What started as just as an interaction turned into a medium of motivation and strength for women to explore their hidden talents. I intended to take down every word she said but her anecdotes captivated me so much so that I could meagerly pen a few words down, she just made me speechless. Meet Dr Sophia Rodrigues, an obstetrician by profession and painter by interest.
Q. No doubt you are a wonderful doctor but what inspired you to pick up the brush and paint your imagination?
– We women, at times, need inspiration to realise the talents within us but also need to discover and rediscover ourselves. I was blessed with this opportunity because I consider the life I am living as a rebirth. Twelve days after the birth of my child, due to certain medical complexities, I was under the ventilator that supported my lungs and in turn my survival. If not for that, I would’ve died. Doctors could do nothing and so had just surrendered me in the Almighty’s hands. As the saying goes, ‘doctors are just the instruments in God’s hand but they can’t be God’. This experience nudged me to venture into paintings which was initially my pastime. I had become resistant to antibiotics. But miraculously the fever just left my body, an unexplainable event in medical science. I guess prayers did what antibiotics couldn’t. This experience was an eye-opener. It was a life changing experience that changed my perception about everything. I realised how beautiful life was. We as human beings tend to focus more on the wrong rather than discovering correct solutions. I feel that we shouldn’t try to earn more and live less. We have to invest quality time in our loved ones as well as make some new friends. All this is only possible because of the divine forces that constantly inspire us in our lives.
This is my first exhibition. My collection comprises of around 48 paintings. Although there was a big gap in this pursuit of mine, I would say, with my husband Adolf V. as my constant support, I was able to reach out to people. He always says, ‘in your dying years, you shouldn’t regret not doing something.’ When we got engaged, I gifted my paintings to his colleagues on various occasions. Their praises filled me with a renewed energy and motivated me to do better.
Q. You play a double role, that of a gynaecologist and a mother, and they both are closely linked. How was the delivery of your children different from the children you helped deliver?
– God is a divine being and everything made by God is divine. Nobody can break the bond between the mother and a child. Every child is different and so is every mother. In the Indian society, most people tend to distribute their own ‘gyan’ instead of listening to doctors. And, as mothers, we are compelled to listen. Even though I was a doctor myself, I guess it was the ‘mother’ in me that made me believe these wise words. People find a million reasons to blame the mother for everything that goes wrong, of course, they don’t do it with a bad intention. We should always listen to the good and ignore that which is not relevant. In my profession I have witnessed many such cases where I have had to counsel people separately in order to understand both sides of the story. I try to inspire housewives to work and become more independent but have realised that the moment they step out of their house, they get punished by their husbands for trying to discover financial independence. Freedom is being curtailed. It’s probably because the husband is worried that the wife may become financially stable and not need him anymore. Surprisingly, this factor is absent in international community.
Q. What was your husband’s contribution with regards to your painting, and would he like the legacy to be followed by your daughter?
– My husband was very supportive about my passion. His constant encouragement exhilarated me but our human nature makes us undervalue our self-worth and makes up lame excuses of ‘not having the time’. My husband says, ‘being talented is one thing but showcasing the same is a huge deal’. Art is within. You need to bring it out and let it flow. He feels it should be matter of pride and not ego.
My daughter has started showing signs of moving on the same path but we as parents encourage her to follow her dreams and not our heart’s desire. Leaving a lasting impression in someone’s heart is what matters.
Q. Would you like to be recognised as a painter or doctor?
– I believe that irrespective of one’s profession, people should remember you for who you are as a person.
Q. What message would you like to convey to all the women?
– Believe in what you do. Do not underestimate yourself. Do not hesitate to get the thing on board with passion and sail towards the success you always dreamed of. If you love yourself, only then can you love others.