Dr. Anupama Arora Mallik, a consultant pathologist at Jahra Hospital is also a self-taught artist for whom painting is a sublime way of losing herself in the play of colors.With astonishing creativity and innovative techniques, Dr. Mallik gives a spectacular perspective to each of her paintings. Ordinary everyday scenes such as a forlorn tree against an august sky, or the landscape of an isolated sandy cove, receive a burst of life and are imbued with energy through her brush strokes and exceptional imagination.
An ‘enjoy-the-moment’ kind of lady, who describes herself as a ‘person of the present’ and never worries of things too far ahead, Dr. Mallik recently sat down with The Times Kuwait, to talk about herself, her profession and her passion for painting.
Tell us a little about yourself and what made you choose pathology.
I am a consultant pathologist at Jahra Hospital. I began working there only recently; prior to that, I was in Sabah Hospital for 12 years and had a special interest in neuropathology. I am originally from Punjab but I did my degree in medicine from Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. I had always wanted to be a doctor and I can only add that I am glad to have realized my dream job here.
With regard to why I chose pathology; well, the truth is, I did not have any particular reason for specifically pursuing pathology. I wanted to do surgery but as fate had it, and am grateful for that, I joined the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh doing my M.D. in pathology.
I think the training at PGI is one of the best that one can get in India and I enjoyed learning pathology there. Later, even when I had the option to get into surgery, I stuck with pathology. Moreover, being a surgeon means you have a really hectic work schedule and you are often ‘on-call’ so that it does not leave you enough time for family and friends, and, in my case, for painting.
A couple of months after post-graduating from PGI, I got married and two years later, resigned from my job in Chandigarh and came to Kuwait to be with my husband who had a job here.
What interests you in your practice?
Some days when I go for work I ask myself, why am I sitting in front of the microscope instead of doing something creative. But then there are times when I come across something interesting which I had not seen before or a challenging case which I am able to diagnose and I feel the familiar thrill. Each speciality of medicine has its own importance.
Pathology is the end result of tissues removed from the body of any patient for which we give the final diagnosis. It is based on this that the various treatment modalities are planned. I am also glad that my junior colleagues and co-workers cooperate and work happily with me. All this makes my work exciting and interesting.
In general, how is the health of people here in Kuwait and how they can improve it?
I am not a clinician but based on what I have seen through my years of practice here, patients because they are not medical people do not keep a record of all their medical documents. If they were treated by a doctor or had an appointment with one, they loose track of it or forget about it after a while. This affects any future medical conditions they might encounter and in some cases we have seen the condition become worse.
I recommend that patients should keep a record of all their medical documents, appointments and other specifics. Also, go and show yourself to a doctor when you have any irregular symptom in your body and get treatment as soon as possible. The Lab Info System (LIS) here in Kuwait is very good. This is where people just show their civil ID and all their medical data that is stored in any hospital comes on the computer screen. So, keeping a record of things can be really useful for us.
What led you to your interest in art and painting?
My mom has always been my inspiration. She used to do glass paintings, sketches and stuff which I loved watching. My mom is into writing now with many books of prose, poetry and fiction to her credit. I started with water colors and sketches when I was in school. It was in high school that a sister-in-law of mine introduced me to the magic of oil paints and since then there has been no looking back. With time I have evolved into an artist using my own imagination and the inspiration I draw from my surroundings.
My first public exhibition, which was recently held at the Dar El Cid in Jabriya, was a truly emotional experience for me. When you paint in the privacy of your home you are really concentrating on finding the rhythm or tone needed to bring out an emotion on canvas, however, when you witness it along with others on the walls of a gallery, it is quite a different feeling. The exhibition not only allowed me to see my paintings through the eyes of viewers, but also to receive their feedback on my art. It was quite gratifying to receive so many positive comments from visitors.
In conclusion, the pathologist with a painter’s heart said, “We plan to go back to India soon, and when we do that, my next dream job is becoming a full-time artist. As you know, I love painting, so I am keen on pursuing that. “
- By Madhuri Awale/ Staff writer