By Alka Pimputkar
On May 17, 2011, our beloved mother, Ma, passed. While it has been nine years since her passing, and it seems as if it were yesterday as the sorrow remains close to all our hearts. She would have been 95 years old. One would wonder why so late in writing a tribute now, but its never too late to write about someone who sits in your heart forever.
Dr. Sheila Bhagvat, daughter of Lt. Col. Nilkanth (Bhausaheb) Jatar and Mrs Vimla (Jiji) Jatar, made a profound impact on every life she touched. She was born in Nagpur and spent most of her teen years in Nagpur. Sheila was a teenager when her mother, Jiji, passed away. Jiji’s wish for Sheila was for her to become a doctor.
Sheila finished two years at Fergusson college in Pune. She then went to Nagpur to spend her vacation while contemplating whether she should apply for medical school. But there was a small problem. Her father Bhausaheb was on the selection committee and she did not have the heart to tell him to step down. So, she confided in her elder brother, Baba, who came to her rescue and talked to Bhausaheb. He gladly stepped down so Sheila could apply for medical school. She graduated from G S Medical College of Bombay in 1947.
She met our father Dr Prabhakar Bhagvat in medical school. As the story goes, he spotted her playing tennis and then through a mutual family friend, Bhausaheb was approached, and the rest is history. My father loved and respected her and this set an example for many of that generation. Sheila, a successful OBGYN, wore multiple hats in her career and in her personal life. While she conducted her successful medical and surgical practice, her hospitality for guests and relatives was exemplary. She was very well respected amongst family and friends.
She was an achiever in her career, yet a very humble and genuine person. She was soft spoken and stayed calm, yet firm, when needed. Her patients used to call her Devi. She had a flourishing practice in Thane.
Ma was a voracious reader and her love for poetry was second to none. Her favorite was Geetanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. She had a collection of spiritual and philosophical books. She studied Bhagwat Geeta and learned several chapters by heart, her favorite being Adhay/Chapter 16. She found solace in Dyaneshwari. She knew various aspects of the Bible as well as many Shlokas from Sanskrit. She loved the practice of yoga and she especially liked different types of breathing techniques. She knew as a doctor the importance of deep breathing for our health.
In her golden years, she learned how to use a computer, opened an email account and was on Facebook sending friend requests. This shows her determination and courage to face any change that came her way.
Sheila had three children: Alka (married to Ravi Pimputkar), Medha (married to Dr Vinay Dhavale) and Dr Milind (married to Smieta Dixit). By then she was called Ma, and she became Ma to so many.
She has five grandchildren, Dr. Gouri Pimputkar, Samir Pimputkar, Aditya Dhavale, Pathik Bhagvat, Minnat Bhagvat and seven great grandchildren. She was a mentor to her granddaughter, Dr. Gouri Pimputkar, who is now following in her grandmother’s footsteps as OBGYN.
All of us were blessed to have such a wonderful, loving and determined mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, in our lives. We miss her so much and will always have everlasting memories of her.
“………….and then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils.” William Wordsworth