I’m in UHC, and it’s not busy… only few patients arrive there, that too with stereotypic complaints, nothing to stimulate thinking. Other doctors are there and they talk to each other about some topics that never attract me. I sit there tying my hands with my best friend- my loneliness; trying to draw my feelings on pieces of rough paper… examining patients occasionally and then giving medicines to them (the pharmacologist over here is on leave for unknown time).
When I feel dull the sensations of my dream world in which I live become blurred… I keep on trying to keep control over what I think but I lose it often. And I look at the calendar hanging over the front wall telling me how time flies… I was an extremely sincere student once upon a time, a matter of pride for my parents and teachers and a stimulus evoking jealousy in my fellow students. I always and always occupied the first bench, always was the first to get into our college bus and into our class, always was first to examine the slides first to do the dissection first to reach the patient and examine her… and was of the rarest varieties that used to read and then attend the classes hence I always answered questions of teachers. I happened to be the strongest girl in my class and had overtaken all boys from my batch in the fitness test in physiology, and no one could attempt ragging on me when it was so common when I was in first year. And when other girls were requesting boys to break the skull during dissection, I myself was using the hammer and chisel eagerly to see my most favorite organ, and when the brain was out I glanced that I was encircled by more than forty mystified students of my class and they were staring at me as if they were looking at some ghost or something.
I hated mugging up and reading the small readymade answer books… all I read were the big weighty reference books. I was never a topper but was surely in top ten, teachers expected me to write answers like those short answer books and sometimes I had to take the reference books to the teachers to tell them that what I’ve written is correct… I had written an article for our magazine explaining this situation and had won the best article prize for it. I remember of it when some nursing students those I don’t know ask me today, “Are you Namrata Shinde from 2005 batch? We have seen your photo and read your article Maathaache Manogat… We liked it a lot…” and I had shocked all those people who used to think of me as a book insect by winning first prize for Love letter writing. I really had enjoyed the rumors saying that I couldn’t be delicate enough to write something as tender as a love letter, and the prize winning letter was written for me by someone else. Next year I tried to combine science fiction and romance in the competition and got a queue of girls with tearful eyes at my room to congratulate me for my writing… that was the birth of my novel ‘I know you love’. On a professor’s request I had written a drama to express problems faced by young people for representing my college in a competition… my roommate was the only girl who had read it, and boys from my class congratulated me for it. But a big competition started amongst senior students for the lead roles and politician boys of my class took it from me and instead of my drama they played something else; I had no copy of it with me. I lost it for good… and recalled about it after four years when unexpectedly my roommate showed me a bus driver and said, “Look, this man looks like the loafer Raghu in your drama…” I was left in tears.
I have attended some clinical postings alone in my second year sometimes with a batch one year senior to me… I used to literally wander in the college and canteen searching for my colleagues who used to bunk them and beg to them to come to the postings when teachers refused to teach only to one or two students … I never attended parties, never went to watch movies, never attended trips, I didn’t even attend the gathering of my college… I was immersed in my efforts of collecting more and more knowledge… I’ve read Harrison’s medicine and Belly and love for surgery in my second year only… and had read most of the Kaplan’s psychiatry and tried my eyes on big Nelson of pediatrics. All I wanted to do was to become a scientist working on brain.
But things started changing and getting worse and worse… in third year there were almost no lectures and in postings rather than sincerity something else became important. Scoring in exam became a dirty game of politics. It wasn’t transparent… and I hated sordid means. I did have quarreled with one of the lecturers for whatever was going on there… no lectures, declaration of exam just one day prior to it without any explanation about the syllabus, copying… everything was like living in a hell. As there were no lectures, I had no chance to communicate with the teachers in proper. Then I had got shocked to see one of my most respected teachers smoking the public canteen in my college. It was hardest thing my life to accept this realty which was far far away from what is ideal.
And the jealousy I had evoked in some persons started affecting me. I was getting accused wrongly of using my power to bully other girls and of showing off my height and figure and what not by persons who never happened to interact with me and even those classmates to whom I used to always help didn’t stand by my side. I was alone and again got accused of having some kind of behavioral problems… and having some pitfalls in personality rendering me unable to what they called it “mix” with other girls.
It was a blow to my soul, it was improper. I was getting tensed because of it and then I developed some kind of inflammatory disease, was wrongly diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, became a guinea pig for orthopedicians who fed me chloroquine, methotrexate, anti depressants and tons of pain killers as strong as opioids. I was surviving, trying to make as many efforts as I could to reach my dreams… but alas, no one here knew what a scientist is and what they did was either to ignore me, or to pity over me, to mock me or to try to explain to me, “you complete your MBBS then while preparing for your MD entrance examination do your PhD thing.” I contacted to some scientists who suggested me to have some experience with research and this was the hardest thing to do in my college. I still managed to do a project for which I had to contact a local gym, a local video recording company, and had to take lectures of first year students on neuroscience to make them ready to be volunteers for my research.
I became so weak that I fainted while standing to observe a surgery. My parents were shocked to see the changes in me and they attributed them to the toxic drugs I was consuming for that arthritis. I took the drugs for more than a year, developed some itching skin reaction and anemia after that when my mother took me to a big hospital for joints, I gave up the toxins as the doctors over there said that I had no arthritis… after some months I also became allergic to common pain killers like parecetamol. My score in exams dropped near to the boundary of passing in third year, and in final year exam I got that gynecology blow over my soul. The days after declaration of my final year results were the darkest days of my life; my parents who were used to boast for my achievements were terrified. “Your thoughts are nice, but they’re meaningless if you always become a loser because of them,” My mother said to me ten months later that incident.
I survived it though I was a bit depressed, and was unable to express myself in full, and was dumb, it was an extremely traumatizing experience… even the part of my novel I had written in those days is so negative that now I’ve to rewrite it. But I didn’t give up trying for my goal, and then tried to express myself by writing in nature network, and in my blog about my feelings. And I did meet an angel powerful enough to make smile even in that condition. He helped me a lot to get out of the situation. Then I got a chance to do a research project on learning and memory in another university, and I did pass the final year exam to become an intern…
Now I’m an intern in UHC, and its 12 o’clock in the afternoon… the OPD is going to get closed. The doctors surrounding me who were discussing amongst them have left. I’m still looking at that terrible time map called as the calendar. What you say- why have I written all this autobiographical matter? Remember what I’ve written in the second paragraph… “… I keep on trying to keep control over what I think but I lose it often.”