Meet the doctor-turned-DJ who returned to medicine to help support people during the pandemic

Doctor-turned-DJ Sanjay Meriya has enlisted as a medical volunteer to support other healthworkers at the frontlines following the Coronavirus outbreak
Sanjay practiced medicine for a year at the  Rural hospital, Yavat
Sanjay practiced medicine for a year at the Rural hospital, Yavat

A medical student who DJs on the side to ease the pressure of dissections and medical histories — sound like a pitch for the next big Netflix series? Wrong. I’ll do you one better. After turning to his passion full-time and making waves as part of the legendary Gully Gang on the streets of Mumbai, he dons his doctor’s coat again as the Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the city. Yes, it’s a story almost too noble to be true. But I guess the life of Sanjay Meriya or The Spindoctor is the stuff of feel-good stories.

“I've always wanted to give back to the community, whether it is in the form of my music skills or medical skills,” says Sanjay, who studied MBBS at Topiwala National Medical College in 2012. He continues, “I decided to return to the field as soon as they declared the situation a pandemic. India’s healthcare structure is on the verge of collapse, I realised that this is the right time to brush up on my medical skills and help people in whatever way I can since we have a shortage of doctors. It's absolute chaos and panic out there. Everyone is clueless as the number of patients are increasing and nobody knows how to control the spread. We are trying our best to handle the situation and frontline warriors are not ready to give up. We will fight till the end!"

SOUND RIGHT: Sanjay creates electronic dance music, remixes of club, hip hop and house

A hip hop fan since his first year in medical college, Sanjay dabbled in DJ-ing as a hobby. It was on days when classes got particularly heavy that he would turn to music for some respite. Although he didn’t expect it, his part-time passion grew into a full-fledged profession. But the transition was not easy. Sanjay explains, “The worst period was when my heart said something and my brain said something else. It took me a long time to overcome the fear of losing a stable career like Medicine and give my hundred per cent to music. It’s a big risk in life and I took it. And I can say with full confidence that I don’t regret it as that fear of failure drives me every day.”

Sanjay's raw passion landed him a place among the Gully Gang at a time when they were only a 3-piece band. Towards the end, they included ten members and a live production team. About the experience, he says, "It made me more than a DJ, it made me a musician. I learnt all the aspects of a musician's life, business and social responsibility. I really grew as a person during this time and learnt why it is important to be humble."
How can those of us with half his medical or music skills contribute towards the cause? He says, "People living in the slums and streets need the most attention. Make food for more than just your family if you can afford it and try to take care of at least one family out there. As for the rest, it begins at home. The first priority should be to take care of your family with regular home screenings. Ask your friends and relatives if they need help in terms of medical supplies or groceries. Be available for all those who need your support." And if you don't do anything else, make sure you at least heed the doctor's advice!

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