To Sir with Love
There are so many memories, don’t know from where to begin 😉
I was the first lady to enter Fortis Mohali premises on a chilled January morning in 2001. Hospital was in construction phase and I slipped into a puddle, since it was raining & was slippery all over. Fortis friends still laugh and say, “I touched the ground on day 1, to express my gratitude to Fortis soil”, so true, that I feel even today & forever towards Fortis as an organization built by passion, trust, heart & soul. Projects team that was all men on the site, were shaken by the sight of a woman, and that day 2 more women joined with me Shalini & Vaishali. That’s another story what else happened that day & the day following 😊
It was a dream come true for an MHA graduate those days to be part of such a huge project. It was a great feeling to even look at the sheer size & scale of the project, as Chandigarh didn’t have big corporate hospitals. People thought it was money that was the driving force. However, I remember SMS once shared with the team how he lost his father to Cancer and how the family had to take him to another country for treatment. That’s what motivated him to get into healthcare space in India & he ended up creating a legacy. That is when one realized, why he has been so passionate about healthcare.
He was a youngster in his late 20s I guess, when he was leading Fortis Mohali unit, and I remember so may senior leaders commenting about his lack of experience, but when we look back, it was his vision & lack of experience that made Fortis a name to reckon with in the healthcare industry.
He brought in all youngsters who didn’t have much experience and told them to build the place. Who does that with so much trust & conviction and when so much is at stake ? You allowed us to make mistakes, learn and grow.
It was when SMS was getting into a bigger role and was moving out from Fortis Mohali, suddenly it dawned on me, that what a cocoon I was into and what next? But the leaders he chose were exceptional, who continued his legacy.
In many years to come I realized, his value system & I truly respect him for that. There are many incidents that I recall, but some of them left imprint for a lifetime.
He is someone who taught me to apologize even if I am not at fault, because we should respect our elders & colleagues. He told me very affectionately, ‘I know that you are not at fault, but apologize still as he is your elder. We do not become small by apologizing”. I did that only for you Sir & didn’t feel small.
He told me to go and sit with a Lab Technician eating alone at lunch table, when me and group of friends were sitting together. You cared for everyone like family. Yet to meet a leader like you. Fortis meant Family & Protection, where you can be yourself, create, learn, make mistakes, have fun, laugh, where you will have your individuality & where you will be treated well. SMS is equal to Fortis. There will never be another one.