Aneela Darbar is a neurosurgeon who loves her job, her womanhood and her early morning bicycle rides. This Miracle Woman is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Agha Khan University. She moved back to Karachi from New York three years ago, after receiving her training to be able to spend more time with her family.
“Neurosurgery all over the world is a very male dominated field. It is not only physically tiring but also emotionally taxing. The kind of responsibilities and liabilities of life and death that one has to face doing my work is quite immense,”Aneela explains. Therefore, her job requires not just dedication but a lot of time as well. Aneela believes that as a result of the required time commitment, women who are home-makers cannot go into this field. “When I had chosen to become a neurosurgeon after medical school, I was told immediately that it is impossible to get a neurosurgery slot in USA, that too for a brown woman, in a program with only a hundred slots. I was the only woman amongst a bunch of white males that got selected. Our mornings would start at 5 am but I used make sure to go with my makeup on!” She laughs. Aneela says she had decided from the outset that she is a woman and will not change her outlook to blend in with the rest of the male doctors. Recalling her time of training, she says that she used to stand out when she would enter a room full of doctors as her appearance would shatter the stereotypical image of a neurosurgeon. “Some of them would understand and become comfortable soon while others would keep feeling a woman can never be a good neurosurgeon.” She’s extremely proud of the fact that since she has been at Agha Khan, five more women have been inducted in the neurosurgery program at the university.
It’s difficult for Anila to pick one moment as her Miracle moment. She chooses to define it as her miracle transformation as a person. Her profession has given her a lot of pride but has also shaped her into being more humane and compassionate. She admits that when she started off, she was very arrogant because of her success but her journey helped her realize that life and death is a close line and you can lose someone you love in seconds. “I am a woman after all, I am sensitive, and it affects me,” She says with tears in her eyes.
The strong and the very dedicated Aneela is a firm believer of the fact that every person needs self-love and self-care. Nobody can do that job for you but yourself. She uses various products to keep her skin young and fresh. She is also an athlete and bikes 50 km every day in the morning and a 100 km on Sunday to keep herself fit.
Looking back, she feels that the one thing she would do differently if given the chance would be to pick up her phone more often and connect with friends, call her parents more and ask them how they are. “When you are focused on a goal you have a tunnel vision and forget what is happening in the periphery – family, friends, parents get neglected.” She says with a hint of regret in her smile.
Aneela Darbar is the personification of success and a woman worthy of admiration. When seen beyond her white lab coat, she is a warm, caring woman who is open to learning from her mistakes. It is said that to be successful, the first thing to do is to fall in love with your work. Aneela has done exactly that to be where she is today.