From Trouble Youth to Doctor, Rapper, Keynote Speaker with Dr. Dhruva Gulur a.k.a. Sublime Shine

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Dr. Dhruva Gulur, is a man of many hats, he is a board-certified family doctor, a rapper, MBSR course certified mindfulness expert, and more

Dhruva’s story is truly an inspirational one.

In this episode we explore his journey from being a troubled kid — getting arrested multiple times — to becoming an MD,, and how he made music as an outlet to keep him afloat through it all..

Listen in here:

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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Dhruva does
  • How he started in mindfulness
  • What is his mission
  • His Early life
  • Why was he a trouble kid
  • His experience in India
  • How he got through to Med School
  • His experience going back to US
  • What was his beliefs 
  • How he started rapping
  • What’s his plans for the future
  • How our mindset affects our success

Resources Mentioned:

Dhruva’s website

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: Dhruva, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to The Meaning Movement podcast.

Dhruva: Yeah, thanks for having me, Dan, I appreciate you taking the time to, you know, ask me some questions and I get to inspire from you and,

Dan: Yeah, I love it. I love it. Well, the, the question I, I, I like to, to jump in with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do?

Dhruva: think that I have really done a good job of complicating my life with trying to make things. Yeah. I, you know, it’s so easy to complicate your life and to try to make things black and white in an area that’s very gray. There’s a couple of things that I, that has really helped me fulfill my inner desire.

And that is to do something greater than myself, which could be even. You know, showing compassion to somebody who’s on the road when they’re doing road work, because some people will curse them out or whatever it could be, you know, smiling at a barista stand, or it could be seeing a patient and that’s doing something that’s greater than me, which fulfills my inner D desire as opposed to doing something that’s desirable.

Dan: Yeah, I love it. I love it. Let’s break down. Just kinda, what are the, what are all the facets of your life? You’ve got a lot going on. Tell me, tell me all the things that you’re up.

Dhruva: Yeah, I do have a lot going on. Yes . And what, what happened was, was after my mother passed away, uh, about 14 months ago, really things got into perspective, like what is going on? What is the meaning of my life? What is my purpose and, and who am I exactly. And I had kind of understood these things because I’ve been to therapy.

Over the last six years. And you know, I’ve done C, B T D B T, and EMDR, and I’m continuing to go to therapy, but after my mom died, I’m like, okay, I have all of these things that has happened to me. What am I gonna do with my life now? And I. Started getting into the practice of mindfulness then. And then I started understanding how important it is to be able to brush my teeth, be able to, you know, not have swelling in my legs, not have somebody have to feed me, you know, I mean, I could go to the bathroom without problems.

And then I realized that there’s something much more greater to this life. And that’s when I started pursuing my music a little bit more, which is based on self love and personal development. Also, I started doing some speaking and I’ve been speaking at various places to try to just be myself and I’ve sought mentorship.

I’ve sought coaching. You know, I have a rap coach. I have a book coach. I have a voice coach and I wouldn’t be, uh, and, and you’re a coach to me on your podcast, including others as well. And I have just understood. Approaching things with a beginner’s mindset and a growth mindset has allowed me to be the better, a better version of myself wherein I think I can, I’ve completed more in the last year with my music.

I’ve completed an album that was 20 songs. I have been speaking. I do. I work for 10 hours as a doctor, but I still think I didn’t do anything when I, when I get home. It’s perfect. That way I can put more time into my craft and. Also, I I’ve, you know, I’ve done videography. I learned how to use final cut pro on my YouTube, all of the videos that I’ve done, I’ve shot and edited myself.

And what this all has allowed me to do is to let people know that. I mean, if you ask the people that are close to me, they’re like this dude, like, come on, man. You know, you grew up in the hood. You know, I went to jail three times when I was a kid, you know, how is this guy, a doctor? Okay. How is this guy able to like shoot video?

How is this guy able to, you know, see patients. If I can do what anybody can. I don’t want people to like, you know, have excuses to like, not understand their purpose and their meaning. And I think if people can see me and people that personally know me can attest to this, they’re like, if this dude can do it, then anybody can, and that’s kind of what my biggest like thing is right now is to.

Try to inspire. And my thought as, as, as a whole to answer your question in general is to not motivate or give advice. I’m like, this is what happened to me. You know, you can look at the story, you can see what I did and it may or may not benefit you, but that is like my, that overall encompassing. You know, one last thing I’ll share is, I don’t know if you know who tech do, you know, tech nine strange music.

Dan: No, I don’t

Dhruva: Yeah, I just did a show with them. I’m on a tour with them and I just did a show just this past weekend, you know? And I’m just, I’m like, I, uh, lastly, some of these things, I think people who wanna see that find their meaning are scared. And I think that there’s no such thing as fear. I wanna be able to channelize and honor fear.

And what that’s allowing me to do it’s is allowing me to express myself because I wanna. I, I wanna be who I am and I’m tired of, I’m tired of that. You know, I’ve cried so much over me not being who I am.

Dan: Hmm. So tell me, like, how do you, well, so you’re, you’re an MD you’re, you know, wrapping you’re, you know, doing, doing, you know, speaking all of this, let’s just rewind a bit. Cause I know that, you know, you, you had had a, you know, rough. Rough years growing up, you had some, some, you know, rough patches in there.

Uh, like maybe just kind of for listeners narrate some of, some of your journey, some of your younger years, and then also your journey into, into being a, being a MD.

Dhruva: Yeah, thanks Dan, for that question, because each time I re I, I recite it, I’m like, wow, did this really happen? It happened. Well, you know, I, I, I grew up, I, I was born in Juno to immigrants. My parents came from south India and they met. Singing on a radio station. So it’s a very beautiful story. My, they were on all India radio.

My mother had a record deal. My dad was singing in like, you know, small movies and stuff. So it was one of those, like, you know, like tinsel town, like weddings in, in south India and yeah, that was beautiful. Yeah. And then they, we moved here, you know, they immigrated, I was born in Juno and up until seven, I lived there.

My dad, he had narcissistic personality disorder. My mom had schizophrenia and my brother was finding himself. And it was, it was, uh, I mean, what I would have considered trauma today, I consider. Inspiration, but it was, it was, it was traumatic. You know, I, I still, my first memories was, you know, being abused by my dad, you know, me being in domestic violence shelters with my mom in Juno.

Imagine like one of two Indian families in Juno. Yeah. You know, I mean, you’re like, you’re like the Indian guy in Juno everybody knows who you are. And everybody started to get into know my dad. and, you know, um, that’s that beginning part. And, you know, I had some extended family from India. My grandma was taking care of me.

You know, my mom had some resentments towards her and my dad just like the cycle, you know, that was happening. You know, my brother was gay and born in Juno, you know, Indian guy who’s gay. I, I can only imagine like what he was going through at that time. And, you know, it’s like, yeah. So some of those things was really, it, it looking at it now, I would like to say that it was hard, but that I didn’t wanna block it out, but I moved to Seattle when I was seven.

My dad separated me from my mom. Uh, that was really hard. Um, uh, I remember my mom telling me that my dad said that don’t cry when you. When I, when I leave to, to Seattle and, you know, I moved to Seattle with my dad, my mom was there. My brother was in, in Juno. And, you know, I grew up in, in a great neighborhood.

The guys who I still like, um, who, who grew up in my neighborhood are like my best friends. And I still, those are the guys I see in meet still from elementary, middle, and high school. What happened was, was that, you know, I was bullied at home. You know, my dad is very abusive. He’s physically abusive. My dad was gay as well.

And what, what he did was he couldn’t accept it. And he was displacing his hate on me. You know, I, his self hatred was displaced on me. He would shave my hair, he would cut my nails. He would make sure that I didn’t look good going to school, just like some just random things, you know, it’s just like, and as I think about it today, I’m like, oh, you know, that’s what happened to him.

You know, um, I have compassion for him today, cuz it must have been hard not being who he was and you know, you know, going to CPS all the time, neighbors calling the cops, that kind of thing. What happened was, was then I wanted to be a bully as well. And I started to try to fit in one day I was a Crip one day I was a blood and you know, I, at a, after a few, um, you know, I, I was arrested multiple times and then I went to jail, uh, three times and my family in India said, Hey, Hey look bud. You’re done. Like we’re gonna take you to India and you’re gonna be rehabilitated and everything is gonna be just fine. You’re gonna be able to come back in a month. And I still remember the judge looking at my, and looking at me while my dad and my extended family was saying, we are gonna take this guy on one way ticket to India and rehabilitate him, you know?

Um, and that’s exactly what happened. Well, what happened? Was I went to India and they took my passport away. And in a month and a month, I was like, Hey look, can I get my passport back? I’m about to go. I’m about to go home. They’re like, what do you mean? Like, what do you mean? Like, you don’t have your passport anymore.

And, and I’m like, and then I slowly began to think about it. I’m like, well, it wouldn’t have mattered anyways. Cause I had no money. Number one, number two, I had no place to go because at the time my mom was institution. She was institutionalized with, with schizophrenia. And my brother was modeling in New York and just discovering himself.

I mean, I was so hap I was so happy thinking about that. Like him being in New York, you know, being on the lower east side, being able to be himself, hanging out with the L G B T community. I must have been real good for him. So, you know, like some of these things were, was the dynamic. I had nowhere to go.

And then in India, what it is is in order to be cool at the time here. You gotta study. I mean, you gotta, like, you gotta like wear good clothes, blue, blue colors here. Red colors there. Baggy clothes, spiked hair in India. You gotta study. That’s how you be cool in India. I wanted to be cool. So what I did was I studied eight hours every day for two years in undergrad and wound up getting seven scholarships into med school.

And that was just a phenomenal it. Oh, you know, like, and then, like I was telling you, Dan, like in the beginning, if I can do what anybody can, it’s just, the opportunities are presented in various ways to people, but it’s about capitalizing O on them and having this relentless, like, you know, pursuit to life.

And just to share one thing with you, I remember looking in a mirror and I was like, this is much more bigger. This is much more bigger than me. I gotta, I gotta hold it down. I gotta stay here. It was like when I was in Indian, a small town, I was 18 looking at myself in the mirror. See, there’s something more to this.

Dan: Yeah.

Dhruva: I know it. And that was it. That one conversation I had for like 20 seconds, 30 seconds or a minute was it? And that’s what got me through med school because it so powerful how I trained my mind at that one moment. and I told myself if I had done all of these things, I maybe I can be a doctor and help.

And now I speak at the jails that, you know, I went to and, you know, I was so embarrassed. I was so embarrassed about it for such a long time, but you know, there’s inspiration behind it. I mean, I just recently just came out with it, you know, because I mean, it’s okay to have, they’re not problems. There’s something that you can inspire from.

You know, so that’s kind of what happened then. I don’t know if you wanna hear more when I came back

Dan: totally, I mean, that’s just such a, such an incredible story and it feel, it feels like such a, I dunno, such a shift to go from like getting in trouble and, you know, getting in, in, in, you know, arrested and everything to, to applying yourself. Eight hours a day to, to school. Was it like that you like, I don’t know.

How do you, how do you think about your identity in those two, those two periods of your life? Like when you were, when you were getting in trouble and getting arrested, was that just like front and like you were, you know, still a student and, and still wanted to like, Learn and, and, and grow, you know, beneath that or, or was it like, you just kind of went through this transformation and, and just found that you could just really apply yourself to studying and, and, you know, grow your knowledge and, and learn like, how do, how do you think about that?

Like, it just feels like two different people when you tell the story.

Dhruva: And you, you, you you’re right, Dan. It, it definitely is, uh, two different people, but with the same mindset and the mindset was that there is this relentless pursuit to succeed.

Dan: Mm,

Dhruva: I don’t care what happens. There’s nothing that’s in my way. There’s nothing, that’s an obstacle. There’s no failure. How do I beat an OG gangster at.

Dan: sure. Yeah. Okay.

Dhruva: And then when I went to India, how, how do I be like top in my class? I mean, I, I got, I mean, I top my class and I mean, you’re talking about a guy who is like coming out with like, I mean, I wasn’t going to school, you know? I mean, there’s times that I got, I got straight A’s when I was in middle school and it’s not like I got straight ass, but they weren’t, they, they were embarrassing grades.

Okay. and, you know, going, go, going to India, the, the, the thing. The thing is, is that it’s all the same mindset, the mindset applied there and here it’s that, you know, I wanted to be the best and whatever it was that I was entering. It, it, it was gonna happen. No, no, no matter. And nothing was in my way.

Dan: I see it. Yeah, I see it. That’s, that’s super, super interesting. Almost like you’re just applying the same, the same mindset to a different game, right? It it’s whether it’s the game of, of succeeding on the streets or succeeding in, in school. Um, and no matter what you’re gonna, you’re gonna make it to the top is, is kind of what it sounds like.

Dhruva: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I, I would say that in, and as I’m talking to you, I’m realizing.

Like, you know, as I’m talking to you, because I was embarrassed about the whole thing, you know, I mean, I’m hiding it. I hid it from, you know, I hid it. I’ve hid this part of my life from so many people. And as I’m beginning to talk about it, you know,

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. And so then came, came to, you, came back to the us to go, to, to go to med school. Is that right?

Dhruva: I, I completed med school in India.

Dan: Yeah. Okay,

Dhruva: So I was in India for, I was in India for nine years, nine and a half years.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. So 

Dhruva: I know I 

Dan: Yeah. Tell me about the transition back to the states. What was that

Dhruva: Yeah, no. Yeah. Well, you know, I mean, I was grateful that I, I speak now three languages, so maybe three and a half, and I can say, oh my God. In multiple languages. But you know, like what

Dan: Really important.

Dhruva: yeah, no, you know, I don’t curse anymore. I, I don’t curse anymore. I feel that it’s just too much of a problem for me. So I just learned how to say, oh my.

And like, I love you and stuff in other languages, but one interesting part of my transition back is that I started . I, I moved to London actually, because I didn’t have a place to stay. So I transitioned in London for six months living with my family. And I took part one of the boards because as an international graduate, you have to be board certified in the United States.

And it’s a different process. And it’s United States licensing one medical licensing, two, um, clinical skills and then licensing step three. And these are very, uh, uh, these are incredibly and tremendously difficult exams. And I prepare for a man for like five months, like at like eight hours, 10 hours a day.

And, um, and I was in, I was in England preparing for that and, you know, I, I, I passed it, you know, I’m very grateful that I passed it. It wasn’t. I didn’t top that grade, but it was so hard because I was in such a big transition point. And when I moved to the us kids, you not like when I moved to London, I had $500 with me.

My dad is somewhere. My mom is institutionalized and my brother unfortunately, is doing alcohol and drugs at the time. So I had no family. But there were some guys that I had met in India that I went to school with, who allowed me to stay with him in Commack, New York. So I lived in Commack, New York. I came to London with 500 and then I came to New York with $500.

And, you know, I, I, yeah, I remember coming, but I had a place to stay. You know, I had food, I had a place to stay that was rent free. And the plan was for me to do my steps, CK clinical skills, step three, and get into residency, which took four years. And I remember going in New York, Penn station and I was coming from Comac to New York, Penn station.

And then I saw this person with like, uh, at earbuds and had headphones coming down to like this, this little, this little contraption, you know, that’s like, you know, maybe two by four inches or whatever at the time I did not know what it was. And I’m like, you know, America’s made a lot of advancements.

This is great. As I’m eating taco bell and eating a. That haven’t had for years, I’m like looking at this late, you know, this, this, this person with this thing in her ear with this little contraption and I’m like, America has made a lot of advancements haven’t they? And for the hearing impaired. So I was very grateful to see this.

And then I saw it again. Like in a couple hours. And then I asked the third person, I’m like, what is that? And they’re like, it’s an iPod. I’m like, oh my God, dude. I didn’t I was that, I mean, that is like, I mean, it’s like, I know I was born here, but I lived in India for so long. Dude. I came back as like an immigrant.

Dan: Yeah. Wild.

Dhruva: like an immigrant. Yeah. It’s so, yeah, it’s so interest. Yeah. And then, you know, eating like slices of pizza, all of those things were, so I relished it so much, but you know, it was a very difficult transition, you know, with the medical, I wrote a song called with a medical degree, with a medical degree.

I walked two miles to work at Macy’s. I walked two miles to work at a pharmacy. I, I worked at a call center with a medical degree. I worked as a teacher for step one. and I think a lot of international graduates do this. It’s not, I’m not special. But it’s something that I think that we don’t talk about as doctors.

Everything’s just great. Okay. I passed all my exams, bro. I got, I taught my class. How much did you get on your, on your, um, on your, uh, boards? Oh, I did great. You know, nobody talks about like some of, because as you know, we talk about like what people perceive as failures. I just, I just perceive it as it just took me more times.

So I don’t even have that word in my. And, and, um, uh, but as a doctor, everything’s perfect though. So, you know, the four years I just started talking about the four years just recently, cuz after my mom died, I told you, I’m like, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore, man. I can’t like hide behind this facade of like this perfect doc.

There’s no such thing. First of all. And the second thing is that I think that I am speaking on behalf of all professionals, you know, Like, you know, like it’s okay to have like what people perceive as problems and that four years, I didn’t even think I was gonna make it into residency. To be honest with you.

Like, I didn’t match one year. It’s called a match. Yeah. People call it this demoralizing process for international graduates. And four years after medical school, I got into residency in Omaha. And then I completed that for three years, which is a whole nother challenge. And then, you know, I came back to Seattle after that.

Dan: Man, what a journey. And just like, and I I’ve heard, I’ve heard people talk about, um, just the, the immigrant experience for, for highly trained professionals, medical, you know, medical or even scientists, you know, other, other, you know, have advanced degrees when coming, coming to the states and how just like, I think you used the word demoralizing, like how, how demoralizing frustrating, um, It is to like, have all of this knowledge and experience and not be able to apply it.

And instead having to, you know, work, work jobs like, like you worked. Right. but I just think it’s like, it’s so inspiring to hear, you know, just your tenacity to stay with it, to not like. Give up in the, in the face of it. Like, I think it’d be so easy to be like, yeah, this is never gonna work. And I don’t even know, you know, go back to, I don’t, I don’t know what your options were and maybe that’s some of why you stuck with it is because you didn’t feel like you had options.

I’m not sure, but I feel like put somebody else in that situation and I don’t know if they would made it through.

Dhruva: Yeah. You know, like, I’ll tell you what, like, you know, when, when I hear this and I hear people talking about it, you know, it does feel good. You know, you get these dopamine hits when you’re like, man, I can’t believe, you know, I did that, but I didn’t know another life.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. You’re just

Dhruva: I didn’t know anything else. Yeah. I’m like, there’s, there’s David Goggins, you know, David Goggins.

He was like the only thing I was thinking about when I was a Navy seal is that one time I hit that certificate in my hand. That’s. I want to be able to feel that paper. I want to be able to remember how, how, how, if it was coarse or if it was soft, I want to be able to feel the wind as I’m walking by. I mean, I’m para I’m, I’m like embellishing or what I call Messala.

I’m like putting Messala on the story, but , but that’s, that’s exactly what I thought about. I’m like, man, I can’t wait to put my stethoscope on that first patient. That’s all I was.

Dan: mm,

Dhruva: I wasn’t thinking big time. I wasn’t thinking like big, you know, I’m like, this is what needs to happen. There’s nothing else that I’m gonna do.

I’m gonna get this no matter what. And, and I really never had the word can’t in my vocabulary. Can’t didn’t exist. Won’t don’t never existed. It was, I will.

Dan: Yes.

Dhruva: was, I can, and you know, what the, the can movement started with. I can run for two miles. Let me run for, for two minutes. First, I’m gonna run for one minute first.

You know what I know? I’m, I’ve gained like 60 pounds during that time. Let me try to lose one pound, uh, a week. I never made like big goals ever. I would always make small ones and were always small.

Dan: But consistent, right? Like day in, day out, you stick with it. And I think that’s some of the benefit of small, small goals. Right? You set too big of a goal and, and then you, you miss it and then you give up. Right. But by setting a goal, that’s achievable that next, the next, you know, I’m, I’m a runner myself and I know how, like you play these mind games when you’re on a long run or when you have a big hustle, it’s like, I just gotta.

To that corner and then I’m gonna turn and then you turn, you’re like, okay, I gotta make it to this other. I was, um, you know, the, the, the next obstacle or whatever. And I, you do some long runs where it’s like, I can see straight ahead for four miles, this perfectly straight. Like, it’s like, this is grueling.

I don’t wanna be on, I don’t wanna be running straight, straight for the, for the next 30 minutes, you know? Um, I need, I. Uh, obstacles. I need, I need something else to focus on to break that big goal up into these small bite size pieces of what, what you’re, what you’re talking about, which is, which is great.

So fast forward to like today, or, or maybe like when you, when you started you, your practice, right. You got, you got through residency, like then what what’s next? What have you, what have you done as a doctor? What, what has that part of your life looked like?

Dhruva: I was, I was. That’s what it, you know, when, when I think about it, people are like, you know, dude, this guy’s successful. You know, he came from the hood and it’s literally like, if you go look and, you know, if you look at my music videos on, because I’m like just working through all of this incidentally, I did not know I was, but some of the music videos that I shot were places that.

You know, people got shot in, you know, I mean, I don’t call a lot of people, friends. I mean, there are three friends, two, two friends that got murdered when I was, when I was younger and the place that I grew up in, in Renton, in the Vista neighborhood. That whole place is shut down now due to crime violence.

And I mean, you’re talking like a big strip mall, you know, we’re talking like, you know, the CA part of Capitol hill, like the whole thing is like done, you know, it’s like shut down and, um, you know, I shot a music video there and I’m like, man, I was here, you know, like, and then I come from this to this and, you know, people are like, wow, you know, Druva, you know, he came back and he did this and, you know, I. In a state of overconfidence and what I look at back at it now, I feel that overconfidence is proportional to low self-esteem and it was just a dude who was hurting. You know, I had low self-esteem. I had low confidence. I hated myself because. I, I just wasn’t who I was, you know, I was pretending to be somebody else, you know, like the doctor, no, you know, I was just a guy who was hurting, you know, but, and, and, uh, this badge was there for me to go and show off to everybody that I’m okay.

You know, and then I started drinking a little bit, you know, I started drinking a little bit more hanging out with people. I did a little bit of gambling. There’s just all kinds of stuff. Maybe one day I’ll tell all of the stories. Okay. There are a lot, but, but, you know, I mean for this, for, for the purpose of this, of this podcast and, you know, I mean, you know, I think that there, yeah, there’s a lot to it and, um, I wouldn’t call it embarrassing.

It just may not be the right time for me to talk about it. But what happened was is, you know, there was a, a few instances that happened, you know, I mean, it was not only drinking. It was eating too much. It was procrastinating. I call all pathology. It’s all pathology, all encompassing pathology, not working out, gaining weight, you know, drinking, you know, whether it’s smoking cigarettes, it doesn’t doing drugs.

It doesn’t matter. I feel it’s all the path of least resistance. And I was in that path of least resistance. Although, you know, I was still working. I was still doing whatever I thought that I needed to do to make sure that everybody knew that I was doing fine. And one day I realized that, that there was this conversation that I had.

And I, I love, I still think about my ex-wife every day. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even be talking to you. Like if swathes out there listening, like, you know, I love her, you know, I’m so happy for her and her family, you know, at the time that would not have been the case.

Dan: Yeah.

Dhruva: know, she told me one time, she’s like, you’re not a good person.

And you know, you get defensive thinking about that. Right. But that’s the best place that I could have been. That’s the best place that I could have been. That I’m not a good person. I’m not doing well. I have low self-esteem. I have low confidence because now I’m somewhere. See, now, now I’ve gotten somewhere.

And then I started going to therapy and, and I, I went to C, B, T I went to D B T, and then EMDR. Um, over the next six years, and then it started UN and that started rapping about it. And I started singing about it and people started following some of that too, you know, on my SoundCloud and you know, I’d rap here and there, you know, in front of people, like in, you know, like as an example, I’ve been to Haiti three times doing mission work.

I remember going and rapping there. I remember going and rapping, you know, in front of some doctors, you know, some, you know, parties and things like that. And I would rap about these things, but the interesting, the, yeah, no, the interesting part about it was. It was all my own language. Like, people couldn’t really understand how much I was hurting, you know, but I, when I would go to therapy, I would do homework and write music.

And I’m like, man, there is this, this is what’s happening. Oh, whatever’s happening today has nothing to do with the present day. It has to do with the resentments I have towards my dad. Okay. Now I’m getting somewhere, you know, but this has took me over five years. Yeah. And then,

Dan: I was just gonna ask, you know, when, when did, when did rapping like become a part of your life? Has that always been like, has music always been, I mean, obviously your parents were musical, um, but like, tell me about your relationship with music. Uh,

Dhruva: Yeah, no. The relationship with music is, uh, very much so apparent. And the, um, my brother actually got a record deal into a BMG music group for one song of his, for $50,000. What they were gonna do is put it on the radio. And they were gonna, um, wait here, see if I have it here now I have the mix tape somewhere here.

Yeah, it’s right here. His first mix tape. Yeah.

Dan: love it.

Dhruva: yeah. And yeah. And, and, um, and, uh, what happened was, was, um, you know, he, what they said was that they want him to be Latino. He can’t be gay. He was like, that’s not gonna work for me. He’s like, finally, I’m being myself. He’s like, that’s not gonna work. And what happened was the song flopped.

And then he went into a state of, uh, peril. You.

Dan: Uh,

Dhruva: parents, you know, they sang that. We sang everywhere when we were, um, you know, floating around different places and houses. And during an early time, I remember listening to Dr. Dre and Snoop dog when I was 12 or 13, I was like, yeah, I was like, that’s it I’m hooked.

That was it. It was done. And then I will be rapping in parties, you know, in like these gangster parties. I’ll be, you. I’ll be rapping bone thugs, gotta get on the grind, popping the clip in my nine, you know, like they’re like, how does this dude like rapping this? I’m like, it’s not hard. You just memorize the lyrics and break.

Yeah. So I’ll be, and then I started doing all of this like fast rap, you know, that people couldn’t really do. And when I was in India also, I wrapped a lot, but all cover tracks like M and. Tupac Dr. Dre, I was getting paid in India to rap like, you know, and, and yeah, no, it was huge. It was huge. I remember people like waiting outdoors, like waiting to see, you know, me rap covers though.

You know, I wasn’t rapping my own songs at the time I put a limit on myself. I had limited myself saying that I can’t write lyrics. So, you know, as much as I say that I can, I had said that I can’t write lyrics at that. So I limited myself and then as I got into therapy, I’m like, you know, maybe I need to do homework, you know, just to shout out, you know, to my therapist, you know, I, I love them.

I appreciate them. And also to those who are in therapy, it’s like just a side note that in my mind, personally, I felt therapy was useless unless I did homework on it every day. It’s just not, it’s like going to a personal trainer. Like you can’t just go to a personal trainer and just expect to like, be in.

Dan: Yeah, yeah,

Dhruva: but the being in shape starts from the first thought in your, in the morning, like, what is your first thought in the morning? That’s how you’re gonna be in shape, you know? And, um, I applied that same, same thing to my therapy. And if you could see back here, you know, you got, I got these boards here. I got a board there.

I got my flip chart here. So I write in various ways today, but at the time it was a recurring diary. I was listening to these things. I’m like, you know, why am I saying this? Just another sad song. What is that about? You know, why am I saying, if you don’t, if you don’t like me, that makes two of us, why am saying these things?

Am I protecting myself? You know? Um, I remember one thing I said is I’m not gonna settle because I’m lonely. And some of those things have carried over with me.

So that’s how it really started. 

Dan: yeah. Yeah. Well, I just love how much your mind, like you said your mindset, like when you said you can’t like how much, like how much we limit ourselves, how much are the thoughts that we think dictate our actions and, and that creates our life.

Right. And I think that’s a big, big message that I’m, I’m getting from, from your story. I’m curious, like for you, right. Like fast forward five, you know, five, 10 years. Like where, where are you? Because I see these like parallels, it sounds like you’ve kind of are deemphasizing your MD, your MD work, and really pursuing the music stuff.

Or maybe, or maybe not like, are you, are you wanting to like, just do both, um, you know, in tandem kind of grow both or, or eventually like, is the, is the goal to like go full time music? Or like, what does it, what does that look like? What’s you know, where, where do you see yourself in five, 10 years?

Dhruva: Yeah, no, thanks for asking me that question. And yeah, sometimes I ask myself that too, and you know, I have manifestations for the day, for the month, for the year. And I have the manifestations that, that I have are a few things I want to change the way the world thinks. And that’s very simple that I, I, I wanna, I, I wanna be able to affect people.

There’s two things that I feel that can change the way the world. It’s judgment and lack of awareness. Judgment is otherwise parallel to hatred and, and lack of awareness is ignorant. And if you can be aware of yourself with compassion and empathy, I think I can change the way the world thinks. And. Also, I wanna be able to save, you know, a town from famine.

I’ve been to Haiti three times. I wanna be able to put filters in Haiti. My mom had schizophrenia. She was, I, I only knew my mom for 11 years of my life. I took care of her for the last seven years and I’ve understood compassion and empathy through her. And with people would consider our schizophrenia.

She just needed to be loved and understood instead of judged and hat. And with those two things you would not even know she has schizophrenia. And with that, I wanna put money into foundations to, to do that for our juvenile detention centers. I wanna be able to tell them that there are, that you need to be who you are and not be what other people expect you to be.

And, you know, in order to love yourself, you have to understand who you are, not flaws, just accept these things. And also what I, what, what I really wanna do is I’m looking at my, my board. , you know, I, I wanna be able to also, you know, uh, be myself, that’s like the most important thing. And I’ll get to like the outlets.

I want to be able to be myself. And I feel that vulnerability creates authenticity. And during some things and transgressions at work, people all know who I am, you know how to break down at work. You know, people know what happened to me. They understand that I was, you know, I was hurting because I was abused.

I didn’t have, my brother died three years ago, you know, from drug use and, and overdose. I, I wanna put money into, into the LGBTQ community. You know, I wanna be able to say, you know, like, I understand, you know, we talk about, um, mental health awareness, but mind health awareness is accepting and understanding what I call mind, hygiene, accepting, understanding without judgment, without judgment, and doing it with compassion and empathy, which compassion and empathy could take years to understand.

It’s not like just a definition. That’s where I see myself in the next five years. Whether it’s speaking, whether it’s talking to one patient or wrapping about it, I wanna be able to deliver this message. I feel that if I don’t, then I will regret it and I want to be able to extract every fiber from my body, everything like every second, every minute that I can.

To, to be able to do something that’s greater than me. And I see myself speaking to masses, I see myself wrapping to masses, you know, my music, I don’t curse. There’s no misogyny, you know, I, I don’t there’s, I hate to even talk about that as it’s a stick, you know, it’s a rap can be stigmatized and, you know, um, when people listen to my music, that can be that, get a little surprised.

They’re like, okay, you know, all right. What’s, you’re intense, man. You’re talking about self hate and self love. I’m like, well, this is, this is what it is, you know? And. And I’d never wanna stop being a doctor. I, I can’t do that. It’s too rad. It’s too awesome. Being a

doctor so I, I see myself maybe doing like, like locum work, you know, like, like contract work.

I, I actually have looked at working in jails in prisons because there’s a misunderstood population. You know, I wanna work in, in, in small towns that are, have destitute populations work on reservations, you know, because I’ve served 10% of the population, you know, like the, the wealthy football players, corporations, you know, the white collar.

I, I want to be able to do this for myself, to be honest, you know,

Dan: I love it. Well, it just sounds like a really fun kind of, I dunno, parallel, parallel path. I hear you have, you know, especially like these financial goals of, of things that you want to, to support. And I can see that being a doctor, especially like, can give you some extra resources that like, It’s hard to make it as a musician, right?

If you’re just doing music, like it’s the, it’s the top, you know, 0.01% that actually like make, make good money as, as musicians. Um, and so to have these two parallels like that, you love being a doctor that you see like that you see how you’re impacting people. You’re focusing that on populations that you can, that you can, um, Really reach and make a difference with which I, I love.

And then you have your, your creative outlets, um, to spread, to spread your message, which is the other, you know, the other, uh, goal goal that you have, which is just, yeah, it’s really inspiring. I, I feel like sometimes, sometimes we have these, these, you know, outlets or these different paths that, that run parallel and they, they can feel at odds with people and they’re like, well, I wish I wasn’t a doctor.

I wish I was. A rapper or vice versa. Right. Um, but I just love that. It feels like you really embrace, like I’m doing these two things and that’s who I am and that’s just really, it’s really inspiring.

Dhruva: Yeah. You know, there’s a challenge with this too, because I go by sublime shine as a rapper and I go by Druva MD as a speaker. And I think I would love to, if somebody could comment on your podcast or, you know, like, save me, like, what am I gonna do here? Like, because I’ll share with you here, Dan, with sublime shine.

Sublime shine. The way it came out is because I thought I was stupid. I’m like, why is these doctors are getting great patient scores and why do I think I’m stupid? Why do I need to fit in? Well, that was the best place I could have been because if I think I’m stupid, I want to elevate my thought and to elevate my thought means to sublime or it means to take something and vaporize it.

And you know, that’s to be sublime and to shine on it is to go to therapy and to write on a board or to write on. You know, and music and that’s, that’s where I got my name, she lime shine. And I think that it’s so important that when somebody thinks that they have something bad or they think that, you know, I judged myself.

I thought I was not a good person. I thought I was dumb. You know, I thought I was overweight. You even when I’m in shape, I still think I’m overweight. You know, that I don’t look good, just all kinds of things. And I want to be able to understand why that is. And that’s where sublime shine comes. and DBA MD is just like a fun kick, you know, it’s just like DBA MD, you know?

Dan: I was just gonna, cause 

I comment from my perspective, like, like a, like a rapper, who’s an MD, like that’s a super interesting hook to me. Like I’m like, you know, I don’t know if there’s a way to combine those brands. I mean, I don’t, I think that it would just, uh, just create more momentum that that’s my thought.

Dhruva: Yeah, sure. For sure. You know, I mean, you have a, you, you have, I mean, the meaning movement is just like, that’s it, it’s just that ring, you know, it’s like, and if, if you know, you guys, somebody could comment on your podcast and be like, Hey, look, this is what I think, you know, because it’s all about, you know, we have to be able to serve, you know, we have to be able to serve our communities.

And our populations mainly serve ourselves. I think a lot of the time, you know, I’m serving myself with this. If people have to understand that, you know, I don’t walk around judging myself anymore and I don’t make the day about me as a doctor. The day has nothing to do with me as a doctor. So when a patient comes in, that has nothing to do with me.

Like I’m not here to judge myself or them. And some of these simple things have allowed me to be the best version of myself. And, you know, I’m a part of the national speakers association, the transition, I’m a part of the NS. And we just had a chapter meeting and we had the co techies who came in from Minnesota.

Shout out to the co techies. There were a couple who just like grind out. You. And they’re, they’re a part of the Minnesota chapter of the national speakers association. And the topic of that, of that event for our chapter here in Seattle was must be nice. Well, it must be nice that KARE Abul Jabbar is tall and a basketball player and is a speaker.

You know, it must be nice that that person is a magician and speaks as well. It must be nice that the rock is a wrestler and a rapper and speaks as well. It must be nice. Dr. A MD is a doctor and a rapper and can speak. So, you know, trying to intertwine that and weave it in is like, you know, as an example, I’m like, you know, there’s no such thing as a failure.

If we have that mindset, it becomes a victim mindset and it becomes an I know mindset. Instead of that, let’s talk about it. Not only from a growth mindset, let me take it a step further and call it a beginner’s mindset. Now I’ll wrap that out. It is a failure. If you never tried, it’s not a failure. Just took you more times.

If you give up you’ll waste your whole life, you know, so I don’t know how that could weave in, you know, but it’s, it’s all the same concept.

Dan: I love it. I love it. This is so great. Well, I just love, I love your, just your positive message. I love your, um, emphasis on, on mental health and just your, your openness and vulnerability about like what just an important role that’s played in your life and just, it’s such a, such an important message to get out there.

Um, and so just really, really appreciate the work that you’re, that you’re doing out in the world. So thanks so much. Coming on the show. This has just been a, a really fun, really fun conversation for folks that wanna connect with you or follow along with your, your work. Is there anything specific you’d like to invite people to

Dhruva: Yeah, no, you know, I mean, I am trying to grow, you know, like I, I, my family’s like , my family will be. Don’t you get tired. They’re like, are you done? You know, I’m like, well, you know, it’s, it’s about like packaging the information, because I tell you what, like, the passion is one thing, but being yourself is a whole another hiding who I was for years and years, you know?

Yeah. And all of a sudden you’re like, man, I get to be myself. And you know, I wanna, I want people to like guide me. I don’t like to use the word follower. I want, I want people to join me in this.

Dan: mm.

Dhruva: Because I’m still doing it, you know, and I want people, you know, if people can join me and guide me, I can guide them.

We can guide each other. You know, you can find me on You can find me on sublime, Also sublime shine. Music is something I’ve been doing for a couple of years. So sublime shine music is, um, on my Instagram and TikTok. And also I have, um, Dr. A dot M. On Instagram and TikTok as well.

Like there’s a lot to, to remember, but, 

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I’ll make sure to,

yeah. I’ll make sure to put links to all of it in the show notes so people can, can just follow along there and, and click on through. Um, so this is just so great. Keep up the great work out there. Really appreciate you coming on the show today.

Dhruva: Yeah, no, thanks a lot for having me, Dan, and yeah. You know, I I’m, I’m looking forward to seeing some more work from you and, you know, I, I hope that if anybody can take anything away from this is figure out how to be the greatest version of yourself and do something bigger than you.

Dan: I love it. I love it. I’ll put my, my stamp of approval on that as well. It’s a great message. Thank you.Dhruva: All right. Thanks a lot, brother. Appreciate you.

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