I had joined the medical college with all the excitement that is humanly possible. Getting merit-based scholarship and not having to pay a single penny as a donation to college, I had made my parents proud. Not that I had always wanted to be a doctor. Being a doctor is the epitome of success academically in our society. The toppers of the country would choose to be a doctor. More than me, my parents were happy that I was studying Medicine. What more could I do than to make my parents proud. Not that I was forced to study medicine. Personally, I was indifferent. I wanted to go through the tough road that elites chose. Deep down inside, I still wanted to explore passion in life. But I was far too lucky (and thinking now maybe unlucky) that I got my name in the successful candidate name list in the MBBS entrance examination.
First year: Crushed euphoria
I was so happy to sign in the admission forms and submit all my certificates. More than that I was happy to see my dad’s smile while I was signing. Getting my hostel room key and filling a small sheet of paper for college identity card filled me with utmost pride.
As classes started, the happiness curve went down. All my expectation of med school became upside down with the reality. As happy I was to get the key to my hostel room, I was more disappointed to open the room of the hostel that was located 3 kilometers away from the hospital right next to the public bus park. Unlike the photos are shown on the website of the college, the hostel was a temporary rented hotel, with zero facilities. The hostel corridor had a leaking terrace and in the monsoon flooded our room if we opened our door for long. The soaked carpet smell mixed with our own sweat smell during the power cuts was in the air. Love definitely wasn’t in the air.
Second year: Exams
Literally, the second year was nothing but the exams. We had monthly big exams, and countless small posting examination. The syllabus was vast and time very limited. On top of that, we would hear about the terror of HODs of departments during practical Viva examinations. Our only aim was to pass every internal examination so that we would not be barred from giving board examination.
Third year: Honeymoon year
We were posted in the hospital. We had our first share of exposure to the patients. Only two subjects whose exam would be there. Taking history and learning physical examination. It was far different kind of learning compared to learning from the cadavers of first-year anatomy class. For the least, all we had to do was to maintain our attendance to 80 percent.
Fourth Year: Minors
We had already spent a year in the hospital wards and OPDs. The place felt familiar and we had been quite familiar with the history taking and physical examination. Watching POP casts and slabs in the Orthopedics OPD was exciting. Learning to use an Otoscope and be able to visualize the perforated eardrum gave all of us some happiness of sorts.
Final Year: The real exams
We were the same as the third year and our posting was the same. But the way our teachers treated was entirely different and that increased the fear. They would constantly remind of us being the ‘exam giving batch’ and that we had to cover each and every topic. Everyone was seriously studying except for the legends who still got time to flaunt the new bike they had bought.
Time passed in a blink of an eye. There was so much to study and so less of time. Nothing except the syllabus mattered. The frequency of mom and dad calling to ask about my whereabouts decreased. Going out for parties were almost nil. Birthday parties got postponed.
Internship: Three Ds
Dressing. Discharge. Daru (alcohol). The dressing of wounds and especially of the burn patients was really difficult and time-consuming. Making discharge sheets of patients who were admitted for delivery of babies was hectic as hell as the number many a time crossed half-century. And a chilled beer once in a while was the answer for releasing the frustration of doing ‘clerk-type’ work every day.
Right now, I am almost halfway through my internship. The days are so varied. Some days, we get all the time in the world to talk about all the things that are shitty in this country. Other days, we are so tired we fall asleep right as we close our eyes. The way we are treated also varies greatly. Some patients treat as if we are magicians wearing white gloves applying elixirs in their wounds and heal them. Other patients treat as if we don’t even exist there.
With all the free ‘no-need-to-read-compulsorily’ time that I have got in the internship, I get plenty of time to introspect. I think about the situation in the country. I talk with the residents and learn about the things I could do during my internship days to make the future a little bit easier when I would be working in a hospital far from cities. And some nights when I am alone in my room and it is raining outside, I wonder with one question on my mind: