are inherently at risk for breast and cervix cancer just because we have these organs. Men, on the other hand, if they just stop smoking and drinking alcohol, they wouldn’t have 95 per cent of cancers. I always tell them so. Apart from that, we also have an NGO, called Peace, which is about promoting ethics and continuing education.
We have started Peace chapters in school and we are letting little children imbibe ethics. We also run the Vidarbha Institute of Medical Sciences. It is a finishing school for all medical and paramedical students, where we provide 6-month courses for students of pharmacology, medicine or nurses, who require training in emergency medicine or critical medicine or CPR. We are also planning on introducing courses in home care services, which includes geriatric medicine, taking care of bedridden patients, etc. These are add-on to degrees that give professionals practical knowledge and help them earn a little more too.
Which is your all-time favourite book/movie ?
I am yet to find my favourite book! Presently I am more into reading pre-kindergarten stuff with my kid. I am a total Bollywood freak. I love Maine Pyaar Kiya, Amar Akbar Anthony… I must have watched them umpteen times.
If not a doctor, what would your preferred career choice be?
I think I would have become a bureaucrat, with the same aim of service.
What is your idea of a great holiday? Which is your favourite holiday destination?
I think good food, good weather and good company is necessary. I think my favourite destination is Zurich.
Most of us have, what we’d like to call, a ‘ritual’ where we treat ourselves to a cup of tea, read, or meditate. Do you have one such ritual that you make sure to carry out every day, no matter what?
My father taught me early in life that you should write your own prayer. So I do a small prayer recitation, do some yoga and then I decide three non-negotiable tasks which I have to do each day. I think the way you start your day makes a huge impact on the rest of the day. As an onco-surgeon, you have to put in 110% and be 110% efficient every day. So I think it helps me focus a lot. It makes life easier and you don’t tend to procrastinate.
Despite swamped schedules, how do you strike the right balance between professional and personal life?
No, there is no balance! When it comes to serving people, whether it is medicine or defence, there cannot be a balance. But I just double up the love and fun… whatever little time I get to spend with my daughter. I would like to share a quote by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who visited us at Care Hospitals once: “You are the chosen, lucky people who can heal other people. And just imagine you are being paid for it!” I think that is how the medical field should be seen.
Achievements you hold close to your heart.
I am too young to state any achievements. But I think I know my values. I am going towards my goal with those values and I am sure one day I will find purpose to my life too. I keep telling people, ‘Before I die, I have to do research in oncology and give something back to the world’.