Our doctors enjoy ”˜A Touch of Pink’ and raise $10000 for Cure Cancer Australia

By Neena Badhwar

Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association (AIMGA) organized an entertaining and informative evening “A Touch of Pink” to raise funds for Cancer Research.  In its 37th year now the organization flaunts many young doctors locally educated and trained along with community stalwarts who make up well established and well known GPs and Specialists.

Away go the stethoscopes as doctors donne bow ties and suits and enjoy shaking a leg

Indian doctors make a great force in Australia and contribute in a special and positive way to the society here. Doctors, teachers and engineers came to Australia as the first influx of Indians who came in the early seventies when Australia opened its doors to Asian migration. Where ever you go, who ever you talk to, regardless of origin, nationality, race or religion, Indian doctors are perceived as empathetic, good medical practitioners who are held in high esteem by one and by all. People have made special connections and bonds with their doctors and invariably the name mentioned would be an Indian one. Not only they treat you with patience they help all the way to one’s recovery and develop a life-long friendship between a practitioner and the patient.

From Left: Jyuthika Vyas, Dr. Palu Malaowalla, Dr. Harinath, Chairman Multicultural NSW, Dr. Smita Shah and Mrs. Gayatri Harinath

Dr. Palu Malaowalla is the current president of AIMGA, a body of the Indian doctors, she helped organize the night at Parravilla Function Centre in Parramatta which carried the hue of pink everywhere as one entered the hall. Even men wearing pink bow ties, scarves, one wearing pink hat and pink gloves. The statement of pink on the night, as by now every one knows, is to support breast cancer research. We had among the guests not only the doctors, but breast cancer sufferers, breast cancer survivors. 80-year old Behroze Billimoria, a survivor told her story, how her friends had organized a ”˜Bye Bye Booby’ party for her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her sixties. Survived she did, and beat it as well as she related her journey and a tale laced with humour, “Once the boobs have done their job, who needs them,” she said.

Pink Sari ladies with Dr. Palu and Behroze Billimoria

Sat on one table a group of ladies in beautiful pink saris, looking exquisite, the ”˜Pink Sari’ ladies, they said now the dress has become their uniform, having ordered from India along with blouses which came all stitched and ready to wear. The Pink Sari ladies are now well known not just in our community, a campaign that began to target Indian and Sri Lankan women in Australia to get their mammograms for early detection only because they do not go for one due to many reasons including cultural. Now the same group is working on increasing awareness about bowel cancer.

From Left: Priti Sawrikar, Pooj aSawrikar and Dr. Samriti Kapila
Behroze Billimoria

Another highlight of the night was talk by Pooja Sawrikar about domestic violence. Her talk was quite informative supported by slides as she took all through her presentation. Pooja talked about how our collectivist culture based around family, male dominated patriarchal society is where women suffer in silence, “Domestic violence comes in many forms ”“ Physical, sexual, emotional or even financial. Not everyone has a bruise.”

“We not only need women champions in our community but we need men too, to acknowledge and place value on them,” said Pooja.

Dr. Palu with hubby Avijit Sarkar and her daughter Anaita Sarkar

Dr. Palu Malaowalla, AIMGA president and herself a breast cancer survivor, TIDU asked her about the organization which she heads, says she, “AIMGA works as an instrument to protect and enhance the professional interests of its members, and promotes harmonious relationship among its members.”

“We organize information seminars on health topics, maintain and enhance professional integrity of our members, updating them with current articles and research to do with medicine.”

Dr. Bharti Reddy

The ”˜A Touch of Pink’ night was a mix of information and entertainment. Purnima Sharma’s energetic dances to well known Bollywood numbers set the stage for the highlight of the Program as we all nibbled on entrés and main meal.  The night progressed with the able emceeing by Monika Geetmala radio host, Shailja Chandra. Our well known doctors, doctor wives and other ladies did a catwalk dressed in Indian outfits, they carried the fashion with a certain chutzpah as men dressed in suits looked handsome. And the music chosen was superb, from the old fifties and sixties era, as suggested by Avijit Sarkar, our prized singer, the steps choreographed by Sandhya Bose, it was an enjoyable item, shall we say items as the participants enthused great spirit, one could gather that they enjoyed performing to numbers such as ”˜Baar Baar Dekho’ and ”˜Tally Ho’. The doctors had turned into ”˜Shammi Kapoors’ and women, well looked no less than the heroines of Indian cinema.

From L to R: Dr Jaykar Dave, Dr Anil Gupta, Dr Sunil Vyas, Dr Palu Malaowalla, Dr Prakash, Dr Bharathi Teddy, Dr Nagamma, Dr Sawrikar and Dr Sid Orekondy
From Left: Dr. Samriti Kapila, Dr. Hari Kapila and Dr. Kirti Kapi
Poornima Sharma

It was a thoroughly enjoyable night of song, dance, info and just a chit-chat in a familiar and friendly gathering of doctors, community members and supporters of what we all are going through as community. Together we felt bonded and strong, thanks to Palu, the doctor, wife, ma and grandma and the president who looked beautiful in her pink sari. AIMGA, under her helm, is growing a healthy, happy group of Indian medical professionals down under.

Jaate Jaate, we are told that AIMGA will be able to donate around $10,000 raised from ‘A Touch of Pink’ function to Cure Cancer Australia. Congratulations to all at AIMGA.

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