Newton’s first law of motion states that, “a body continues to be in a state of rest or in a state of uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.”
Don’t our lives also work similarly? We get so comfortably entrenched in our way of life that when the need of the hour is to start something new, it takes a huge amount of (unbalanced) force to make us overcome our inertia. Now this may be applicable to anything. It may be starting a new course, starting a new business or job or a new life as a spouse or parent. (In fact, starting this blog today itself involved overcoming a lot of inertia. After all I give prime importance to T.V., YouTube and Saavn music.) But is this force always good? All forces have an impact. This is that impact that may make or break the rest of our journey; that may strengthen us further or rip us apart. So how do we ensure that we make this force our strength? How do we ensure that in this new thing that we have started, things won’t go wrong and spiral out of control? How do we ensure that Midas touch to our newly begun journey?
The day had dawned when the zygote of a new doctor had come into existence. Well, I mean, that was the first day of my M.B.B.S. course at the Grant Government Medical College. That college which was seeing its 170th year. That college which had its own secrets no less that any castle or monument. That college where the famous movie Munnabhai M.B.B.S. was made. That college from where both my parents studied their undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses.
My parents loved their alma mater from the bottom of their hearts. From the legendary professors that oozed royal vibes to that cutting chai in Shetty’s canteen. But the highlight of their college life was their group of friends that they made here and the bond has remained just as strong ever since. So my parents were more keen on me making friends than me scoring well.
On the first day of college (what I call as the day of creating impressions) I wore my best top, a pretty bracelet, and donned my jeans (something which you will never get to see. Yes, that’s right. I don’t wear jeans. :-p). Travelling by train alone for the first time, I went to college. On reaching the anatomy hall, I went to talk to a group pf girls (among those 199 unknown faces that I am to spend 5 and ½ years with). I wondered how many would actually be my friends. I thought that, that group of girls would be my friends for the rest of the course. On the second day however, to my utmost horror, people who didn’t know one another a day before, were now standing in groups and the group of girls I spoke to seemed to just have dissolved. These groups became even tighter the next day and on the day after that, they began to go for lunch together. It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to make friends and a voice inside me said, “What if I don’t make friends at all?” And that was the beginning of my phase of depression.
To my disdain, that was not it. Talking about the study part, after all it’s medicine. I remember that first anatomy LCD (Lecture Cum Demonstration), where the teacher held the clavicle bone in her hand and addressing those curious faces who knew nothing more than biceps muscles and knee joint, she began, “This is the site of attachment of the sternocleidomastoid and this is the region of articulation of the acromioclavicular joint. Above that the teacher had a slurred speech and sternocleidomastoid sounded like senokidostoid. Also, she never mentioned whether it was a muscle or a ligament or a scientist ;-p. I began to seriously doubt my caliber besides suffering from a mild attack of HIPPOPOTOMONSTROSESQUIPEDALIOPHOBIA (fear of long words).
Lost in the turmoil of these problems and the apparent inability to cope up with studies, keeping my composure and fighting back tears was a Herculean effort. After all, how do you tell your parents that the thing you achieved after a tiring struggle is not meant for you? Above that my friends from other colleges claimed that they did not face the same problem. And as if that was not enough, the train journey that I was not so used to, seemed to drain the rest of my energy. Life had become hell and I contemplated giving up.
On the tenth day of college however, things took a different turn. We were having Janmashtami celebrations in our college and we had 2 hours to kill after college before the celebration. I was wondering how to spend these hours, so I approached a group of my classmates and the next thing I know is that I’m going for an impromptu outing to Marine Drive with them. Ten people,to whom I spoke for the first time, shared a Cannon pav-bhaji and innumerable selfies with me.
That is when I confided my fears in a girl in that group about my inability to make friends. To this she replied, “You think these are groups? The reason people stay in groups is just because they have to; because they fear it may not be easy to make friends once groups are formed; because they feel they may not be accepted later; because they face the same fears as you do.”
That was my moment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. I realized that change is a difficult process. I realized that it’s just time that I need. Time to help me adjust. Time to relieve my stress and heal my wounds. Time to understand my subjects. Time to make friends. And above all, I realized that I am perfectly normal.
As for the study part, to my utmost relief, my tiny little part exam also went well, convincing me that medicine is my home after all and if not that, it’s definitely not an alien world that would bombard me with incomprehensible rocket science. And you know what, I have a close knit group of friends as well.
The force that I applied on my life to break the inertia seemed to hurt me initially but time proved to be a great healer. After all, doesn’t every beautiful shoe, when new, give a shoe bite?