The other day I was at a marriage procession, where old friends and relatives had gathered. There, an aged woman came up to me introducing her as one of my distant relatives. After discussing about a bit here and a bit there, she disclosed her intention of having a talk with me..."So...I've heard you're a doctor...a lady doctor...I see..." followed by her daughter's chief complaints regarding a gynecological problem.

Here, comes an awkward situation...Your very identity is at stake...Yes, you are a doctor, but every lady doc is not a gynecologist. And the disclosure is accepted with such a gesture that later you're at risk of having nightmares.

Yes, I'm a doctor and I'm a teacher too. In fact every doctor in a Medical College is supposed to be a teacher...just for this simple reason...we're doing our job in a college where medical subjects are taught!

Still those who are in Basic Sciences (Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry) are more involved in teaching. When students get admission into a Medical College, these are the basic subjects taught to them in their first professionals (in India).

Long back in early ninetees, when I joined Medical College, its main college building was impressive, hospital was okay and hostel hopeless. At that time, I was bound to reflect whether the amount of labor I had put to get there was worth it. And I was right, it was just the beginning.....

I wanted to run away from the place, but not the profession. I yearned for some mentor, some guide to show me some light through this dark tunnel...but no, there was none. I had to be my own strength, my own savior!

I was in a strange world, strange friends...only competitors...and I was afraid...very afraid of everyone around me. I had no one near me, no one...there are times, when your own shadow leaves you...I was also in the same state of affairs. I could find no place of solace. Only huge books, huge syllabuses...never ending cramming...nonstop mugging...infinite tests...eternal periodicals...sent ups... followed by professionals...then clinics...sickening chapters, hard learning...

Yes everything has its end, so this also ended. At last, I grasped the hard fact that I was not meant for this profession!

Despite I detested all this, I loved my profession. In fact I still respect. At last the degree was with me, a hard earned degree. Certain things I learnt without anybody teaching me and it was not found in any of the books we were taught in medical college.

The first lesson, no matter how much hard work you put in, you will not succeed up to your expectations...In fact there is no need for you to expect anything from yourself.

The second one, you've come here just to get a degree to later practice or do a job in your life. You ought not to top, not to excel...The top ranks are meant for the 'fortunate' few, the 'chosen' few...

Third lesson, just don't let your presence be felt by anybody...keep doing your job...gather your own facts for yourself. It is commonly advised "Come unknown, go unknown".

Fourth lesson, you've to kill your desires, your dreams, your hopes to gain this precious degree at last. It's a well deserved, most adorable possession. Many who have stride this path very easily, will say "it's not so". They may be blessed few.

After you are a medical graduate, another rat race begins, and that is PG (post graduation)! If you don't succeed in getting through you are made to feel something deficient in yourself (in any case at that particular time, you also believe so). At PG level too, same situation exists in a different way. In straightforward terms, one should just have an eye on that charming PG (MD/MS) degree.... and the rest...simply forget. Because once you've entered this phase, sooner (or laterL) it will be yours!

After slogging for almost a decade of your life, if you get used to such surroundings, you'll go further for super-specialization (DM/MCh). At this point, I would like to appreciate a Hindi movie "Three Idiots" released a few months back. It gives a stunning sketch of Professional Institutes in our society. Even the three students in the movie were lucky enough, because their teacher at last understood their minds... :)

Keeping all things apart, I wish like many others that if I were a student of our former President Mr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam I would have been a better person than what I am. He proudly remembers his father as his first teacher who taught him a very valuable lesson of his life, who quoted an Islamic Hadith, which states that, "When the Almighty appoints a person to a position, He takes care of his provision. If a person takes anything beyond that, it is an illegal gain." A gift is always accompanied by some purpose and a gift is a dangerous thing. It is like touching a snake and getting the poison in turn.

Notwithstanding my experiences, I owe a lot to my teachers, right from first day in medical college till today. There might have been misunderstandings, misgivings in the past, but future always holds promises, hopes, new beginnings...

My above account excludes my affectionate teachers from kindergarten till medical entrance examinations. They've proved to be the true light of my life, as their faith in me helped me overcome all obstacles in later academic life.

"If you see the best in me,

I make the best my goal;

Your faith that God will strengthen me,

Will encourage my soul."

(Author unknown)

Take this as a lesson from your own teacher,

Bye for now.