Dr. Vishpala Parthasarathy – a fountain of love and energy
How to cite this article: Kapse AR. Dr. Vishpala Parthasarathy – a fountain of love and energy. J Intgr Stand Homoeopathy. 2023;6:158-9. doi: 10.25259/JISH_74_2023
Dr. Vishpala Parthasarathy
Dr. Vishpala is no more. The bundle of energy-seeking expression through multiple activities has been put to permanent rest. Homoeopathy has lost a distinguished editor, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Trust (MLDT) has lost its most successful fundraiser, and patients have lost their trusted physician, friend, philosopher, and guide.
I knew Vishpala as the daughter of Dr. Sarla Sonawala, my teacher of Materia Medica and the then Vice-Principal of Smt. C. M. P. Homoeopathic Medical College, Mumbai. Both had co-authored the book ‘Sepia and Lachesis: A dialogue with a difference.’ Later, at the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR), Mumbai, I heard the story of a mother and daughter duo joining the first batch of ICR postgraduate training course started by Dr. M. L. Dhawale together, and both also cleared their prestigious membership examination and became Member, ICR (MICR) together. But my actual acquaintance with Vishpala started when she joined MLDT’s Hospital, Palghar, as a Homoeopathic Consultant. We travelled together on many occasions and ate breakfast together every Wednesday, which she would lovingly bring for all colleagues and postgraduate students. The acquaintance grew further when we worked shoulder to shoulder during various fundraising events organised by her for MLDT with full support from her husband, Mr. Ravi Parthasarathy. Soon we progressed from being professional colleagues to friends discussing personal problems and sharing emotions and secrets. The differences between our social backgrounds, financial class, and lifestyles hardly mattered. With Vishpala passing away, I have lost a friend whom I turned to during my hour of need. Of all the roles she was involved in, a few are etched in my memory:
DR. VISHPALA: THE STALWART EDITOR
Editing a journal was Vishpala’s passion, the purpose of her existence. She channelled her energies into creating the National Journal of Homoeopathy (NJH), a journal of impeccable quality. Her command over language and artistic flair, coupled with her training under Dr. M. L. Dhawale in standardised homoeopathy made her an ideal editor (she continued to use the Standardized Case Record in her practice throughout). She was not just the editor of NJH, but she also managed its entire production, marketing and took care of its logistics and finances. She was open to new ideas and welcomed contributions from various schools of Homoeopathy. The large and diverse editorial team of NJH is testimony to her networking skills and ability to bind people together. Theme-based issues covering all aspects of clinical conditions holistically became the main highlight and distinguishing feature of the NJH. She burnt the proverbial midnight oil to ensure the timely release of every issue.
She started organising the annual Sarla Sonawala Memorial Seminar. I attended the seminars often and was also invited as a speaker. The meticulous planning to ensure that everything goes smoothly and no time is wasted on technical glitches, was something that I learned from her. All the presentations for the seminar would be received in advance, loaded on a laptop, and tested before the seminar would begin. Her hospitality was legendary, as she planned the menu personally and bargained hard to fit it into the budget.
DR. VISHPALA: THE FUNDRAISER
Vishpala’s role as a fundraiser for MLD Trust started with an interesting incident. She had joined MLDT Hospital, Palghar, as a Homoeopathic consultant. The trust got permission to start a PG institute and was facing a financial crunch to build a hostel, which was a necessity as the course was residential. We were struggling to get donors, and Vishpala came to know about our difficulty. One morning, while having coffee, Mr. Ravi told Vishpala about a performance incentive that he had received from the company. ‘I am your wife, hence have a share in it,’ Vishpala quipped and made him write a cheque of Rs. 5,00,000 instantly. Shri, Mhaiskar sahib of IRB infrastructure lent his support, and the hostel work could start!
Thereafter, Vishpala took the responsibility of organising fundraisers every alternate year for the trust. She came from a wealthy, cultured family, and Mr. Ravi was a highly respected professional in the corporate sector who had risen to the position of CMD of IL and FS, a behemoth that he had built from scratch. Vishpala took upon herself the task of spreading the ‘Joy of Giving’ amongst the corporate bigwigs she interacted with. She became the Director, Corporate Relations of MLD Trust and organised beautiful programs such as Jagjit Singh and Hariharan concerts and dinner at The Leela, etc. IL and FS and their business associates would support the event. But it was not just the rich that she networked with, she also arranged the visit of her ‘Worli Walkers Club’ to Palghar. The funds raised increased with each event and could cross one crore during the last event. One important point was the ethical standards of a fundraising drive. All donations were received in cheques. Mr. Ravi would match the largest donor with an equal personal donation to avoid the charge of exploiting his position. Many times, Vishpala faced rejection, but she persevered on her path of creating a homoeopathic hospital in memory of her Guru. Asking for donations requires a pure heart, commitment to serve the poor and humbleness to accept a No. Vishpala had all these qualities in abundance.
DR. VISHPALA: THE DEVOTED WIFE
One of the qualities about Vishpala that has touched me is the way she cared for Ravi as he battled cancer. She left no stone unturned in seeking medical advice from experts in India and abroad, monitored diet and medications meticulously, and stood like a rock in all phases of the sickness. She fell ill on the day he expired and could not come to Palghar after that. One chronic disease led to another, but her patient care and editorial work continued despite the spread of the disease, and it was only in the last 2–3 months that she had to stop work. Both of them suffered from cancer, and hence Vishpala made a donation to create a fund for the Homoeopathic treatment of cancer at our Palghar hospital.
In Vishpala passing away, we have lost a compassionate and competent Homoeopath with tremendous zest for life. She became a model for aspiring young female Homoeopaths. She was a hardworking professional who also enjoyed life and pursued her artistic interests by learning salsa dance and Indian classical music. To care for others was her nature; whether family members, relatives, domestic helpers, patients, students, or MLDT staff at Palghar and Bhopoli, everyone had a place in her heart. We pray that her daughter Rhea gets the courage to bear the loss of both parents in quick succession. With Vishpala gone, the party has suddenly become quiet. She was a fountain of love and energy. May her soul rest in peace.