Her beauty lies in her simplicity. And her words are underscored with personal truths, which make a conversation with her a learning experience. Meet dentist and Implantologist Darshini Shah and her husband Vikram, a senior orthopedic surgeon of repute. Together, the couple is the name behind Shalby Hospitals across India.
“We started with a six-bed hospital in Ahmedabad and today we have more than 2,000 beds in 12 major hospitals across the state,” she shares as we meet up with her at Shalby on SG Highway.
The brand was established in Ahmedabad as a joint replacement centre in 1994 by Dr Vikram. “During those days, Vikram managed to practice while a dentist’s set-up was something we could ill-afford. So, I settled for a Rs 600 per month part time job,” she adds, about the tough patches earlier.
The couple’s discipline and rigour kept them going over the years. “Unlike other moms, I couldn’t devote enough time to my son during his tender years. I was practising and we were building up this hospital. I felt guilty. My son often told me about his friends’ mothers and how they would always be around. Much later, did he accept and understand my work,” Darshini relives the struggles. Not only was it a hounding guilt in her emotional sphere, the sense of constrain was made worse by the fact that home was a two-bedroom space in the same unit as the six-bed “hospital.”
She goes on: “There were times when I cried. I had to choose between my patients and my son, who went through his bouts of fever and childhood illnesses. That was a tough call. I am a professional to the core and chose my patients, all the while realising that it was unjust to my child. I even shared my regrets with my son.”
Today, Shanay Shah, her son, is a chartered accountant and happily married to Devanshi, a reading enthusiast. “Retrospectively, I feel blessed to have worked so much that now, I can do 14 dental implants in a day and guarantee success. My work has shaped me as a person and made me grow from within. Today I am a proud grandma and wake up to spend time with my grandchild. I feel like I can make up for the time I couldn’t give to my son,” signs off the gritty implantologist.