Wild + Wise: Geeta Krishnan
This Mother's Day, we're celebrating all of the amazing woman in our lives with profiles of six women who have inspired us. The group includes Geeta Krishnan, a independent-spirited physician with a remarkable hobby – chopping wood each day. Read on for her story, and find all of our Wild + Wise profiles here.
Geeta says, “I was born and raised in India, and came from a very poor background, When I was just four or five years old, I decided that I wanted to become a doctor – our family doctor had the same first name! I had always liked science, and I eventually made it to medical school with scholarships."
"My parents made me feel that no matter how poor you are, you can always study and get ahead. It was important to them that I could stand on my own two feet no matter what happened."
At first, however, Geeta’s father was skeptical about her career path. “He thought I would be old when I got married,” she says, “but I ended up getting married when I was only 21 to a fellow physician. My husband wanted to marry a doctor because he wanted someone who was his equal -- I wanted the same thing so that I would be with someone who understood my life."
In 1975, Geeta and her husband came to America. She had trained as an ENT in India, but had to go through another residency once she arrived in Pennsylvania. Over the next 35 years, she worked in private practice in the central part of the state. She has two sons; one is an economist, and the other teaches and writes about India at the National University of Singapore. Today, Geeta and her husband live on a 10-acre farm in Pennsylvania. She says, "We live on the top of a hill, and we initially bought the property because of its beautiful trees and landscape."
The woodland landscape surrounding her home led Geeta to an unusual pastime -- chopping wood nearly every day. She says, "I've always wanted to garden everywhere, but we have lots of deer here. I would fill a truck with plants, dig all week, and then the deer would eat everything I'd planted!" Over the years, some trees on the property died and she decided to make the landscape more airy. "At first," she told us, "I hired someone to chop the dying trees down, but he cut some good trees as well. At that point I said, 'Never mind, I'll chop my own wood!'"
Unless it's raining, Geeta and her chainsaw can be found in the woods on her property nearly every day. She says it's a great workout, and it has benefits for her community, too. Last year, she cut seven truckloads of wood, which she donates to others who use it for supplemental heat. The day we spoke, she was taking a break from her routine -- "It's raining," she said, "so today I'm quilting a baby blanket."
Who inspires you?
Geeta says, "My mom and I didn't always get along well, but she wanted me to do something with myself! My father died when I was finishing high school, and because of the economics in India, I had to support myself. My parents showed me that you can do whatever you want if you put your heart and soul into it. So when people are surprised that I'm always chopping wood, I say, 'Want to see it?!'"
Find all of our Wild + Wise stories here, or tell us about the Wild + Wise women in your life on Instagram! Tag your photos of them #terrainwildandwise, and we'll celebrate them and all of you by sharing a few favorites on Mother’s Day.