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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

‘I just wanted to keep the morale up’: Assam’s PPE-clad dancing doctor

The viral video of Dr Arup Senapati has more than ten thousand retweets, drawing the attention of many public figures, among them, Hrithik Roshan himself.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati | Updated: October 19, 2020 7:52:12 pm
Doctor, PPE kit, Viral video, doctor dancing in PPE kit, dancing in protective gear, Assam news, Trending news, Indian Express news34-year-old Senapati’s reputation as a skilled dancer is well-known around the hospital. (Screengrab)

He spent most of his youth — and a good part of Sunday evening — imitating the moves of his idol, Hrithik Roshan, in the hope that he could dance like him someday. On Monday, Roshan himself had a message for Dr Arup Senapati, an ENT surgeon at Assam’s Silchar Medical College.

“Tell Dr Arup I’m gonna learn his steps and dance as good as him someday in Assam. Terrific spirit” the actor tweeted.

“Impossible!” said a laughing Dr Senapati, who has just finished seven days duty at a Covid ward in Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH). “Imagine me teaching him!”

On Sunday evening, Dr Syed Faizan Ahmad, also on Covid-duty at SMCH, tweeted a clip of his colleague, a PPE-clad Senapati, slickly dancing to the hit song ‘ghungroo’ from the Hrithik Roshan starrer War. The video went viral, drawing the attention of many public figures, among them, Roshan.

“It was the last of the seven days of gruelling duty at the Covid ward,” said Dr Senapati, “We were to start our mandatory quarantine the next day — my colleagues had already told me that I must dance on the last day of my duty.”

34-year-old Senapati’s reputation as a skilled dancer is well-known around the hospital. In fact, right from his college days at the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital, he has taken part in several dance competitions, even winning a few.

“So I dance whenever I am feeling low,” said Senapati, who is a first-year post-graduate ENT student. “Or whenever someone else is feeling low — to cheer them up.”

“For instance, when I was training in rural areas of Assam, and circumstances were a little bleak, I would dance to keep myself happy,” he said.

The antidote has seen him through pandemic duty as well — first in Goalpara district, and now in Silchar. “Day in and day out since April — the duty takes a toll and we must try and keep happy,” said Dr Senapati.

“This is a disease, full of ups and downs. Many times, patients in the ICU are low and depressed,” he said, “Of course, I don’t start dancing for them right there but I do try to engage them in conversation, counsel them and reassure them that things will be okay.”

His farewell dance, which enthralled an audience of a few nearly-recovered patients, ward boys, sweepers and a team of doctors and nurses, was performed in the recovery room at SMCH.

“They were very happy,” said Dr Senapati, “ And so was I. I just wanted to keep the morale up. The week had been tough, the PPE is difficult to work in. While the recovery rate has improved in Assam, and things are looking better, the war is far from over, we are still working every day to beat this.”

His seven-day quarantine started Monday, with his phone buzzing after his viral fame. The rest of the week, he hopes, will have some quiet time catching up on his course books and perhaps, a little bit of dancing.

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