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‘Parents and school must work in tandem for the overall development of the child’

Dr Samhita Amar Kulkarni, a cardiologist and a mother to two daughters of Apeejay School, Nerul talks about how the school is God sent for kids



Her two daughters are students of Apeejay School, Nerul in Navi Mumbai. While Owi Amar Kulkarni is in Class II, the younger one, Neervi Amar Kulkarni, is in junior KG. Meet Dr Samhita Amar Kulkarni, a cardiologist who not only practices but also teaches at DY Patil Medical College in Mumbai.

In a candid interview, she talks about the most important lesson that a parent must teach his/her child and how COVID-19 times was testing for her and her daughters. Experts:

Why did you choose Apeejay for your children?

When you think of a school and live in Navi Mumbai, the first name that pops up is Apeejay. The school is known for its academics and the overdevelopment of the child. This is my priority; I want my kids to have holistic development instead of just being brilliant scholars. While I was looking for a school for Owi, I was told that Apeejay offers the best of both worlds – great teachers and an opportunity for the kids to pursue extracurricular activities. The fact that the school emphasised the overall growth of the child clinched the deal for me and my husband, Dr Amar Vilas Kulkarni, a nephrologist. The best part is that whatever good I heard about the school is true to the book.

The importance of giving the child real-time skillsets and not just concentrating on marks alone.

Times have changed. It is no longer about getting top marks. Today, when a student finishes school he/she should have the necessary skills to survive in real-time on his own. Academics alone will not prepare the student to face the cut-throat world. The child must have holistic growth to deal with the ups and downs that life may throw at him/her. For my daughters, Apeejay is God-sent!

What are the things that a parent must keep in mind while choosing a school?

While this is subjective since each parent wants different things for his/her child, there are a few common things that need to be ticked off. First, one must look at the infrastructure the school has. Second, what is the caliber of the teachers? How good are they? Three, what are the aims, goals, and focus of the school? Does it align with what the parent wants? If it does, then that school is right for you. Having said this, academics alone should not be the sole criterion.

What is the most important lesson a parent must teach his/her kid?

The parents and the school must work in tandem. If there is even the slightest gap, the child’s overall development will get hampered. The aim of the school and the parent should be to prepare the kid in such a way that once he/she passes out, they are able to stand on their own. This should be the main aim of education.

The lesson, according to me, is to teach my kids to face any adversary that comes their way with a level head so that they don’t crumble under pressure.

The parents and the school must work in tandem. If there is even the slightest gap, the child’s overall development will get hampered

-Dr Samhita Amar Kulkarni, Cardiologist & Professor at DY Patil Medical College, Mumbai

Why did you choose to pursue cardiology?

The why part is tough to answer. It was a field that I always wanted to pursue. It never occurred to me that I should take up another field to practice in. The job satisfaction that comes when a patient comes to you – near deathbed – and intervention at your end gives him/her a new lease of life can’t be put into words.

 Is it tough to be a woman cardiologist?

Cardiology is indeed a male-dominated branch. So, it has been tough for me to make a mark for myself. You are surrounded by men – be it a convention or an operation theatre. This means that you have to work that much harder to prove your mettle. Even the slightest weakness on your part and the comment; ‘Oh, she is a girl, that’s why she can’t do this’ resonates loudly. But it is an extremely rewarding branch of medicine and I worked to be here.

The onus of looking after the family rests with the lady of the house. How do you manage both?

While this is true, my husband has been extremely supportive. He is a doctor and understands the pressures that come with being in this profession. Between the two of us, we try to ensure that at least one of us comes in the afternoon to check on the girls and spend a few minutes with them before going back to work again. We check on their schoolwork and any pending work and follow up on that. We spend quality time with them and utilise this time to the best of our abilities. And my kids are resilient and have adjusted to our work time.

COVID-19 was scary for all. How tough was it for your family and the girls?

It was a very scary situation. The girls were much younger and my husband and I were working long hours. We were always on tenterhooks if we would bring the virus home. The first two waves were extremely difficult for the entire family. We didn’t know much about the virus. Now we know so much more and the situation is much better today.

My husband and I would come home and immediately rush into the washroom to change our clothes and wash up before we met the girls. They didn’t understand why they couldn’t come rushing and greet us anymore. Why couldn’t they go out and play? So, we sat them down and explained the situation to them but it took time for them to understand why unlike their friends’ parents who were working from home we had to go out. 

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.