When not attending to patients, Dr Naren Aggarwal edits medical journals and magazines; and earns from both fields.
Why did you become an editor?
In 2000, a senior doctor, who was editing medical journals and books for a publishing house, asked me to help him. Being passionate about books, I fell in love with the new job. Editing is not just about checking spellings or syntax; one should have an in-depth knowledge of the subject.
Is the pay good?
I spend 4-5 hours every day at the publishing house and earn around Rs 5 lakh a year. Today I have a team of five doctors who assist in editing along with several others who contribute on a freelance basis.
Was it difficult to get started?
There was a lot of on-the-job learning. One has to be well informed as hard-core research reports from top institutes such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences are received for peer reviews. One has to read them a number of times before commenting.
What else does your job involve?
I have been working as the chief editor with the publishing house. From editing and writing for journals, creating newsletters and doing reviews, my job profile is very varied. This diversity in my role has kept me gainfully engaged for the past eight years. We are now starting two e-journals exclusively for doctors in West Asia.
Do you continue with your medical practice?
As a physician, I attend to my patients four hours a day. It is a paying practice and almost 60% of my patients are children.
How do you strike a balance between your two roles?
I attend to my patients at the clinic in the morning and evening. In the afternoons, I am busy with this job. At times it's difficult as I have this urge to quit my practice and become a full-time editor. But clinical practice is what I love and what I am trained for. I won't ever give it up completely for the sake of doing editorial work.
Apart from monetary benefits, what are the other advantages?
The best part is that I am with a storehouse of information that's related to my area of work. I get an update on all the latest research works, new findings and medical reports. This equips me to treat and also guide my patients better.