Doctors from Mumbai take time off COVID-19 duty to wed

Nuptials not based on auspicious 'tithi' but by rearranging duty hours; parents watched wedding on video; Haldi and Mehndi on hospital premises

Dipti SinghUpdated: Thursday, June 11, 2020, 07:20 AM IST
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Dr Sandeep Purane & Dr Hemangi Deoraj | BL Soni

Mumbai: Doctors Sandeep Purane, 31, and Hemangi Deoraj, 29, were busy planning their wedding scheduled for April 26, until the coronavirus pandemic came calling in February-March, putting paid to their plans. They were forced to postpone their wedding by more than a month, as it eventually turned out. The duo finally tied the knot on Wednesday, with just a handful of doctor friends and four relatives in attendance. The couple is currently engaged in Covid duties at the Hinduhrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray (HBT) Trauma Hospital at Jogeshwari and since March, their home is on the 12th floor (hostel quarters) of the hospital.

The date for the rescheduled nuptials was not based on any auspicious 'tithi' but by suitably rearranging their duty hours. While Deoraj deferred her shift on Wednesday to another day, Purane made time in the day to exchange vows and planned to resume work on the night shift. The couple got engaged in January and the big day was supposed to have been in April. But the outbreak in distant Wuhan, China, came home, necessitating the lockdown in its wake.

Accordingly, the couple kept changing the wedding date. Finally, their respective families settled for June 14 at a resort near Mumbai, with a guest list of about 50. But here, the doctors begged to differ. They were afraid their families would not be able to travel from Jalgaon and Nashik because of Covid19 and their parents would be taking undue risk in the process. So they decided to tie the knot as soon as possible, reconciling to the fact that their guests would be able to watch their wedding on video and in pictures.

"This is a very special occasion for us and our families. We missed our parents a lot. However, duty comes first. Also making our parents travel up to Mumbai could have meant risking their lives, which was not acceptable to us," said Dr Purane. Apart from the couple's doctor friends, the groom's sister and brother-inlaw were able to attend, while the bride's uncle undertook all the rituals on behalf of her parents. The haldi and mehndi ceremonies were organised in the rooms on the 12th floor of the HBT Trauma Hospital in the presence of their friends.

The couple exchanged vows at a Ram temple near the Registrar of Marriage office in Khar in a simple ceremony, wearing masks. "We just decided to get married on Wednesday. However, our colleagues had organised a small mehndi and haldi function for us in our rooms. As soon as I returned to my room from the ward at pm on Tuesday, I was asked to get ready for the rituals. It was a surprise for both me and Sir," said Deoraj, who fondly refers to her husband thus, the way she addresses other senior colleagues.

Doctors Purane and Deoraj both completed their MBBS from Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (LTMG) Hospital in Sion. While Purane is from Nashik, Deoraj is from Jalgaon. Dr Purane, who currently works as an orthopaedic surgeon, is Dr Deoraj's academic senior. The couple works for 6 to 8 hours at a stretch for four days, taking a break for three days when there are no emergency cases. As the months go by, doctors and nurses continue to bearing the brunt of the country’s fight against the spread of the virus. Currently, nearly 400 health workers, including doctors, nurses and other frontline care providers have tested positive, with 10 of them having succumbed so far.

"We wanted to make sure we could celebrate while we were all still able to. These are difficult times but we will sail through this. We thought there was no point in delaying the wedding any further. When all this ends, we will celebrate it with our parents in the way they always wanted the ceremony to be," said Dr Purane. After the ceremony, the newly weds and their colleagues plunged right back into the thick of the war on corona.

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