Review by M O’Flynn
Vasant Oswal has a life span of nearly nine decades and sixty-two years as a medical professional; as he says roads were rough and smooth, up and down, bridges narrow and wide, turns sharp and smooth, but, to paraphrase Edith Piaf, he quotes that he has no regrets. As we read this book we too go on this fascinating journey with him.
Vasant was born in British India before the Second World War, in Pune, and the book gives a personal insight into life at that time, through the war and the ultimate partition of India and Pakistan.
Having gained his medical degree at Pune Medical College Vasant left India for England for his higher surgical studies, the speciality chosen being ENT, and he then covers his new life in this ‘strange land’ and how he had to adapt.
Medicine has progressed so quickly over the last few decades that one forgets how it was, but Vasant reminds us how basic and sometimes primitive it could be, only a few years ago, and how far ENT has come.
After securing a consultancy in Middlesbrough his immense contribution to ENT surgery and practice is revealed, and his pioneering use of the surgical laser in UK ENT practice. Then, when most other people are retiring and slowing down, he explains how he helped to establish a 1,000 bedded not-for-profit hospital in Pune.
As the title suggests, Vasant also did a fair bit of world travelling, and he leads us through his adventures and encounters and, if you never thought that you would see him in a kilt, please turn to pages 203/204!
The book also reveals how life is a wonderful mixture of hard work and luck, and mysterious turnings and timings, as his near return to India via Libya shows us. It is only when you look back that it all pieces together.
Alongside all of this though is a rock steady personal life with his beloved wife Nirmal, his constant support, and daughter Neena.
Whether a clinician or not, anyone can appreciate and enjoy this wonderful book, an autobiography, but also so much more.