By Hemanshi Kamani

MUMBAI (Reuters) – As India’s financial capital Mumbai battled a growing number of coronavirus cases, local DJ Sanjay Meriya set aside his turntable and dusted off a long-unused medical degree in order to help out.

Meriya, 30, known as The Spindoctor in Mumbai music circles, began work last month as a medical volunteer after spotting a government newspaper ad asking for help.

He has chiefly been visiting a slum in one of Mumbai’s worst-hit suburbs, clad in a protective suit and gloves, to instruct local residents about the precautions they should take to ward off the coronavirus.

“I’m very patriotic. I can battle this way (as a doctor),” Meriya, who signed up as a volunteer for at least three months, told Reuters.

Mumbai accounts for more than 32,000 of India’s 150,000 cases of the coronavirus, making it the worst-hit city. With government hospitals short of beds and health officials overworked, volunteers like Meriya are all the more important.

Meriya began to dabble in DJing as a hobby at around the age of 20 while studying for his medical degree, but said it then “took over me” – much to his family’s dismay.

“They hated it. They still hate it,” he said of his decision to devote himself to being a DJ.

Although worried about his potential exposure to the virus, Meriya’s family is thrilled to see him back in medicine.

“They now have a lot to share with all our relatives, if you know what I mean when it comes to Indian families,” he said.

(Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Mike Collett-White)

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