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"The Rhythm of Healing: How Tabla and Hindustani Classical Music Shaped My Surgical Journey"

The rhythmic thrum of the tabla resonated through the haveli, its hypnotic pulse weaving its way into my childhood. In the pre-dawn quiet, the melody of Hindustani classical music, sung by Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and numerous others, would fill the air, a soulful tapestry of ragas and taals. Little did I know, these very sounds that painted my early years would become the silent companions on my path to becoming a pediatric surgeon.

As my nimble fingers danced across the surface of the tabla as a scrawny lad of five, a quote by the legendary tabla maestro Zakir Hussain echoed in my mind: "Tabla is a language, and the language needs to be spoken with respect and dedication." This dedication translated beautifully to the meticulous world of surgery, as I grew up. The tabla taught me the importance of precision, each deft strike creating a unique sound, just as every incision in the operating room demands absolute focus.

Hindustani classical music, with its intricate compositions and improvisational elements, instilled in me a sense of adaptability. Just as a vocalist navigates the nuances of a raga, I learned to adjust my surgical approach based on the unique needs of each child. The couplet, "Har sur mein hai dard chhupa, har taar mein hai fariyaad" (Every note hides pain, every string carries a cry), resonated deeply. It became a constant reminder of the vulnerability of my young patients, their silent cries guiding my every move in the OR.

The tabla's ability to create a crescendo of emotions mirrored the emotional journey of being a pediatric surgeon. The anticipation before a complex procedure, the surge of adrenaline during surgery, and the immense relief of a successful outcome – all found an echo in the tabla's dynamic range.

The long, meditative drone of the tanpura,

the string instrument that provides the base for Hindustani classical music, offered a sense of calmness in the midst of the surgical storm. It served as a reminder to breathe, to find stillness within the chaos, a skill crucial for navigating the pressure-cooker environment of the operating room.

The pursuit of Hindustani classical music, like surgery, demands discipline and perseverance. Hours spent practicing scales on the tabla translated into countless hours honing my surgical skills. The couplet, "Riyaz ki hai zaroorat, kamal karne ke liye" (Practice is needed to achieve mastery), became a mantra for both my musical and surgical journeys.

The tabla and Hindustani classical music are more than just hobbies; they are the very essence of my identity as a surgeon. They have instilled in me the precision, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and perseverance that are the cornerstones of pediatric surgery. As my fingers dance on the tabla surface, and my voice soars with the melody of a raga, I am not just a surgeon; I am a musician, an artist, forever guided by the rhythm of healing.

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