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ME POWAIKAR June 2018

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Doctors in Love

Thousands of babies born in Mumbai owe their existence to a brilliant unassuming Doctor - Anita Soni. Gregarious, jovial yet an extremely sensitive woman, she’s literally worshipped by the multitude of patients whose lives she has transformed with her magic touch. She is God to every woman who desires to conceive but is unable because of high risk complications.

She is the cousin of Me Powaikar of last month, Vijay Pherwani. And it was in his house that I first met Anita who has been the gynaecologist for many of my friends. She was the life of the party that night, talking to everyone including strangers, singing (pretty well at that) dancing, cracking jokes. And I thought ‘putting one at ease seems to run in this family’.

Anita has led quite a tumultuous life. She met her life-partner Dr. Abhijeet while both were pursuing MBBS. They started by being friends but their relationship matured and grew till they started dating in 1988. She realised then that he was the one for her life and she loved this unconventional man of few words. Dr. Abhijeet Soni is an interventional vascular radiologist who is therapeutically brilliant with his fingers and goes into brains, liver, kidney etc..where surgery isn’t possible. 

Over a period Anita realised that she cared very deeply for Abhijeet, a genuine guy, so they got engaged in 1993 and married in 1996 in a civil marriage, followed by a Hindu wedding. They faced more downs than ups but their faith in their love for each other kept them going. Never for a moment did they feel they didn’t want to be with each other despite the tough times. Abhijeet’s family is half Maharashtrian and partly Gujarati and Anita has a Catholic father and a Sindhi mother. Abhijeet lost his parents and Anita her father early but I’m rushing headlong into the future so let me take you back into when Anita became a gynaecologist and moved to Powai in 1998 working as an assistant to a famed gynaecologist after which she started her own little practice in a polyclinic. Her Dad wasn’t happy as he had big plans for his gifted only child so he and Abhijeet bought her a clinic all her own near IIT gate. Anita practised there till the time Hiranandani Hospital was built and she cleared the interviews to be appointed there. It would not be far from the truth to say that the hospital shares a great image thanks to Dr. Anita Soni. Patients come to consult her from every corner of the city, be it Marine Drive or Dombivili or Kandivili/Thane. She’s a whiz with complicated cases of pregnancies. She’s blunt with her patients because she believes they deserve to know the plain truth, not sugar-coated. That’s why her patients trust and connect with her. She’s a recognised teacher and examiner for the college of physicians and surgeons and a convener for their exams. She has a crazy schedule but working keeps her sane and happy.
Maids brought up her kids for she had no choice but to slog. Yet the Sonis gave their kids a great upbringing and today both of shining examples of accomplished balanced youngsters.

Out of love and respect for each other, they celebrate Diwali and Christmas with equal fervour. Anita has voluntarily been fasting for her husband’s long life on Karwa Chauth from 1998 onwards. They also bring home our much loved Ganpati Bappa. Anita personally cooks for a minimum of 50 people all by herself. She offers the ‘Naivedya’ to the Lord and lights the Akhand Jyot waking up in the middle of the night to check if the lamp needs more oil. Being a multi-linguist with a flair to pick up languages helps as she lustfully sings the Aarti in Marathi.

Her husband in appreciation of her acceptance of his culture gifted her a Catholic wedding on their 15th wedding anniversary where their son Aditya was the best man and daughter Anisha the flower girl.
Abhijeet was fascinated by bikes from his youth but seeing the family’s financial constraints, he never asked for one. Years later he did get his first cruiser though he didn’t know how to ride then so had to take a friend to take its’ delivery. Today Abhijeet is an avid biker and owns 5 bikes including a prized Harley Davidson Night Rod and a Hayabusa, a racing Japanese bike. He is actually Anita’s Rock of Gibraltar, a total family guy who loves his kids to distraction. The story of how he lost 30 kgs is inspiring in itself. Today he is the epitome of fitness and looks far younger than he is. Anita too lost 20 kgs following his example but her crazy schedule makes it tough to maintain it. Anita and Abhijeet love dancing and as they twirl their way into a glorious future, the music plays on and they set the floor on fire.