Doctors’ Day Out
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01 July 2010
By Faye Monteiro
One would think that clinical practice would leave absolutely no energy for doctors to practise a hobby. On Doctor’s Day, these doctors will leave you surprised at the talent they nurture along with their hectic profession
As children, most of us discover hobbies by chance or because we are egged on by our parents in order to ‘keep busy’. From drawing to learning tennis to dance or even collecting coins; many of these ‘pass times’ form an important part of our childhood and youth that once we’re adults stay with us as stark nostalgic reminders of a cherished time. But how many of us go on to pursue these hobbies as adults alongside our hectic professions?
A doctor’s profession comes with years of gruelling preparation since youth that leaves no time to harbour the desire to pursue a hobby alongside. However, with a little determination and dash of multitasking, pursuing a hobby alongside a profession can become a piece of cake even for a doctor.
Starting his training in Indian classical music as a child, Dr Anil Tibrewala, consulting plastic surgeon, trained for 14 years in the art, before giving it up during his medical school years. "But it was during my first year science when my interest in western music began. I loved listening to and singing songs by Cliff Richard, Dire Straits and ofcourse the Beatles." That came in handy when he met Dr Abhay Nene, spine specialist, and realised that they shared the same interest. He now sings in Dr Nene’s band called ‘Friends’.
Dr Abhay Nene, spine specialist, began his hobby right from his days in junior college. "Singing and playing the guitar were always my passion. Along with a couple of musical friends at the medical college, we formed a band called ‘Rales and Ronchii’, which are the sounds a doctor hears through the stethoscope."
Eventually, a few doctors from the band quit. Today, Dr Nene’s band, ‘Friends’ consists of individuals from other professions as well. "Because of our commitment and enthusiasm, we even perform at Not just Jazz by the Bay."
Whilst some hobbies are discovered through training, others are chanced upon when you’re not really looking for it. That is exactly what happened with Dr C Balakrishnan, consultant rheumatologist. "I started this hobby during my MBBS years, in the last row of the often boring pharmacology lectures! I began with charcoal and oil painting but I believe cartoons are the best way to drive home your point and, at the same time, make people laugh."
CommiTment And Practice
Not having been trained in the field, Dr Balakrishnan still puts in time to practise every week. "I enjoy making slides for my colleagues for their lectures," shares Dr Balakrishnan.
Practising with a group requires commitment from all members in the group, and for a doctor that could be difficult to keep up with. But that does not stop Dr Nene’s band. "Since this is our passion, we schedule our practices around mid-week nights or the weekend. People rarely drop out of practice and no one needs to be coaxed because of the passion we share for this hobby," says Dr Nene.
"I really look forward to these practice sessions as much as I look forward to our shows. We usually start at around 8:30pm and finish practice by 11pm, sharing a lovely evening of music and food together," says Dr Tibrewala. "However, if there’s an emergency, we put on our white coats and run off," adds Dr Nene, stating the importance of commitment to a job and a passion.
Relaxation And Recreation
"Solving people’s problems can take a toll on one’s self and music offers super relaxation," says Dr Nene. Dr Tibrewala feels the same way adding, "Music keeps the atmosphere de-stressed and humming a tune can keep you calm even in the most stressful situation like during a surgery."
Dr Balakrishan opines,"It is sheer joy of drawing these cartoons that amazes me. I am in a different world when I do this. It is over once I have finished. I do not even keep a copy of my cartoons!"
Taking The Hobby To Work
Soft music can offer a good sense of calmness in a stressful environment. Says Dr Tibrewala, "During surgery, especially if person is under local anaesthesia, soft instrumental music played on a piano for instance is very calming, not only for the doctor but also for the patient.
The surgical dialogue of the doctors that involves sentences like ‘pass me the knife’, which a patient associates with pain, are completely drowned by the music."
So whilst a doctor’s profession can be stressful, de-stressing with a hobby can always keep the stress at bay!