Home / Features / Special Feature: A Shot in the Arm with Hyundai Tucson


We drive around in the luxurious Hyundai Tucson SUV with Dr Snehal Porwal who talks about helping vaccinate thousands and fighting the pandemic on a war footing.

Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

We have been grappling with a deadly pandemic for more than a year, but it is thanks to the frontline workers that the world is gradually healing. So, when Hyundai Motor India decided to do a special feature with the Hyundai Tucson, known as the “Drive of the Driven”, it was an obvious choice to introduce someone who has not really been at the forefront, but has been making a difference by bringing together a workforce to vaccinate thousands of people in Pune.

Meet Dr Snehal Porwal, an alumnus of the prestigious B J Medical College, who, along with her husband, surgeon Dr Ashwin Porwal, is helping vaccinate people because, as Dr Snehal puts it, ‘The urge to fight this pandemic on a war footing was what compelled me to join hands with my husband and organise this vaccination drive.’

When we met Dr Snehal, she came across as a driven and dedicated lady who took her job to vaccinate thousands as seriously as her role as a doting mother to her teenage son, Arnav. It was a pleasure when we started the drive in the Tucson and Dr Snehal reminisced about the time she was driven around in her parents’ Hyundai i20. A self-confessed lover of cars, the doctor took to the new Tucson like fish to water. While taking charge of the premium SUV, Dr Snehal told us that it had been a decade since she and her husband founded Healing Hands Clinic, a modern proctology set-up to treat anorectal diseases that has people coming from all over the world for treatment.

The Hyundai Tucson complements the force within and its style never fails to make an impression when you arrive. Settling into the comfy seats, Dr Snehal put her phone on the wireless charging dock and turned on the Infinity Premium Sound system and played some foot-tapping numbers. Starting early from her home, with her husband seated on the front seat, the dynamic couple headed for the short but scenic 20-minute drive to the clinic.

It was Dr Ashwin who shared how Dr Snehal has been the driving force behind the speciality clinic and how she has now taken charge to help people during the ongoing pandemic. Since Healing Hands Clinic specialises in proctology, it wasn’t directly involved in the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients, but it was still serving people with other ailments throughout the pandemic. Because the need to do something more was so strong, Dr Snehal decided to play a crucial part in helping people get the jab.

As we left her posh locality and turned on to the wide main roads, the cloud swelled up and there was a light drizzle. Instantaneously, the doctor rolled the shade of the panoramic sunroof and we could witness the raindrops bounce off the glass ceiling like poetry. It was evident that she was enjoying driving the new Hyundai Tucson’s capable 2.0-litre CRDi diesel engine that punches out 185 hp and a delectable 400 Nm of torque right from 1,750 rpm. We zoomed from one crossing to another, catching one green light after another as the new hands behind the wheels made it all look so effortless.

Upon further probing, Dr Snehal took us through the journey of the vaccine drive. ‘To be able to successfully sail through this storm, the onus falls on each one of us. When the vaccination drive started in India, I told my husband that we should be a part of this cause since we already have the required set-up and a well-trained team of doctors. And my husband supported me wholeheartedly.’ She proposed a no-profit, no-loss vaccination drive but that wouldn’t have been a sustainable idea. So, after some brainstorming and discussion, the couple decided to offer this noble service at the lowest possible rate, which essentially covers their basic running cost. The dynamic couple used their clout in the pharmaceutical world and arranged for the made-in-India vaccines. Soon she gathered a team of 22 trained professionals, most of them young women, all driven by the same cause of serving the society.

During our conversation, we also mentioned that even Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) had been working tirelessly during the pandemic with various CSR initiatives such as organising in-house vaccination drives for their employees, dependants, and personnel. In addition, HMIL have announced an extension in the vaccination and insurance cover to all dependent family members of employees. But what impressed her the most was the fact that to encourage employees to take care of themselves and their loved ones, HMIL are providing adequate paid leave to those with COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive. (Also read: Hyundai Creta Drive to Mystical Auroville)

As we approached the clinic, it was already bustling with doctors and vaccine seekers, barely a spot left to park the car. Thankfully, the Tucson comes with front and rear parking sensors, steering adaptive guidelines, and a rear camera which made parking even in a tight spot go like a breeze. We looked around and were pleasantly surprised to see people being assisted for the vaccination drive and the entire process seemed much more organised here, which was in stark contrast to the complicated registration process and the tiresome waiting process seen at usual vaccination centres. As we entered her cabin, she explained, ‘Our main objective was to ensure that people weren’t harassed by standing in long queues under the sun, since the drive began in the middle of summer.’ Using their experience in handling patients from all walks of life and the team’s medical knowhow, the entire vaccination drive is extremely streamlined and well managed. ‘Anybody who walked into our clinic was out after taking the vaccine in no time!’

It’s not just Mrs and Mr Porwal who are working tirelessly for this cause, as there’s another family member who is deeply involved in it too. Their teenage son, Arnav, can be seen on-ground, lending a hand in the registration process, helping and guiding people with equal enthusiasm. Beaming with pride, Dr Snehal says, ‘Seeing my son actively participate in this vaccination drive has been the most fulfilling experience. At every step, he’s been helping people who are a little anxious or those overwhelmed by the online process and he stood by them right from the front desk till they actually got the jab. This is one of those life’s learnings that he’s never going to forget. I feel so proud about his contribution to fighting this pandemic.’

The family works till late in the night every single day just to ensure no one returns disappointed from the clinic. The passion of the Porwals is evident: in just seven days, this motivated team has vaccinated as many as 20,000 people. She adds, ‘Now we’re working towards helping the marginalised population like commercial sex workers and transgenders. We’ve also been in talks with some schools for the visually impaired and even some old-age homes. We are trying to ensure that everyone gets the vaccine without any bias.’

As expected, this isn’t for the faint-hearted and all the coordination is indeed rather stressful. So, we asked her how she manages to unwind and relax. Her reply left us dazzled yet again: ‘I always listen to some motivating music which charges me up for the day ahead. And while driving back, some soothing music is all I need to relax and take my mind off work. And as cliched as it sounds, for me, a long drive with the loved ones is just so romantic.’

And what better than to take the long drive in one of the most luxurious and premium SUVs: the Tucson? It’s what we call the Drive of the Dedicated and Driven! Touché!


About the author: Sarmad Kadiri



Recent posts in Features


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code

+ six = 13

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *