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“AMU has helped me in maintaining the true spirit of Indian Culture” Interview with Dr. Jaideep Malhotra

Dr. Jaideep Malhotra is a popular Gynecologist, Infertility Specialist, and an Ace Sinologist, based in India. She is the founder of the Infertility Centre of Rainbow (IVF) and serves as the Director of the hospital. Her academic journey has been a never-ending one. Dr. Malhotra completed MBBS and MD from the prestigious Jawaharlal Lal Nehru Medical College, AMU Aligarh (India). She received an award from the Prime Minister of Nepal for the first 100 IVF babies. Her clinic, Rainbow IVF was the first in North India for IVF, TESA, ICSI, twins, and triplets. Dr. Malhotra is the President of the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction, Indian Society of Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy, South Asian Federation of Menopause societies and was the former President of Federation of Obstetric & Gynaecological Societies of India. She is the first woman to be a member of the FIGO Committee of Reproductive Medicine.

What inspired you to become a successful Obstetrician/   Gynaecologist?

I always knew I wanted to become a doctor. However, I had not considered the field of gynecology as a full-fledged career option before I completed my medical schooling. I went to the medical field dreaming to become a pediatrician. During my internship, I got married to Dr. Narendra. At that time, Narendra already had maternity set up. He appreciated me for aspiring to be a pediatrician, however, this could have been not beneficial as far as Narendra’s set up was concerned. Therefore, we both decided to study gynecology and take our maternity center to a successful setup.  While studying at AMU, Aligarh, Narendra had an opinion that being a male candidate, he might not get admission in gynecology. However, we both were selected for post-graduation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Today, we complement each other’s achievements.

What was the biggest factor that helped to be a successful doctor?

Well! I have never thought of reaching anywhere. The only thought is to work with passion and give a hundred percent. I believe, that keeping pace with time is important to be a successful person. In our times, ultrasound was a new technology. Therefore, I decided to write my master’s dissertation on Ultrasound. I am thankful to the Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, AMU for consistently upgrading technology to facilitate a better understanding of research and improved medication. Dr. Narendra received training in topography which was rare in 1982. Learning ultrasound helped me to become a new generation gynecologist for better diagnosis and improved treatment. The next step was to understand laparoscopy.

Henceforth, I trained myself to do laparoscopic surgeries after infertility management. Therefore, constantly upgrading, at the right time along with consistently dedicated passionate work had helped me to add value to the medical services. Indeed, there has been a consistent determination along with us. For a woman especially, there are many obstacles, from almost every end. I always say that women have to work more than men. I do not mean that women cannot achieve it. Women can accomplish any task if they dream and put great efforts.

Dr. Malhotra, what motivates you?

Patients motivate me the most. Their smile and sense of satisfaction worth motivate me. People often ask about my role model. I mention that I get inspiration from people and patients. What I am trying to do right now is to become a role model for myself. For a girl, it is important to come out from the comfort zone and define new heights. Until women are not empowered, the nation will not grow.

Share with us your Journey of hostel life.

Well! Living in the hostel was not easy. Getting food on time- one ‘Katori dahi’, ‘a piece of butter’, ‘daal’, ‘sabzi’, ‘sehri’, ‘aftari’ (nostalgic)…I believe it was a phenomenal journey. In fact, it was beautiful that way. I remember teachers and wardens used to encourage students. You know, I used to be a ‘khuddar’ (self-satisfied) person (laughs). When I was preparing for the medical test, my father gave me 200 rupees. He told me that 200 rupees is more than enough and I would not be getting money anymore.  I was also going through some medical issues. Anyway! I was able to file three forms 1- CPMT, 2- Banaras University and 3- Aligarh University. Fortunately, I was selected for CPMT and Aligarh. The majority of my known people recommended Aligarh as it was a known and idealistic place for study. I had a special connection with Aligarh Muslim University as my father’s sister was a Professor in Chemistry at Abdullah Women’s college. After taking admission in Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh, I started residing in Sarojini Naidu Hall. Coming out with flying colors and without coaching made me more open and ambitious towards the journey. Unfortunately, I had no money to buy even a single book. As a result, I used to issue books from the library which was close to my hostel. As per the norms, we could borrow a few books at a time. In such situations, my juniors helped me by issuing books from their library cards. Aligarh Muslim University provided the cheapest education in the country. The hostel fee- 80 Rupees, college fee – 25 Rupees and that too for three months. The rest of the money could be utilized for hiring rikshaw, buying milk packet, buying snacks from the canteen and traveling purposes. I used to walk as much as I could. I used to be a sportsperson, honored with the best sportswoman in the college, honored with the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship of 750 rupees. I used to get encouragement from the people around me. I am a self- made person. When I met Narendra, my life began to find new dimensions. We have always attributed our success to Aligarh and S.N Hall fraternity which is still in my touch.

How far your institution is responsible for contributing your success and making you what you are today?

I completely attribute my success to A.M.U., Aligarh. The first reason is that the university is my Alma Mater. Secondly, it is a central university which has a wonderful atmosphere, good teachers, infrastructure and facilities.  I had experienced a multi-cultural atmosphere which was important for us to grow and develop a good personality. Indian cultures were practiced harmoniously. We used to celebrate Janmashtmi, Diwali, Eid, with equal zeal and verve.  When I went abroad, people used to appreciate being decorated with etiquette. Even today, my friends and family appreciate me for having good articulation ‘talaffuz’ and ‘adayigi’ of languages.  AMU has helped me in maintaining the true spirit of Indian culture. Women today need to have faith in themselves. There is no one on earth more powerful than women. An educated and empowered woman can run family and society. Educating women was a wonderful idea of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. It was a revolutionary step to reform society and nation.

What according to you a good doctor is supposed to be like?

A good doctor is a bridge between society and science. A good doctor is not only a person who treats the disease but treats the patient as a whole. Today, many of us have become like robots. We treat disease but not patients. I believe that a disease is not only an infection or a physical problem but also occurs due to stress, depression, anxiety. Therefore, extraneous factors are caused due to societal or individual pressure. A good doctor communicates well with patients, try to find out the problem factors and treat them as a whole.

Dr. Malhotra, you were honored by the Prime Minister of Nepal for the first 100 IVF babies of Nepal. How are you able to balance your work life with your work overseas?

I am the only person in the country, who was honored with the scholarship of Royal College London, Ireland. It is a unique honor, for anyone. I am the only lady who had remained the president of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction.  I would like to give credit to myself, my husband and my family. Dr. Narendra was my classmate however, we had not remained competitors for each other. We both reviewed our goals and moved accordingly. When our children were smaller, I concentrated on them and took a little back there. As soon as my husband settled down, he became the president of the same organization of which today I am the president. We are the only couple in the world who hold this organization. He was a President in 2008 and I became in 2018. I worked for 10 more years to achieve this. It was possible because we had been encouraging and complementing each other. One of the most important things is that we have always checked our priorities. Every day, in the morning, we sit for 10- 15 minutes and meditate and prioritize our objectives. We get direction and balance it out. Prioritization should happen early in life. We both have remained sports persons and probably had a little edge that way.  I quit sports almost 10 years ago. Although, there had been immense support from my family and friends. If you support people, they will support you. Above all, family and friends have a positive approach to our lives. Failure is not the end, it is a positive approach towards a new beginning.

What are the most common problems, patients come to see you with?

I am concentrating on infertility and IVF for more than 20 years. It is not just a matter of fertility but also of several issues such as stress factors and depression. As I have said, if a patient comes with ‘A’ particular problem, there can be numerous contributory factors. There are infertility lifestyle problems such as abortion or the pressure of family/society to have a boy. Many of us deal with societal pressure and even family expectations. It is important to give the right advice, properly investigate the problem and provide the best of medication. Most of the time, patients become a victim of financial constraints such as IVF costs. First, it is important to have awareness, second is the affordability for IVF Treatment and third, understanding about the success rate. There are many myths associated with infertility and its treatment. People fear that if they come to ART specialist they will land up in IVF. In such cases, people go to alternative medicine practitioners. However, this fear is baseless. Around 15% of the population is infertile and most of them can get benefit from drugs and endoscopy, a few about 5% require IVF. However, relevant knowledge is being disseminated and understanding people is improving. Society is now easily accepting the IVF treatment.

Nowadays, the doctor-patient bond is getting deteriorated. In the present day scenario, trust and accountability are missing. One way is to move forward and take many people along with positive strength.

How can we overcome societal issues that are often faced by women?

Well! I think education and empowerment can help in this regard. However, there is a difference between education and empowerment. Many of the women are educated but not empowered. I believe that empowerment is extremely essential. Any step that you take today, it should have a positive approach towards the betterment of individual and society.

What is your mantra for women to keep healthy?

Concentrating on lifestyle is essential. Most of the time, women look at everyone in their family and do not look after themselves. Therefore, eating write, a little bit of exercise and meditation all together can help in maintaining the optimum lifestyle.

What do you do in free time? Any hobbies?

I am fond of traveling. I travel to attend conferences. There is a power in being connected to people who are active in your line of work. Taking an extra day at the beginning or end of the trip to explore or visit friends is also a great way to maximize the joy and happiness in travel. I admire beauty, culture, nature, mountains, and valleys. Sometimes cooking also…

What change you would like to suggest right now to help us to get closer to our goals?

Be the change you want to see in the world. We should not think about changing people. If you want to see change, you have to change yourself. In fact, be happy about changing yourself. Changing oneself is the most important lesson I have learned in my life. Keep your goals focus and work accordingly.

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Areeba Shabbir
Pursuing a PhD in English Language Teaching from the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Coordinates with REsolv Corporation, Massachusetts, USA. Has designed a course for visually challenged students at Vision Aid, Inc. The USA. A contributor to The Eastern Herald.