A tribute to Pallavi Rao – A Woman of Strength, Courage and InspirationLuke Coutinho
We lost her a few days ago. My heart goes out to Rahul and her family. Why I choose to write this piece today is because of the powerful story and lessons learnt and spoken during my time with this amazing lady. I met Pallavi and Rahul through Vishal Gondal several years ago at the onset of the GOQii set up. Pallavi was a Radio Jockey and loved her job, but as her health condition began to steal away the power from her voice, she had to let go of the position she loved, which she very gracefully handled.
I had the privilege to work with this beautiful lady over the years with her condition and her overall health. The most powerful drug she could ever have had was her husband Rahul, a solid rock of positivity by her side right through. While Rahul continued to build his work and business, he was always there by Pallavi’s side, in the ICU, hospitals, home and travel. Such a beautiful connection and many a times Pallavi mentioned that her life was Rahul and her family and that made her happiest at the same time worried when Rahul’s work took him on long travels.
From writing short stories in the ICU to having it published into a book, this amazing lady continued to embrace her condition and move through life in the most positive way ever. Did she worry? Of course, she did, like any human. She worried about her condition, her lungs, vital parameters, family, strength. She had these low days which she would bounce back from. As she fought and battled through her very difficult condition, she gave hope and inspiration to so many around her.
Rahul, Pallavi and Luke at Beyond Medicine event
I remember this story like it happened yesterday. I was in Dubai with the royal family to treat the Sheikh’s beloved mother who was suffering from a condition similar to Pallavi. As I spent time with her, I could see in her eyes that she had given up. There was no hope and she had resigned to any treatments and had prepared herself for what was inevitable as per her doctors. She had flown the world seeking treatments but, all had the same advice for her condition. I then asked her Highness if she would permit me to call Pallavi and allow Pallavi to speak to her and take her through her journey just to see that someone out there has actually improved and come such a long way with her health and the same condition. She agreed. I called Pallavi and she answered. I explained her where we were at, and Pallavi stopped all of her work and engaged in a 40- minute conversation with her royal Highness. As they conversed over the phone, I could not hear the conversation as it was not on speaker but, I could see how her Highness’s eyes lit up, how her body language was changing in front of me and her brothers and sisters as they conversed.
The impact that 40-minute call had on her Highness was nothing short of a miracle. Her energy changed. She began to look at life and her condition differently. We spent the next few months building up her health and more than that building a beautiful relationship where we spoke about life and wonder.
Pallavi has inspired many of my end-of-life patients. When they had given up and were waiting to die, Pallavi was always a call away to share her journey, give them hope and shine her inner light so brightly, even when she was at her lowest point.
Luke, Pallavi (left) and Vandana (right) at an award ceremony in Delhi
I have posted some of my favourite pictures. I was privileged and honoured to have two dates at an award ceremony in Delhi. Pallavi on one side and Vandana on the other, both of them beautiful examples of hope, light, positivity as they battle through their diseases with grace. They graciously accepted my invite to be with me during an award ceremony and what fun we had that night. We had a chance to catch up for several meals and coffee too on my trips to Delhi and Mumbai.
We were also invited by Facebook to share her journey through her condition and inspire millions of viewers and I remember what she said – “While I may have had the best doctors, I had something more powerful than them and nutrition and exercise and meditation. I had the love of my son and husband.” Through her battle, she continued to work, and lead content set up for Let’s Up for leading and creating powerful content and strategy.
Rahul, I cannot imagine how hard this will be for you and your son, but know that Pallavi left a legacy. Something that very few people do. She left a legacy and powerful life lessons examples for all of us and thousands of patients through her work, her journey and through just being her because of that selfless, open, willing to help attitude of hers.
She is a legend and I am blessed to have her as a part of my life in such a large and meaningful way.
May the universe give you and your family the strength to rise and shine and carry on this beautiful legacy that Pallavi started. She will forever be my human symbol of hope, courage and life.
- Luke Coutinho
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