Women & Doctors Both Suffer From Stereotypes: Tripti Sharan
Standing at a staggering 174 per 100,000 live births, according to a 2015 statistic, India has an unusually high maternal mortality rate. Starting from an obvious alteration in their bodies, women at times, go on to suffer from a host of issues from mostly preventable complications experienced during pregnancies, the myths and superstitions surrounding them, an emotional mental state caused by postpartum depression. Having witnessed their trauma, their behaviour and their struggle first-hand, Gynecologist Tripti Sharan was moved to write about the same in the book, Chronicles Of A Gynecologist.
In a country where a ‘mother’ has always been celebrated, I try to seek out the ‘woman’ who suffers in anonymity.
Having authored a book of poetry, Dewdrops… A Journey Begins, this was her first attempt at writing prose, “I had just suffered a personal loss in the form of my mother who was diagnosed with kidney failure and died later. There is something so raw, so final about death that it is shocking. It was at this time that poetry became my saviour. Writing healed me. My initial poems were always about her. From writing about my mother I gradually ventured into writing about other aspects such as nature, love, desire and social issues.”
Being a doctor instills in her this duty of using knowledge to break the barriers of ignorance and promote health and awareness.
Tripti underlines how all of us have a social responsibility. Being a doctor instills in her this duty of using knowledge to break the barriers of ignorance and promote health and awareness. Health, gender and social issues are close to her heart. Reaching out to people and inspiring them through her writings is her way of giving back to the society. She asserts that this book while giving a much broader perspective of the factors that interplay in the professional career of a doctor, also promises to be a bridge between the medical and the non-medical world.
Based on real-life stories, the book underlines “the struggle of a woman even as she tries to hold on to her balance passing through the varying phases of life, coping with the demands the society in addition to the ones her body places upon her,” says the author, adding, “It touches upon topics that society tries to brush under the carpet, such as domestic violence, perversions, sexual orientation, rape and incest. The book is also a reflection of my journey as a doctor. Every story raises a curtain and promises to be a revelation…In a country where a ‘mother’ has always been celebrated, I try to seek out the ‘woman’ who suffers in anonymity.”
Her stories deliver the unfamiliar truth that breathes behind the closed sanitised walls of a hospital, exposing different facets of women, uncovering the harsh realities that plague our society.
Married to a pediatric intensivist, the author is a mother to two adolescent boys. Pursuing her passion and profession together is akin to constantly living on the edge, but it only serves to inspire her to write more. And when she started writing, surprisingly, her loved ones were skeptical of her new-found passion.
“They enquired in a subtle manner if everything was alright and suggested that I should not be ignoring my profession and family. But with time acceptance and recognition came. Today, I am happy that people including those working in my hospital and also those in my family accept me as a doctor-author and at times I feel humbled by the pride they feel for me. But yes it has not always been easy. I do feel guilty that this dual combination has somehow gnawed into the quality time that I had for my family.”
Tripti has observed women sitting silently on a stool in her clinic, lying in distress in her wards, speaking brazenly or sometimes quietly hiding in the shadows of their husband. She does not see patients, she sees emotions, every one of which breathes a story and every story needs to be told.
“Writing is almost like catharsis to me. There is an ancient wisdom in putting your feelings into words.”
The author, who enjoys reading the works of Devdutt Pattanaik, says, “Writing is almost like catharsis to me. There is an ancient wisdom in putting your feelings into words. Just as you see the orange light at the traffic signal and hit the brakes; when you put your feelings into words you hit the brakes on your emotional responses and start healing. Writing becomes therapeutic and that’s one of the very important reasons why I write.”
The author is currently working on her new book Anecdotes of a Medico and on an interesting take on the story of ‘Radha’ in verse.
“Apart from that my profession keeps adding stories for a sequel to Chronicles of a Gynecologist. One day I dream of writing something along the lines of Eric Segal’s Doctors. And in between, I am writing poems to rejuvenate my soul. My tryst with literature continues,” she adds.