7. A peadiatrician and a forensic expert, how did you become a PHP geek

This entry is for in response to her 7. A peadiatrician and a forensic expert, how did you become a PHP geek?. I have written about it in bits and pieces, most of my friends know about it and my most common remark is “I got bored of being a doctor!” but thats not really correct. Here is it again for her and yes some day Aasim might want to show it to someone….


Till I was fifteen I always wanted to be a Wildlife Vet, something very much unheard of about 25-30 years ago – then my mother had her first and fatal coronary episode – I was in 10th standard. Hurt, anger and a mixture of emotions made me decide to become a Cardiologist / Cardiac surgeon. Those were the days when admissions to medical colleges were done on basis of 12th board exams. Studied hard for next two years got admission to the local Govt. Medical College it took tow more years for the reality and certain amount of disillusionment to sink in. The reality was I could not leave my father behind and go out of Nagpur to pursue higher studies, disillusionment was about the rampant nepotism in medical teaching circles – I was neither a rich man’s son nor a some big shot Doctor’s (God)child. There was no way I could not have become the later but I was indeed motivated to make more money than my usual odd jobs… I started playing in the stock market – sometime during these four years I guess became a maverick.

From Cardiology the ambition was scaled down to Paediatrics. Paediatrics simply because I loved children and seeing them smile after making them well was worth everything. I finished my post graduation in Paediatrics started my own OPD in a rented room of a lower middle class area of a city. I charged Rs10/- per patient per visit. The next year just continued to deepen my disillusionment. My seniors advised me to give injectables to get more money, send referrals, throw parties for other doctors, start indoors patient facility – none of which I could bring myself to do. To boost my paltry income I joined as a post graduate student in Forensic Medicine, the stipend was good – I still tenaciously held on to my belief that if I made the children alright the parents will tell more people and so on… The parents did their bit sometimes going out of their way to do it. (Un)fortunately I was too good a doctor – kids I treated for any substantial length of time stayed well for a long long time. It was very heartwarming to see them go to schools or where ever and hear them shouting greetings to me 🙂

I finished my MD Forensic in two years instead of three thanks to a huge favour by my HOD, got a Govt job which I immediately hated for the corruption but continued for some time. Soon after doing MD Forensic I got married to Swati. She had a decent job, I still persisted with my Paediatric OPD – days were still bearable and passing happily.

Swati got pregnant, down trend in advertising industry meant an impending job loss for her. We had decided that once the child was about 3 months old she will look for a job in one of the metros.

One day I estimated that the vegetable vendor with his cart in front in front of my clinic made much more in a day than I did!! The disillusionment was complete!!! This was no longer about being good and pursuing a cause, it was the survival of my soon to be born child and our family – nothing was bigger than that! Swati still insisted that once she got a job things will be OK again.

On 5th November 1997 a miracle culminated and another began – Aasim was born – parenthood suddenly changed our perspective. Staying together as a family was the most important thing, a few more things happened concurrently. Internet reached our city, one of my friends whom we met thru the local BBS introduced me to Linux, having worked with computers since early teens and the ethics gathered over years Open Source instantly appealed – the world was our playground where meritocracy ruled, where people several times smarter than you were willing to help you for the joy of helping or simply because they could.

The mould was cast – we decided that we would live off the stock market nest-egg, which I had collected in college, for some time. Thus SANIsoft was started. A total of two employees, myself and Swati, one computer called the Insider as it was housed inside our bedroom. The going was tough, we never expected it to be easy.

Aasim is nearly nine now and we have never had a dull day in our lives, financially Aasim need not worry about his education ever and I have all the toys that I ever coveted.

A couple of months ago, a doctor friend said “You sold out”. I remarked “Yes, but I did not black market myself”

I love my present job and status, but I still miss being a doctor. I know I can’t have my cake and eat it too but SANIsoft’s success is now opening doors to my childhood dream of being a Wildlife vet, which may still come true in a bigger way that I ever could envisage before…

  • Wow. I mean, WOW. And thanks. The part about the miracle gave me warm fuzzies.

    Now I also understand your love for photographing animals and petting squirrels. 🙂

    • Welcome,

      The part about the miracle gave me warm fuzzies.
      Yes – Family first now and always 🙂

  • Now I guess it completes the cycle

    Wannabe wildlife vet -> Dr -> PHP Geek -> Photographer -> Wildlife photographer -> Wannabe wildlife vet?

    • Ummm… there are several missing roles in the cycle but then I don’t see that as a cycle more like parallel threads in the weave and weft of life’s fabric. One important thread that needs to be weaved in before the vet part is that of being a farmer.

      • Wow! -> That should explain what all I want to say.

        • LOL, you beat me to Wow 🙂

          • Well in that case Anupma beat both of you to it :))

            And seriously the WOWs make me feel I did something out of the ordinary – I just opted for my and my family’s happiness

            • Well, you studied to work as a Doctor and then switched because it wasn’t getting you anywhere…

              My wow was mostly towards the switching bit. I mean, today if I were to be taken off Linux/Sysadmin/Computers, I wonder what I’d do for a living…

  • Wow.

  • You give hope and encouragement to lots of people, Tarique.

    • Now you have made him a Reluctant Messiah!!

      • Yeah! I would be content to be the hen-pecked husband – but that would make you a chicken 😛

    • A*doctor* you see ! 😉

      -nerdy

  • ^:)^

  • inspiring… !!!

  • Ah…(not wow)..I bet no one else said that

    Just when I thought I should get to know you better, you post this…thanks a lot! You ARE a rara avis in India…if you want some cash you can always sell your medical degree certificate you know! 😉
    Can I put you on my friends list?

    • Re: Ah…(not wow)..I bet no one else said that

      Aha! something different – thanks

      I never asked you you need not ask either :)

  • primum non nocere

    You wrote:
    patient per visit. The next year just continued to deepen my disillusionment. My seniors advised me to give injectables to get more money, send referrals, throw parties for other doctors, start indoors patient facility – none of which I could bring myself to do. To boost my paltry income I joined as a post graduate student in

    I applaud your decision to leave the field rather than compromise your principles. You did the right thing.

    I had read the following, http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/323/7323/1204/b

    and I think more should follow your path.

    • Re: primum non nocere

      You did the right thing.

      Thank You

  • Anonymous

    Aww … you don’t love me any more 🙁 Would have been nice to catch hold of you again

  • Finally found my answer 🙂 Thanks for putting it all in great details here. It really is interesting and inspiring.

    • tariquesani

      🙂 It has been so long that even I find it amusing now….

    • Truly Inspiring !!

  • I was there at the start of SANIsoft. You used to visit clinic during morning times, and then look after office. Small room, Joe editor, command line, phplib, etc

    Initial years of SANIsoft were challenging too. Maybe you can share first 5 years of SANIsoft – many people are very much interest that too.

    Thank you sir
    Vinay Yadav

    • tariquesani

      Aye bhai tu aake to mil! Nahi to address bata mein aata hoon. Aaj kal vaise bhi office se nikal diya hai sub bacchon ne mil kar!

  • Thank you for posting this! This at once inspired me to pursue my dream, and get ready for all the obstacles life will throw at me and the compromises it will expect!

    Thank you thank you thank you! Great post, and I really admire you as a person now!

    • tariquesani

      Laya, There were/are no compromises or sacrifices. Sacrifice implies that you give up a higher or more dearer value for a lower one. If you ever feel like you are sacrificing – it is time to check your premises 🙂 All you guys have it in you to make it big don’t ever give up!!

      • Touche. You score! I hope you turn out to be right though. Pray, actually.

  • Truly Inspiring Post !!

    “You sold out”. I remarked “Yes, but I did not black market myself”

    ^^ Truly love these lines . Your Photographs and talks have always inspired me and now this article takes the inspiration to another level . Learnt a lot . Thanks for Sharing 🙂

    • tariquesani

      Thanks Karthik 🙂

  • Sid

    5 years since this post now, do you still miss being a doctor?

    What about being a doctor did you like the most?

    A very inspiring post, thank you.

    P.S: It is Pae not Pea in Paediatrician or Pediatrician. 😀

    • tariquesani

      Yes, I still miss being a doctor…

  • Awesome post Tarique 🙂

    Cool job with the smileys too!! B-)

    • tariquesani

      Thanks.

  • Dr.Kunal

    Similar case in making…. Not entirely same though..In my case, I have just completed my MBBS from Govt Med College,Miraj; but the love for computers and technology is much much more than the determination to stick to my profession. Lets see what Future has in store for me!

    • tariquesani

      Best of luck!

  • Rock on sir. Its great to read this and wish you Godspeed in achieving your childhood dream.

    • tariquesani

      Thanks

  • Dr Espi Chakraborty

    Feels good reading this. Way back in 1984, I passed out my MBBS from Calcutta Medical College. Switched to the IT profession in 1990. Am still enjoying myself in the software industry.

    • tariquesani

      Thanks, glad that you are enjoying yourself in the software industry

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