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3.13. Memorabilia

Dr (Mrs) Prabha Jagota

My entry into the NTI, Bangalore, was in itself a memorable event. After waiting for three and a half years for my transfer, in 1975 during the emergency period when the GOI looked into my file and acceded to my request for transfer from Delhi to Bangalore and posted me to NTI, my happiness knew no bounds and I proceeded to meet the Director of this Institute. My first meeting with Dr Nagpaul was an explosive one. I thought of my clinical background amidst the drab settings of the Institute. From his facial expression, it was evident that the Director did not have a good opinion of me. I did not feel like working at NTI. Despite that, he made sure that I assumed charge the same day before leaving. During the course of the interview, on being asked for how long I intended to stay on the job, I replied that it was till the time I learnt all about Mycobacterium or till the time my husband would stay in Bangalore. In those days, my husband was working for a pharmaceutical company based in Bangalore. About 5-6 months after joining NTI, one day in the TCC meeting, the Director praised me for my good work and added that he had to change his opinion regarding female employees especially lady doctors. The experience I had gained from my earlier stint in Municipal Corporation of Delhi stood me in good stead in the field of public health and family planning. I also learnt new things with a lot of zeal. I was impressed with the team spirit and the complete freedom that I had. The Officer was free to choose between participating in training activities or doing research work. Due to the immense freedom I had at work, I was so deeply immersed in research and training activities that I lost track of the time; that very freedom enslaved me and 25-27 years of my service had passed without even realising. My attachment to Bangalore was so strong that my family started living like south Indians.

Dr Nagpaul was my source of inspiration. Even today he is a dynamic worker with the Indian TB Association. Several years later he disclosed to me that he was compelled to include me in the workforce of NTI, as at that time, more than half the posts of MOs were vacant. When I think of the long service I had rendered at this prestigious institution, I feel I was ordained to do so largely as a design of destiny.

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