Medical profession is a way of life for him. Thirty years in the business as one of the leading doctors, if Dr M A Shekar speaks like a philosopher, it is not without a reason. That he is famous for more than one reason is nothing new to Mysureans. A firm believer in adding more and more ethical values to his profession, what is impressive about the veteran doctor is his down-to-earth approach to life. Though he has many firsts to his credit, Dr Shekar doesn’t believe in flaunting around with his achievements. He wants to remain humble and simple and be committed to the profession that he loves most.
Right from the first day he stepped into Gopalaswamy Shishu Vihara as a kid, Dr Shekar has always put the best foot forward. Only son of Dr Ankegowda, a well known paediatrician of yesteryear and Umadevi, a home-maker, Dr Shekar has nostalgic memories of his childhood. He minces no words when he says he is lucky to have such wonderful parents who taught him the ethics of life. An introvert by nature, Dr Shekar always believed in following the footsteps of his indomitable father.
After finishing class VII, he pursued his studies at Sarada Vilas HS and college. Though he was keen to take up research in bio-technology, his father had other thoughts. Like him, he wanted his son also to become a doctor. Though he did not have a choice, Dr Shekar says he has no regrets that he was forced to become a doctor. That he went on to complete MBBS and MD from the famous Mysore Medical College is piece of history.
Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Professor of Medicine at MCC at present, Dr Shekar also served as Asst Surgeon at KR Hospital. He also teaches UG and PG students. Though his hands are full with hectic work day in and day out, Dr Shekar doesn’t believe in complaining. He would rather take it in strides with a smile on his face.
The doctor’s family has a long and rich legacy. “I am the great grandson of famous violinist Chowdaiah and actor-turned politician Ambareesh is my uncle,” he tells you while trying to drive home a point. If you think Dr Shekar was confined to just books during his college days, you are mistaken. He is quick to add that he was a good sportsman too during his heydays.
One thing that would always ‘embarrass’ him is when people refer to him as ‘Anke Gowda’s son.’ “More often than not, I would feel awkward, but there is nothing much I could do, thanks to my father’s overwhelming popularity among people.“ Going down the memory lane, Dr Shekar proudly recalls one incident. “I was in Jalandhar for an oration lecture in 2001. After the programme was over, president of the local association, who happened to be a product of MMC, came to me and said, ‘You remind me of my lecturer Anke Gowda!’ I told him that the man you are referring to is none other than my father.” That day has remained etched in Dr Shekar’s memory.
That life has given him name and fame, Dr Shekar always believes in lending a helping hand in whatever way he can. His brainchild Apoorva Diabetes Foundation in Saraswathipuram treats patients free of cost. “Many Good Samaritans whom I know donate generously as and when I request them.”
As a faculty, resource person and perceptor, Dr Shekar also encourages meritorious students to take up medical research at different levels. They are offered scholarships to pursue their interest and do research in their favourite field.
When you quiz him about his social life, Dr Shekar’s reply is instant. “I sing well, play guitar, sitar and have dabbled with a couple of other instruments. We have a cousins’ group and we get to share our experiences and anecdotes on Whatsapp.”
He who knows the moral values goes a long way in life. An epitome of commitment, passion and empathy, Dr Shekar loves to keep things as simple as possible. At the same time, he is not unduly worried about awards and rewards that he richly deserves. All that he knows is to keep doing his job selflessly.
What is your take on healthcare in India?
It has grown leaps and bounds over the years. I am proud to say we have the best healthcare system in the world. People always complain against our system. I request them to visit other countries, especially Britain and the US, to know we have a good system in place.
People always blame government hospitals for lack of facilities and doctors. Your comment.
Take for example KR Hospital, it has the best state of the art facilities and very good doctors. You can’t blame the hospital for a faulty system. For your information, ours is a 1500-bed hospital which caters to thousands of patients almost every day. But problems crop up when the influx is more. If a doctor is asked to treat hundreds of patients within a few hours, it becomes humanly impossible. We have no right to blame him for no fault of his. We all should understand even a doctor is a human being. If things go beyond his limits, we have no right to take him to task. Another example is, people always target doctors whenever there is a sudden death at the hospital. Doctors do their job with utmost sincerity all the time.
You have been living in Mysuru for decades, what is so special about?
The credit directly goes to Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar of the Mysuru dynasty. A great visionary that he was, Nalwadi planned and developed the city. If the city has many famous tags attached to it, we should thank him.
What it takes to be a successful doctor?
He should be respected by patients and people around him. It is his job to do right things and do justice to his profession. Once you are successful in doing these things, name, fame and money will follow you.
What is your advice to budding doctors?
One should never be money-minded. The secret of this profession is to work hard to earn a good name. Prioritise your activities and the success follows you.
How do you treat success and failure?
I treat them with equipoise. We have to take failure as a stepping stone to achieve success. But don’t forget to appreciate the value of success.