The magic and wonder of advanced medicine hit home last Friday, July 7, 2023, when at an event at a south Mumbai hotel all the 30-40 children and teenagers in the room were 'test tube' babies -- IVF kids.
It was a room full of hope and possibility.
The grand godmother of that hope is Dr Firuza Parikh, an Indian medical pioneer, top fertility expert and head of Jaslok Hospital's department of assisted reproduction and genetics, the Jaslok-FertilTree International Fertility Centre at Mumbai.
The occasion was celebrating the 20,000 in vitro fertilisation babies Dr Parikh had doggedly and always with great positivity helped bring in the world via petri dishes and sophisticated lab techniques, giving Indian mothers and fathers, from each strata, and every nook and cranny of the country, a chance to turn their fondest longings for a child into reality.
To mark this special day, parents of children, who were born through IVF methods, were invited, elevator-type music tinkled in the background, French perfume wafted in the air, and the yummiest of snacks -- momos, baos, steamed asparagus, tacos, polenta bites, scones, tarts, croquettes -- circulated.
But this was no typical fancy-schmantzy Mumbai celeb-overrun do. The youngsters set the tone of the evening, that unfolded in a 29th floor rooftop banquet room, that aptly overlooked a rain-washed City of Dreams.
Yup, the stars were the wonder kids, who took to the stage for a series of dances -- choreographed by Bollywood's Farah Khan, herself an IVF mother of three, and her assistant Imtiaz -- and exuberantly moved, hopped, skipped and sang to a host of catchy Bollywood tunes, happy to be alive.
C'est la vie.
Cheers to life. And zindabad modern medicine.
IMAGE: The mums and dads of the miracle bachcha
s described to the room the sheer bliss of finally fulfilling a desire to have the children they never expected to have.
Actor, producer Tusshar Kapoor spoke about how his son was quite literally a gift from god.
He had gone to Tirupati to pray for the success of a film and met Director Prakash Jha on that trip who suggested he become a single dad.
That set the wheels in his mind turning and eventually he approached Dr Parikh, left, to put this beautiful little project in motion and Laksshya, now seven, was born. All photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
IMAGE: Lakssya ke Papa and superstar author Shobhaa De, a huge supporter of Dr Parikh, got into one frame at the Jaslok-FertilTree evening.
De said later: 'It was wonderful to see some of Firuza's 'babies' dancing for her. I totally loved meeting Tusshar Kapoor... the best single dad I know'.
IMAGE: Though it was a day to toast 20,000 'blessed babies' -- the oldest is now around 30 -- and Dr Firuza Parikh's lifetime of work, she gave the vote of thanks, offering her gratitude to the management of Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre for backing her all the way through, her team for their devotion, her mentors, the FertilTree kids and their brave parents, and her husband Dr Rajesh Parikh, author, neuropsychiatrist and director of medical research at Jaslok for his unstinting support.
Seen in this photograph, left to right, Tusshar Kapoor, Dr Firuza Parikh, Shobhaa De and Jaslok CEO Jitendra Haryan.
IMAGE: Dr Firuza Parikh addresses the audience.
IMAGE: Heartfelt applause from fellow colleagues, physicians, FertilTree parents+children.
IMAGE: A few dance steps from Tusshar whose son Laksshya is one of the 20,000.
IMAGE: The blessed babies have grown up and can dance to the Pathaan hit better than perhaps King Khan :))
IMAGE: One day this confident little kiddo will rule the world.
IMAGE: Some of the 20k leaves of the FertilTree whooping it up.
IMAGE: Tusshar chats with Dr Rajesh Parikh, who wrote during the pandemic the valuable reference title Corona Virus, The: What you Need to Know about the Global Pandemic with Dr Swapneil Parikh and Maherra Desai, and subsequently The Vaccine Book For Covid-19.
Watch! Clips from the impromptu Bollywood concert by the FertilTree children, that Farah Khan and her assistant Imtiaz choreographed.
Videos: Afsar Dayatar Harisinghani/Rediff.com
Video: Ever seen Tusshar dancing with so many kids?
Video: How Tusshar Kapoor became a single dad.
Video: Dr Firuza Parikh on the journey of nurturing 20,000 babies.