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Dr.Kamala Selvaraj – April 1st, 2007
Dr. Kamala Selvaraj is the head of the department of Obstertrics and gynaecology in G.G. Hopspital, a multispeciality Institution at Madras. Her long cherished desire and ultimate goal was to establish a Fertility Research Center at this hospital and do the maximum possible for the sub-fertile couple.
In order to perfect her work she has undergone training in In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer (IVF and ET) at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and thereafter at several similar centres in U.K, U.S.A and Singapore. In 1989 she established a full fledged Fertility Research Centre at G.G.Hospital with equipments and facilities matching western Standards.
She was the first to bring out the First Test Tube Baby of South India in a 30 years married, 47 year old woman and successive babies by the ingenious IVF and ET, GIFT, PROST, SOFT, ICSI, Surrogate, Frozen and IUI techniques.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. Being a doctor your timings are ought to be very demanding. How much time do you get to spend with your family?
Well, my timings are very restricted. I practise from morning to evening. So, when I go in the evening around 6-30 or 7-00, I go and see what has happened at home for that day. Anything is wanted, I get it done immediately. Also I chart out everday’s menu before I go to work.
2. How do you manage to get your children’s needs?
There is no word “NO” in my dictionary to my children. I always store all the necessary items and toiletries. I have a stock of the necessary items at home always. I see to that their needs are fulfilled. Either I do it or I get it done through my workers. If my son says, ‘Mum I want food from Taj, next minute I will order the food for him’.
3. How do you organize yourself to strike a balance between your work and family?
As I remember, I will stick a label telling what all to do. You tend to forget things, which is very common. Another thing is I never postpone anything, no matter, how tired I am. So that you are free for that night. You don’t need to carry it to the next day. If I remember something which I have to do, I tell to my workers near by and ask them to do it immediately. A busy woman has to be organised.
4. People say, ‘Being woman is hard and being an Indian woman is harder’, Would you agree with it?
No definitly not. It is wonderful to be an Indian woman. You have to work hard to achieve something. I do work long hours, and I rarely get time even to watch televisions. I missed a lot of pictures on recent Tsunami.
5. Can we call you a workaholic person then?
Yes. Iam. When I was in college, I never knew that Indira Gandhi was the prime Minister of India. I work very hard but also I have spent quality time with my children and I am spending good time with my grand children as well.
6. Can you tell as how did you manage your family in the very initial days?
Mine is a love marriage. When we started our family, I just had one servant maid who came and cleaned the house. We could not afford for many maids then. So necessarily I had to cook, leave the children in school and take care of all things. When we became more affluent to, then I managed with the help of the maids.
7. Are you religious?
Yes. I am. I and my sisters were brought up under a strict supervision. Even today in the hospital all the workers will join and we celebrate all the festivals right from English New year, pongal, Tamil New year, Navarathri, Christmas and so on….on fridays we do poojas and everyday we put flowers to the God.
8. Do you still pursue your hobbies?
Yes. Swimming is my best hobby. I regularly go for a good swim. I also like to draw, paint and listen to songs. Twice aweek a lady comes and teaches us bajhan songs for an hour. I go for concerts and if I think if it is a rare chance then I make sure I go and attend it.
9. Do you think Indian medical facilities match with the developed countries?
Medical facilities are very good in India. I would say it is equal or better compared to Overseas. Especially Chennai is very good.
10. Who is your role model?
My father Late: Gemini Ganesan is my role model. He tells that, the time wasted can never be got back. So that itself was a great inspiration, that made me into what I am to-day.