Dubai: Dr. Sanjay Parashar is a renowned plastic surgeon in Dubai. He is the founder of Cocoona – a clinic for plastic surgery, skin and cosmetic procedures.
Parashar recognised among top 100 most influential people in Dubai last year. In 2008 he was regarded UAE’s top 10 celebrity surgeons. Parashar has been practicing for almost three decades, his specialties include breast surgeries, facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty, facelift, occuloplastic surgery (eye surgery) and more.
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But all this is now when his magical hands - adept with skills – of sculpting and contouring human bodies for re-constructive and cosmetic surgery – has made him a multi-millionaire surgeon of UAE.
Take this : Parashar, is in fact, a poor man’s son and he sure struggled for money to help the family get through the daily rut of life.
His father was a farmer in a tiny village called Hirri in Madhya Pradesh. “The population back then when my parents lived there was just 2,000 people.”
“Everyone was a farmer in the village. One day, my father decided to run away from the village with my mother and three older siblings. I was not born yet. But the story has been told to me by my siblings.”
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“He fled the village and went to Nagpur.”
Why did he do it?
Parashar’s father did not want his children to become farmers and struggle for day to day living in India. He (the father) wanted all his children educated and leading good successful lives.
After begging and pleading people in the city, Parashar’s father found a place in the city that would fit them all. Two years on Parashar was born in the house and his struggles began.
Brilliant in education and medicine from the start
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Parashar and his siblings were enrolled into a Missionary school in Nagpur where tuition fees were at zero cost. Basically Parashar and his siblings did not pay any tuition fees.
His father was doing odd jobs like selling betel nuts. He also started a pawn shop selling different things. But that project also failed. Then he started driving an auto-rickshaw (Tuk Tuk) to bring money to the table.
Parashar who belongs to a generation of Rajputs – considered to be warriors of India – fighting is in his blood.
“My father had instilled in my siblings and me that we should become doctors from young age.”
At 18, Parashar got admission into the government college of Nagpur for medicine.
“There was no way I was buying books for my studies. It was way too expensive. So I would photocopy pages of the books. And I would do a number of chores in the evening to pay for his school supplies and hobbies he pursued.”
Parashar was also a keen cricketer. He was selected for the popular Ranji Trophy but had to give it up as he could not afford to buy a bat. His father clearly told him he would spend on his education, but not on buying him a bat.
Taking up odd jobs for a living
Parashar doubled up as a Tuk-Tuk driver in the evening. He was also involved in wedding preparations in the city and that fetched him a little money that went towards his transportation costs, hostel mess food. He was studying medical on scholarship so there was no cost for tuition fees.
Finding his specialisation
Parashar soon discovered he was born to be a surgeon. “It was in the second year of my studies when we had the opportunity to conduct minor emergency surgeries. I had the opportunity to remove a cyst from a person who came into the emergency section of a hospital that was attached to my college. I was so excited after that minor operation. I wrapped the cyst in a gauge and kept it with me. It was not the best thing to do, but I was young and so excited with my first successful surgery.”
Even as the financial struggles continued through his college education, Parashar did not lose sight of his ultimate goal – to be a surgeon and a successful one at that.
During that time, his class-mates and friends discovered that Parashar was particularly adept with his hands. “I work with both my hands. Focus and precision are key to be a surgeon and I have been successful at keeping at it.”
Many of my friends would tell me that I was born for this.
As a medical student in Nagpur, Parashar like his friends dreamt of greener pastures – a bigger city with more opportunities and Mumbai it was.
Just after graduation he and his friends from Nagpur would hop into local trains – without prior reservation or tickets – and head to Mumbai. In their hand, they carried their portfolio – what is now called a Curriculum Vitae (CV). With dreams in their eyes, hopes in their mind, they would set off to the city of opportunities.
“My shoes were worn out with holes. I wish had I had kept it as a souvenir. But the days of struggle are etched in my memory, helps me stay grounded.”
“My father did not stop me from getting out of Nagpur to look for a job.”
In 1992 after walking on foot across Mumbai (then called Bombay) he landed himself a job in Bombay Hospital for a salary of Rs. 2,000 (around Dh400 to Dh500) based on the currency exchange of dirham to rupee back in 1992. If you look at the exchange today, his salary was a mere Dh102. But Rs. 2,000 for a doctor / surgeon was low even in terms of India.
But Parashar kept doing what he loved most. Surgeries, surgeries and surgeries it was all day. He also took time to equip himself with more medical knowledge and skills. Soon he was appearing for an All India medical exam where he stood 30. This qualified him to become a plastic surgeon – something he loved most.
“My friends said I was born for it. My both hands are adept at surgery. This is rare for a surgeon and so my journey in plastic surgery began.”
He got a job in Cumballa Hospital for a salary of Rs. 3,000 after that. Bombay Hospital, by then started hearing about Parashar’s skill as a plastic surgeon and decided to hire him back in their hospital. This time he got a bumper salary raise to Rs. 7,000. “It was a time to celebrate.”
Soon his hands were itching for more and he wanted to look outside India to prosper as a plastic surgeon. And so he took up a job in a private clinic in Bahrain. His salary this time was Dh6,000. “I stayed in Bahrain from 1997 until 2004. This was the time when I saved a lot of money. I managed to repay mine and my family’s debt during this period.”
Then he tried a stint in Australia. It was here when he discovered job opportunities in the UAE.
And it is in the land of UAE where Parashar saw real success.
The land of UAE has made him the successful plastic surgeon he is today.
“I came here in 2005. The first year was a real struggle. I was taking care of my children here on my own. I was struggling with jobs. At times I would even forget to pick up my son from the nursery as my day would be so busy. I lost my job and had a three-month ban put on me.”
“My wife who was in Australia realised something was grossly wrong here with me. She quit her job as a radiologist and decided to move to UAE and relieve me of the pressure. This was a huge relief. She took charge of my house and children. And I could focus on my work. In 2006 my practice started to flourish and in 2007 it reached a peak. In 2008 I was regarding top 10 successful plastic surgeons of UAE. This meant a lot to me.”
I could not have achieved my success anywhere else in the world. I am a rags to riches tale to tell. But know this, it has come with hard-work determination and confidence. So don’t give up on your dreams and goals.
Parashar, today, has earned the reputation of having the healing hands. He is ambidextrous and ambitious. He has been listed as the Top Indian Aces, 100 Smartest People in UAE, among the top 100 most influential people in UAE and 50 Most Powerful Indians in UAE by Arabian Business.
Till date he has performed over 12,000 surgeries and authored two books. The proceeds from the books has gone towards the treatment of cleft lifts for children born with the deformity. Not only does he perform the surgeries himself for free, he also funds them. He also supports and treats women who have suffered acid attack, with surgeries and treatments that help them rehabilitate. “I have seen struggles and success, it is time for me to give back to the society.”