About me… by Ritu

As I grow older, I am humbled by the ones I follow. My mother, a teacher in her past life, with her quiet wisdom. My father, a doctor, his integrity and strong will…

Both my granddads, one of my great granddads, not to mention my uncle, aunt and cousin are all medics. I have grown up watching them serve the community and make a difference to people’s lives. I am in awe of my granddad, an inspirational man, who I was lucky enough to be bought up by.

When I was 7 and living in India, a family came to the gates of our bungalow in the early hours.  They had walked all night from a nearby village carrying a sick child in their cart. Not a penny to their name and no shoes on their feet, they stood outside the gate with their hands together in prayer when my granddad opened the door. Their last hope… she was very ill indeed. In a makeshift office at the entrance of our house, we had a basic doctor’s couch for just these occasions. I, his “junior “ assistant, watched as my granddad opened the familiar maroon, Victorian doctor’s bag and drew Penicillin from a glass ampoule, to inject the child’s body. She was admitted in our nursing home down the road. No fees were exchanged, only a basket of freshly harvested vegetables which sat in the cart with the patient….

I grew up in the 7th largest city in India and this was a common occurrence at both granddads houses. My great grand-father was also a doctor and found time to run seven other businesses besides!

I was the first dentist in my family. I took my dad’s advice and chose a more “sensible career for women who wished to have a family”. For years afterwards I thought I had undersold myself. However, I grew to love oral surgery & orthodontics. I chose to specialise in orthodontics and wanted to treat children with cleft lip & palate. I did not believe in myself enough and to suit my personality and lifestyle I started my orthodontic clinic in Chichester. Yes, it has turned out to be “a good career for women who wish to have a family!”

My chosen profession is certainly not about saving lives, but what I have learnt is that I too can make a difference to others. Many people lead empty working lives and fulfil their spirit with charity work. I am lucky enough to enjoy satisfaction in my work that is not governed by my income. Since I stopped listening to the news many years ago, my eyes notice the courage and achievements of all the people around me, my colleagues, friends, patients, other business owners … who choose to be different. I am inspired by the resilience, dedication and philanthropic deeds of well known people, whose life stories I love reading about.

Having my own business was the first step to growing up and since then two major life events have made me evaluate my priorities; the birth of my two girls and losing my mother to cancer. I want to help as many people as I can and grow old disgracefully! My practice is the vehicle to help me realise my quiet ambitions. My team are a constant source of inspiration and support the vision for my business.