Meet Dr. Tanaya
Dr. Tanaya Narendra grew up in a family of doctors. As a daughter of fertility specialists, for her, learning about the body was osmosis of sorts. So, when she was at the juncture of joining medical school, she found herself being reluctant to the idea of pursuing gynecology. However, things changed during her years of being a med student and gradually, she became inclined to study fertility, fertility treatments, and similar areas. After her graduation, Tanaya went on to read for a masters at the University of Oxford where she experienced an unexpected epiphany.
“When you go to a developed country like England, you expect a certain level of education and awareness in people. But I was surprised to learn that it was fairly similar to India. So many causes of infertility can actually be prevented by practicing safe sex and body practices. And if we can follow that message of education, it will be very helpful in reducing the global burden of healthcare and also people can lead healthier and happier lives.”
Around the same time, Dr. Tanaya was exposed to and involved with a lot of sexual health-related information and was spending hours and hours in her research. This was perhaps the beginning of her ambitious goal of converting the world into a more meaningfully aware and sex-positive place. And today, with a phenomenal following of over 500K followers on Instagram, multiple features in some of the largest publications and innumerable awards, Dr. Tanaya is the internet’s favorite doctor!
On creating awareness and meeting expectations
A fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, she splits her time between India and the UK and absolutely enjoys creating content for awareness and education purposes across all her platforms. “It started when I made a small series of videos on menstrual cups and a lot of people asked me to make my account public. Until last year, I wasn’t really posting enough or even regularly for that matter,” says Tanaya. It has been nearly over a year that this millennial genius has been unrelentingly pursuing her goal of creating a safer space for people to talk about their bodies.
With big followings come big expectations and pressure, as has been the case with many creators who have been in the content creation industry for a while. It is almost inevitable for the performance pressure to creep in, but with Tanaya, it stands no chance!
“I don’t think there’s any performance pressure as such because I don’t define myself as a content creator. I am a doctor first and foremost. I genuinely enjoy Instagram because it is fun and is also a great outlet for me. Particularly in the pandemic era where we cannot really see our friends, I have fostered some really great relationships on it. But if I feel like it is a lot of work and the insights are really getting to me, then I am totally on board with taking a break. That way, it helps me channelize my energy and appreciate the app in a different way. So, I think it is a privilege that I get to be on a platform like this and at a time when women like myself are able to not just have a voice but have that voice respected.”
Maintaining work-life balance
Speaking of having her voice heard, growing up, Tanaya was always encouraged to be an independent person with a mind of her own. “My parents weren’t around much because they used to work long hours at the hospital and I feel like spending all that time on my own filled me with a sense of responsibility and allowed me to experience independence at a very young age. And I would really like to pass it down to my children,” narrates Tanaya.
However, there has also been an immense emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance in her family. Struggling to describe herself as a night owl or an early bird, Tanaya has a vivacious charm to her personality. She is pretty much always bubbly and takes abundant pleasure in reading chik-lits and watching light-hearted cinema.
When asked whose account she enjoys browsing through the most, she says:
“Siddharth Batra’s (@siddharth93batra) account is something I really enjoy. He is always having fun and I understand that that’s not possible or even practical for most people but watching his videos fill me with enthusiastic energy. Then there’s Dr. Jen Gunter, who is also the author of the book ‘The Vagina Bible’. She is extremely passionate about dismantling the patriarchy and protecting women’s health and has been a long-time inspiration of mine.”
Curious about art and history, Tanaya also likes following the page @hindu.aesthetic that shares pictures of artifacts and from temples and manuscripts and helps educate people more about Indian as well as Hindu history.
On accomplishments and biggest influences
It is no secret that it is exceptionally hard to break down complex medical information in easy-to-understand content as Dr. Tanaya does, however, what makes her more of an interesting person is her ability to diversify and expand her pool of likings and interests. She is critically aware about the humanness of her Instagram persona and she continues to be her fearlessly authentic self both online and in real life.
For someone who is in the position where she is, Tanaya certainly has a lot to be proud about.
“I am generally proud of my work and who I am as a person. But I am especially proud of the research I did that involved studying early-stage embryos and helped understand how they developed in the body. As a medical student who has always been on the other side of the things and interacting with patients – going into the lab and participating in experiments, doing rigorous research and publishing it within a span of four months is something I am particularly proud of.”
Tanaya’s way of life and decisions have been largely influenced by her mother and brother. “My mother is a force of nature. She runs the household and the hospital. She is an excellent doctor and more importantly, a really good human being. If I become even a quarter of the woman she is, I would consider myself successful. My brother on the other hand is a decade older than me and is a professionally dedicated individual. I learn a lot from him and am so fortunate to have been surrounded by so many talented and creative individuals,” explains Tanaya.
Superpower as a Woman
Treading the path of debunking myths and creating awareness about sexual health and wellness, Dr. Tanaya has a bunch of superpowers that help her excel at her work.
“Women are generally expected to be more empathetic. I believe it helps me immensely with my practice where I stop by and interact with patients. It also teaches me to be a multi-tasker which makes me more efficient in certain aspects of my work. I can give a workshop while cleaning my cupboard, haha! Empathy also teaches you to be more resilient. We know that women are more prone to experiencing trauma and it is a sad fact of life that resilience comes from trauma, but perhaps that is the upside to trauma? I feel that having people question me and my work has certainly made me a lot more resilient than I used to be.”
It is also important to remember that our bodies are more resilient than we perceive them to be and in times of orchestrated images and Eurocentric beauty standards, it is certainly hard to not compare our diverse selves to others. “Your body is alright the way it is, don’t fall prey to what social media is trying to tell you,” Tanaya strongly asserts.
Association with Amrutam
On her relationship with Amrutam, she says that she’s really glad to see the emphasis on Ayurvedic supplementation and healing. “It seems like a very wholesome and loving space where you are encouraging people to love themselves as they are and appreciate whatever they have,” she says in her concluding remarks.
Needless to say, Dr Tanaya’s spirit is unconquerable and her passion for educating has helped thousands of people get to know their bodies better. We salute her for her efforts and vision and are beyond thrilled to have Dr. Tanaya as part of our #AmrutamFamily!
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