The bed itself looks ordinary. Its metallic, cream-coloured legs buttress a slender platform and a flat mattress; there’s a thin pillow on the edge, shrouded by a veil of transparent plastic. But here, in the middle of this room where the blinds are drawn, the white lights burn sharp and the air-conditioning pinches ever so slightly. Here, on this bed – or is it more a glorified table? – is where the magic happens.
The door behind me noiselessly swings open as Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala strides in, offers a firm handshake and takes a seat on his side of the desk.
We are in one of Dr. Pardiwala’s three offices on the first floor of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute in Mumbai, a room that feels more like a teenage sports fan’s bedroom, full of precious memorabilia, rather than a doctor’s chamber. Above the door is a framed racket signed by Mahesh Bhupathi. On the wall behind me are glass-encased jerseys from cricketers Suresh Raina and Mohammed Shami, the latter having signed “Thanks for your care and expertise.” On an upper shelf is a red glove from boxer Akhil Kumar and on an adjacent wall a framed discus from Olympian thrower and Asian Games Gold medallist Seema Antil.
And then, smack in the middle of the room – the bed-table – where India’s best knees, arms and ankles have been held up for inspection.
Dr. Pardiwala, 48 years, has just come from a 14-hour day conducting operations and checking on patients in what is one of the country’s better-known sports medicine facilities. Every week, he and his team see over 500 patients. They conduct over 800 surgeries a year – half of those on athletes – treating everyone from junior champions and recreational athletes to India’s sporting supernovas. Dr. Pardiwala is among a handful of India’s most sought-after sports surgeons. He serves on the 3-member medical advisory board of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and has operated on elite athletes including 12 medallists during last April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia and 12 at the Asian Games. To get a sense of his body of work, there is this matter-of-fact sentence he throws out in the middle of the conversation: “Quite often you have a bowler you’ve operated on bowling to a batsman you’ve operated on giving a catch to a fielder you’ve operated on. That’s happened at times.”
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About the Writer
Bhavya Dore is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist. She has written for various national and international publications. She usually writes about criminal justice issues, culture and sports. @BhavyaDore