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May 1991, Volume 41, Issue 5

I Wnat To Say

MY UNFORGETABLE TEACHER

What can I write about my teacher who served as my role model. Indeed to whom I owe the very fact that I am doing what I enjoy doing for children. My first impression of Dr. Mubarika Shah was through the eyes of a patient, a child being seen for some childhood illness. I remember very well the colourful murals painted in her waiting room, the friendly and comfortable atmosphere. When seen by her, I remember her motherly presence, soft and gentle language and also the jar, of sweets she kept by her side on the table. What a lovely doctor I thought! I would like to be like her. That was what started me in my quest for becoming a Paediatrician. From that young age, when I was in school, I knew I would one day be like her. My next impression of Dr. Mubarilca was as a medical student in 3rd year. We were posted in the Paediathc Ward for only ten days. My impression of her again is of a presence full of brightness, cheerfulness and charm. I remember one particular session in the OPD when she demonstrated the clinical findings in a child with Ducheme’s muscular dystrophy. That is so well imprinted on my mind that I have never had to read or remember it from books. My next meeting with Dr. Mubarika was after I had completed my training abroad in Paediatrics and had returned to Pakistan. At that time I was working in the Children’s Hospital at Jinnah. She was so thrilled to see one of her ‘children’ joining the ranks of Paediatrics. I mentioned to her once how it came to pass that I had taken up Paediatrics. She was genuinely touched and happy. A few months before Dr. Mubarika met with the tragic and fatal accident I met her at a social gathering. She had just celebrated her ‘golden’ wedding aniversary. She was looking radiant as always and full of good cheer. I asked her to tell me the secret of her ‘youth’. lam sharing her secret because 1 feel she would want me to share it with everyone. She said, ‘You know, I have always been very spontaneous. If I wanted to do something I went ahead and did it. Many times, me and my husband took off on a holiday suddenly without planning. It was more fun that way”. She also told me that although she loved her work, she also loved ‘living’. She had always wanted to learn music, painting, gardening and all the aesthetic alls. So she said “I decided that I wanted to fulfill my desire for my other interests. I stopped working for a year and took classes in cooking, painting, music. I was more busy that year than I had ever been with private practice. But I loved it, I got it out of my system, and then I went back to taking care of children”. So that was the secret of her radiance and youth. Love of life, spontaneity, love for humans, plants and animals. Love of beauty and deep love for her husband and family. Although her death is a terrible blow for her family, I feel that this is the way Dr. Mubarika would have preferred, sudden, quick, without planning. She leaves behind an image of her eternal youth and warmth, Her constant smiling presence and motherly concern. She was able to inspire people to do the kind of professional work she was doing. She inspired her students and left an imprint on their mind of her personality and love of life. If I can do half as much I will feel my mission in life has been completed.

Dure-Samin Akram

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