I think that ALL WORK AND NO HOBBIES make doctors extremely boring. Having a hobby is a great way to destress, recharge your batteries, so you come back to work energetic and enthusiastic.
I have only two hobbies – Real Travel and Virtual Travel (Reading).
My dear friend Chitra Selvan always wanted to have a book club. We finally got around to organising one courtesy of the COVID pandemic. We meet on the second Sunday of each month. A different person selects a book each month. It has been a wonderful journey – looking and listening to each other beyond just medicine and profession.
This is the list we have done so far.
Travelling is my other love affair. If someone tells me there is a trip on the cards, I can be ready in 10 minutes to run off! I am blessed as I get to travel due to my profession as I attend a lot of conferences to share and showcase my research work both in India and abroad. I love travelling alone and spending time with myself.
The high points of my travels have been –
The DACHAU concentration camp near Munich, Germany. I have read about the struggle of the Jews during Hitler’s reign, and this was on my bucket list. I cannot express what I felt in words when I stood on the ground where thousands died. Its memorial depicting humans entangled in barbed wire is heart-rending.
In Paris, the LOUVRE museum, still hasn’t understood the hype around the MONA LISA, which looked like a pretty ordinary painting to me! But the museum is a treasure house of art which would take weeks to do justice to. But the Egyptian and Middle Eastern exhibits are amazing.
The SACRE COEUR and the artists around the square where I bought two beautiful sketches of the Eiffel Tower and the Eiffel Tower seen from the square are mesmerising. The Eiffel Tower is simply sublime; all lit up in the night sky, eerily romantic.
At Madrid, Spain, the PRADA museum with VELASQUEZ’s amazing paintings, the chilling Goya black sketches.
One of the best nights of my life has been watching FLAMENCO dancing in the basement of a hotel. I woke my husband up at 2 am India time to watch it with me live and the entire troupe waved to my husband over the video call.
Eating churros (fried salted dough and hot chocolate dip), the magical city of TOLEDO is probably where Disney got its inspiration. At night it is like walking through a wonderland!
In the LAKE DISTRICT in the UK, we rented a cottage almost like out of an Enid Blyton book; the cool lakes, the countryside, the silence and lush beauty.
Hobbies are great stress busters. When a doctor returns to work refreshed and energised, it positively impacts the doctor-patient consultation experience.
Real and virtual travel opens your eyes to the fact that the more people appear different, the more they are same, throughout the world.