A Special Bond That Brought Me Back

Dr. P. Raghu Ram

I have been well and truly fortunate to have experienced the love, affection and sacrifice of my mother; a bond that cannot be matched by any other relationship in the world. My mother’s sacrifices in bringing me up are second to none. She has been singularly responsible for my returning to India after having spent ten years in the UK.
 
Having had settled status and lucrative professional opportunities in the UK, Vyjayanthi and I never even dreamed that we would return to India for good. The lord had other intentions for me, and he made me realise through my mother’s illness that I’m meant to be back in my motherland, not overseas. Vyjayanthi stood rock solid behind me in making this decision to return home. Without her unwavering and unflinching support, I could not have returned to my motherland.
 
My family and I came back to our roots in 2007 to stand shoulder to shoulder with my mom in her fight against breast cancer. I have dedicated the rest of my professional career to improve the delivery of breast healthcare in a country that I was born and raised in, and equally, deliver the best possible care to hundreds of mothers like mine who have been affected with breast cancer.
 
Eight years on after returning to India, I can say with hand on heart that the love, affection and work satisfaction that I have derived working in my motherland and attending to my mother cannot be matched by anything else in the world.
 
Having recently been conferred the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilianhonours, I have dedicated this prestigious award to my mother, and to all the women in India who have fought breast cancer with courage and determination.
 
Mother’s Day is a reminder to me that the most precious gift that I can give my mother is time; anything else would be meaningless. I can spend all my time making money, but I do not enjoy being in the rat race. In my mind, the returns of giving time to loved ones are immeasurable, and no amount of wealth can match this poignant yet so often forgotten facet of life.
 
I will conclude with a quote by the famous poet Khalil Gibran, which just about sums up my justification for choosing time as the most precious gift I can give my mom. “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
 
My message: count your blessings to have experienced the love and affection of your mother, and stand by her when she needs you most.     – Dr. P. Raghu Ram
 
The author is president-elect of the Association of Breast Surgeons of India, CEO and director of the Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation, and director and consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon at the KIMS-Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases.