Dr. Shabnam Agarwal
In an interview with Dr. Shabnam Agarwal, we learn the key to a healthier and more fulfilling life with her valuable experience and advice.
Dr. Shabnam Agarwal chose physiotherapy as her career after a casual visit to the dentist. There she heard the professional talking about physiotherapy being 'the profession of the future.’ The prospect of helping people uniquely appealed to her making her realise that this is what she wanted. She had seen the loss of her father at a very young age, which only made her resolve stronger: "It was not pre-planned but once I got into it, there was no looking back."
When asked about her time in college, this is what she told us, "I was the only girl in my class and had a boy ask me why I was working so hard, when all I was going to do was give my exams and get married. When I asked him if he would do the same, he replied 'no', because he is a boy." The subtle prejudice that follows a woman everywhere made no exception for Shabnam as well but she had her walls built high and didn't let any of it get through to her.
The physiotherapy scene looked bleak for West Bengal back in her time and Shabnam saw her share of setbacks. After a short hiatus, she went to complete her master's in the UK and when even that didn't feel enough, she pushed onwards for a Ph.D.: " and that's when I felt complete."
The patriarchal society threw Shabnam in irksome situations, with people assuming a male colleague to always be in charge, or people thinking that it should be her husband or father making her decisions. Even booking a car for herself came back with an invoice that read Mr. Shabnam Agarwal. She used to get bugged by it when she was younger, but now she has learned to deal with it more calmly.
We asked Shabnam what she thought were her greatest achievements and this is what she said, "Professionally you cross a lot of milestones and there's no end to it." She believes getting her hard-earned Ph.D. was one of her most fulfilling moments. She tells us that the journey of her constant evolution of becoming more receptive and giving with a renewed thirst for knowledge is a continuous achievement for her.
Shabnam relates to us the story of a 9-year-old girl who lost her legs and several organs after a concrete extension fell on her. "I went in expecting to see her cry but even though she was in a lot of pain she gave me a beautiful smile and told me she was looking forward to my visit. Seeing her cheerful gave me a different dimension to life and her entire journey of treatment felt like my own journey." Shabnam feels grateful every day for having had made a difference in someone's life, however small it may be.
We asked Shabnam to share her physiotherapy tips for a healthy lifestyle and this was her reply,
"Staying fit isn't too difficult these days, with several fitness apps that keep on getting better every day. Human beings stay young till the age of 20 and it's after that that we start aging. Women start losing their mineral bone density after 30 and end up complaining of aches and pain. An active woman is always healthier than a sedentary one, but being active does not replace the need for fitness. To keep our muscle and bone health intact women mandatorily need to adopt fitness regimes. If you don't want to go out, just work out at home. "