Other Lives ; Dr. Atul Peters
‘Other Lives’ is a beginning of a new series of inspirational photo-stories. What is other? This ‘other’ is the hidden and often less known trait of an individual. We are all unique and complex,but most of us tend to bend and mold ourselves according to the wishes of our parents, family, society, religion and professional needs. In doing so, we lose ourselves and forget what gives us true joy. Then we sit and complain about our work, seek solace in acquisitions,and then we want more and more. Later at the fag end of our existence we claim that we were not our true selves because we ‘sacrificed’ for others.I’ve encountered this sad reality in many a disgruntled person ( I’m going to refer this person in masculine, but it implies to both men and women). Hence I’ve concluded, that whenever a person does something purely for the purpose of self satisfaction, rather than to please this world or to make money, he is living that part true to himself. It requires courage, self belief and discipline to progress in that pursuit. It is a true leap of faith over mediocrity.
We tend to see people as stereotypes. An expected professional image describes everyone around us. It is not difficult to spot a plumber in a crowd.A teacher looks like one, a general store merchant, a lawyer, an artist or a government official all look and behave in a typical manner. So would an army man or a driver, a writer or a fashion designer. One expects a certain ‘kind’ of physical, behavioral and lifestyle traits from such individuals.But there could be something beyond that illusion.Something unexpected and unique to him. Something interesting.
So a successful surgeon in an upmarket hospital in New Delhi would normally look like this.
He is Dr. Atul Peters. Head of Bariatric surgery( This kind of surgery is done on obese patients to reduce their weight) at the Primus Super specialty Hospital in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. He looks after a lot of other things there as well. He is my inspiration for ‘Other Lives’.
Life of most people today is truckled by their professional commitments. There is very little time for anything other than an occasional trip to the mountains or an odd class of martial arts. It gives that person a fugacious reprieve from drudgery,but it doesn’t add much to the dimension of his existence.Nor in my opinion makes him an interesting conversationalist. I’m looking for commitment, dedication and pursuit of an interest which inspires others( I’ll keep away from charlatans who claim to work for the poor and the hungry.). An activity which is simple, pure, and confined to the self.
My family knows Dr. Peters for more than fifteen years. In these many years we have depended on him in our worst of times. He stood up for us resolutely without fail, giving clear and specific advise not just on medically relevant situations but on matters where we needed someone in our darkest hours.For us, and I’m sure, many others, he is a savior and a healer.
Not just my family but a lot of my embroidery workers have benefited from his treatment. All done free of cost. Recently an ex-worker was treated with his help for a heart condition. The cost of the treatment normally runs into lacs of rupees, but was done without a penny taken.
So a successful surgeon would look like this in his office,but what is a saxophone doing there?
Dr. Peters is a naturally gifted musician. He can play any musical instrument. Other than the saxophone, he plays the harmonium, tabla, sitar and the piano regularly.
So again! A successful surgeon looks like this, playing his saxophone.
But what about this…
No photoshop, no special effects. Real muscles. He has been working out for as long as we know him. Despite sixteen hour work days , he hits the gym in the evening with an enviable intensity.
Now one does not expect a doctor to be a body builder. Its not as if doctors do not work out, but building serious muscle by one is a first for me.
One SB900 gelled 1/2 CTO and a couple of SB600s for other effects. All fired using elinchrome skyport transceivers.
That vascularity and musculature is to die for.
There was a time when I was deep into weight training, but I was nowhere near this level of definition.
To achieve a considerable separation from the background I was using home made card board snoots on the flashes. This along with the oil on the body has created a few hot spots, but not too disturbing.
The past few years of research has revealed the medical benefits of weight training. Besides burning fat, it prevents type II diabetes, slows osteoporosis and is generally considered an overall better way of keeping fit than simple jogging or walking. This cat is well over forty and does over hundred kilos in bench press.
One of the most endearing quality he has is his nonsensical sense of humor and a no-nonsense bluntness. He doesn’t flinch words when it comes to saying something funny or on matters of life and death. Perhaps this kind of clarity keeps him committed to an intensity at the gym.
It is not as if he does not have stress in his life, or he has all the time in the world to do body building. It is a matter of attitude.In our mad rush to succeed in professional and material gains, we end up sacrificing a lot of relationships. The most important being the one we have with our own selves. Fortunately there are people like Dr. Atul Peters who are not lost in this world as a machine for its purpose.
I’ll not prolix any further over Dr. Peter’s ‘other’ life, you get the drift. If a surgeon can be a body builder, so can a policeman be a poet. I’ve not found one yet, but I’m looking earnestly for one…