‘Dentist is like a mother’
When her daughter was born in 2011, Nana Bhatt was just 25 weeks old.
Her life changed forever.
As a young woman, she was given up for adoption by a family who wanted her to marry a rich man, but their daughter was destined to live with a single mother.
“When I was 15, I was given to a family of farmers, and my father died.
So, I married the farmer’s son,” says Nana, a student from Madhya Pradesh’s Dharwad district.
“I was only 15 years old.
I had to earn Rs 50,000 a month.
I couldn’t afford to send my child to school.
So I got married.
But after a month, my mother died.”
Nana was left with only her mother and grandmother.
“I had to find my mother’s sister and marry her to get the money to support me.
My mother passed away, so my father didn’t see me for the rest of my life,” she says.
Since then, Nanas life has been filled with ups and downs.
She got married in 2016 to her childhood friend who was already married to a local man.
But when the marriage came to an end, she went back to her village to raise her daughter, who was now aged seven.
“My daughter has been married only once, to my uncle’s son.
And I lost the rest,” she laughs.
She has learnt the hard way that marrying your childhood friend can have a negative impact on your future.
“After the death of my mother, I got separated from my daughter.
I was not allowed to see her for the next 18 months,” she adds.
The loss of her mother has been difficult for her.
“At times, I cried, and at times, my brother and I tried to comfort me,” she recalls.
“We kept thinking, ‘What are you doing?
Why are you crying?
Is your father not coming home?’
I never thought she would die.”
Nanas family is still trying to make sense of her sudden change of heart.
“My father has told me that my mother had told him that she wants me to marry someone else,” she explains.
But Nana has no regrets about marrying her childhood friends.
“They are the most important people in my life.
I want to marry them, too,” she continues.
The Dharwal Dental Hospital has been providing dental care to more than 2,000 children since its inception in 1887.
In 2017, it had nearly 4,000 patients.
“We are working with a group of children who are all from the Dharwar area,” says Dr Nana.
“If they don’t have a relative who can help them, they go to the nearest dentist.”
According to Dr Nanas, the hospital has been receiving more patients for a longer time because it has provided more services to its patients.
“In the last five years, we have seen a decrease in patients because of the drought, which has affected the supply of dentures,” she reports.
In an interview with NDTV, Dr Nanyas sister, Jatin, recalls that she also used to wait for her mother’s death to receive her child.
“But now I am a mother now, so she is in the hospital now,” she smiles.
The hospital, which was founded in 1888, has more than 300 dental facilities in Dharwa, Madhya and Rajasthan.
“Dental surgeries have become a big business,” says doctor Nanya.
“It is a good idea to have a dentist as a family member.
It will help them in their dental work.”