• Maloo Natarjan FICCI -FLO Chairperson

Pallavi Rao's Battle with Myasthenia Gravis

“I feel maybe this is what the purpose of my life is, to share my story so that others with MG (Myasthenia Gravis) know that they are not alone. I know and want others also to know that this too shall pass”.

C Pallavi Rao Narvekar, a pinnacle of talent and all-round excellence, has an inspiring life story. A Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer, painter, ex-NCC cadet, a former teacher, theatre writer/director, current Group Head- CSR of Radio Mirchi, and former RJ, Pallavi has dabbled her enthusiasm and passion in just about everything. From NCC, theatre and painting, to being a college topper; she was even offered a National scholarship to pursue her Masters from Delhi School of Economics, which she refused at that time instead of opting to be a teacher in St. Mary’s School. She was also part of a theatre group called “Darpan”, where she wrote and directed about 15 odd plays and placed amongst the top 2 in the Delhi State level Nukkad Natak competitions for 7 consecutive years!

Coming from a family of journalists, Pallavi chose to pursue her career as a radio jock. She was the prime-time radio jock for Radio Mirchi. Unfortunately, in 2005, she was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a chronic autoimmune disease that blurs vision, slurs speech, and causes breathing difficulties. Having undergone chemotherapy, multiple lung failures, and a series of surgeries, along with her inability to speak clearly, had people telling her she would never go back on the air. Despite these severe medical nightmares and constant treatment, her determination to go back on air remained undeterred. In 2011, Pallavi made a comeback on air with the breakfast show ‘Hi Delhi’. “I did not mind sharing my story on air with the Delhi listeners. All I got back in return was love-love and more love”, shared Pallavi. However, the single vocal cord could not sustain the 4-hour high-pressure show and she had to step down.

Radio Mirchi supported her all along and made her the Group Head of the CSR division. Mirchi Cares is the CSR initiative of Radio Mirchi that provides not just audio support and entertainment to the blind and visually impaired but also provides music education to under-resourced children. Pallavi was also associated with the making of the first braille restaurant chain menus for the blind in Delhi and in Mumbai. In 2016, on World CSR Day, she was adjudged one of the top 100 CSR workers globally, and in 2017, she was honoured on International Woman’s Day as the “SRL Woman of Substance 2017”.

Her Latest endeavor pertained starting her own podcast, on which she hosts survivors of critical illnesses like herself, and encourages people to open up and share their stories. She has transformed into the pinnacle of spirit, fight, and survival to others who are facing chronic illnesses.

Even after facing drastic changes and several obstacles, her drive to prove people wrong and make a comeback to radio was insurmountable. Her battle with Myasthenia Gravis is one that is inspiring and shows the strength of having a fighting spirit and sheer will.

Authored by Aditya Anand


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