The Right Medicine
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23 June 2010
By Medha Dutta
A city band comprising doctor–musicians are using their music to work for social causes. PT reports on the unusual act
AS the clock strikes ten at night, one room of cancer surgeon Dr Kamlesh Bokil’s house comes alive. The soundproof room is abuzz with the sounds of various musical instruments. What would a cancer surgeon want with music, you may wonder? Welcome to Let’s Act, a charitable trust founded by our city doctors that aims at providing free treatment to needy patients. The members of the trust have an orchestra through which they help raise money. In fact, Marathi film music director Anand Modak has extended his help to the group.
Dr Bokil, who plays the guitar for the band, says, "Right now, there are about 15 members. But, the numbers keep changing as per the availability of all the doctors. The satisfaction we have derived from benefitting patients has been immense." What prompted them to start a band? Radiologist
Dr Supriya Gadekar, a talented singer who has also received a major award, says, "Most of us had known each other in college where we often performed together. After leaving college, all of us got busy in our respective careers. But, we always wanted to perform again and, at the same time, we were not interested in money. So, we decided to form this trust. Through this, not only do we get to make use of our talent, but we also channelise the profits towards a worthy cause."
The band that sings all kinds of songs, right from old and new Bollywood music to Marathi film music as also Marathi ghazals and bhav–geet, performs frequently round the year. They perform at many charities, fund–raisers and at most medical celebrations too. Paedriatic surgeon Dr Dasmit Singh, who is the percussionist, opines, "We doctors have to live with a very tense atmosphere at work. So, it’s a great stress–buster. There are all kinds of doctors in the group – homoeopaths, allopaths, and ayurveds! The fact that we are doctors, gives a touch of novelty to our group. People appreciate what we do, and this helps us with our charity."
When do they practise? Dr Gadekar chips in, "Oh, we don’t exactly get time to practise that often, as should be the case. We generally practise a month before any show." Dr Bokil adds, "The practice sessions are mostly on Tuesdays and Fridays, 10 pm onwards. And, it goes on till way past midnight. In fact, the practice sessions are more fun than the shows."
So, how has the medical fraternity in general taken to this novel concept? Dr Bokil says, "They have been very helpful. Our general aim per show is to be able to fund the medical expenses of at least three patients up to a certain level. We don’t give them the money, but rather get a part of the treatment done. Or at times, we even request the doctor handling the case to make it a charity case, to which mostly they agree. Even the pharmaceutical dealers have been very helpful, as also the paramedics.
They give us concessions for charity. At times, a few patients too act as donors. It is heartening to be able to help those who need it in any small way we can."
Much has been written and re–written about doctors and their invaluable service to society – but words can never be enough to express the gratitude we really feel.