Capturing The Untold Stories
HUMANS OF BOMBAY
Squint Specialist – Dr. Chandresh Parekh
I grew up in a small home — we had one bathroom and there were 6 of us, so 9:00 am was chaotic, as we were all getting ready for school and work at the same time! I remember studying in the kitchen at night after everyone fell asleep, because there was no space for all of us to study in the same room after school.
I was the oldest, so my father assumed I’d join the family business even though I wasn’t interested. I remember after my 10th, he ordered fancy food for me as an incentive to join.
But right then, my grandfather said he wished I’d become a doctor — I knew I had to fulfil his wish. No one in my family had dared to dream of a different profession, so with no money I set out. I remember traveling by bus early in the morning until late at night. The bus became my classroom as I prepared for my applications and exams.
When I finally got into KM medical college, I couldn’t believe it! But one of my biggest challenges was English. I remember being made so much fun of — my pronunciations were always wrong. But I decided to teach myself. I’d listen to people talk, when they’d laugh at me, I’d ask them to correct me, and I read any newspaper I could get my hands on.
During our medical residency, I worked constantly and only took breaks to sleep… sometimes on stretchers in the hospital corridors. I was so excited to witness my first surgery… until after I saw all the blood, I actually threw up!
But the support from home was still low. I’d helped my father get through a serious illness too, still, he never changed his mind about me becoming a doctor.
But I was passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and became an eye surgeon.
Soon after, I got married, and my only question to my wife was, “Can you stay with a doctor?” She said yes and even decided to join me after I opened my own practice — 34 years later, she continues to assist me in my practice.
Recently, one of my patients, a 60 year old gentleman, told me that after his surgery, life has gotten so much better. He feels more confident in his meetings now — that’s what I work so hard for.
I’ve come a long way from owning three pairs of clothes and studying in the kitchen… but today, riches are a small piece of my story. It’s been my privilege to serve my patients and that’s why I say, retirement isn’t even an option — I want to be in service until my last day!