Dr. Ramindra Dhillon: The Rebel
Well, people say old age is about constant trips to the dispensary and doctors. Well, people aren’t always right. Meet, Dr. Ramindra Dhillon- A name that should be known to all of us for the splendid work she has done in the past and continues to do so! She’s one who makes constant trips to the dispensaries and spends most of her time around doctors too, but here’s a little twist. She’s one of them!
“I am 71 and I don’t plan to retire from my work anytime soon!”
Right from the beginning, she’s been a fierce rebellious spirit and was never brought down by old age or patriarchy for that matter. She was married to an Airforce Pilot, Lt. Karanjeet Singh Dhillon. She had always thought that after marriage she would continue practicing medicine but was faced with an identity crisis post marriage where people only saw her as a ‘wife.’ But she made it past that by striking a sort of a deal with her husband: She could leave for work once he had left and had to be back before he returned. Until the age of 49, she kept working like this. Then, once her husband retired, she associated herself as one of the volunteers with the United Nations. This was also the first time when she took a decision by herself without consulting her family. This was a major turning point in her life!
She recalls how at the age of 68, she went to South Sudan and how their patients made her heart fill with admiration for them. Since a civil war had broken out during that time, her hospital was full of patients and victims. It wasn’t easy handling 70 patients a day, but then three words helped her conquer this challenge: “Adjust, adapt, negotiate,” These three words drove her actions and instincts while she was there and these three words stayed with her even after she left. These, she said are one of the best strategies to survive and excel in life.
Interestingly, She worked with commercial sex workers and truck drivers in the field of HIV AIDs and in war-torn countries like Iran. She says that if there was something that kept her dedicated to her work without being overly emotional about it was her knowledge of how to handle psychology that came with her experience as a doctor. She also survived working in such tough settings by one golden mantra: “Always keep smiling.” She always believes in the power of giving and not expecting anything in return.
She stands tall as a major source of admiration, strength, resolute and independence. She recently delivered a TED Talk on a national platform and shared her life journey. Here’s a salute to this liberating spirit!