THE LESSER CHOSEN PATH

The thing which set me thinking on these lines was a question from an aunt, many years ago, “Beta, you want to be a doctor or an engineer?” This was just one, but probably there were countless aunts out there who asked the same question to kids in their families. Those kids probably wanted to be football players or detectives or rock stars or scientists at some point of time in life. They let friends and T.V. shows influence their minds. They saw dreams in school and swore to make them a reality. Those dreams ranged from going to Mars to making a humanoid robot to winning an Oscar.

And this was until they reached the crossroads. And then, life happened. These kids were thrown into a ‘doctor, engineer and C.A. manufacturing’ factory. Those who played along became heroes overnight. And what happened to the musician, footballer, actor and detective? Those dreams were allowed to die. Those who dared were initially looked down upon. And eventually, they were all judged on what they earned.

The same aunt, who asked me that question, made her schedule for the following Sunday. She went for a matinee show of a running blockbuster, curled up with a novel for a few hours, cheered in the stands of a cricket match and ended the day with dinner at a fine-dining restaurant. And then she said, “That made my day.” The actors of the movie, the novelist, the cricket players and the chef of that restaurant had put a smile on many more faces. They made people happy and content, gave them a break from their monotonous life. And yet, when it comes to some of our own near and dear ones taking up these professions, why do we behave as if it is a parallel world? As if sitting in front of a computer is prestige but making someone happy is a crime? Remember, the ultimate goal of life is to do something, not which is prestigious in society but something that is good for mankind.

He works nine-to-five in front of his laptop. He is a hero, considering what he earns.

But as he sees his guitar lying in the corner, he knows life took wrong turns.

He wishes he would have chosen better. To go back to the college band, he yearns.

Because if our profession differs from our passion, then one lives and the other burns.

His brother, though, chose to be an actor.  He struggled a lot for quite a while.

But, though paid in crores today, what he actually earns, is seeing his fans walk away with a smile.

 

 

MONEY

                               One of Bollywood’s top actresses gave birth to a baby boy!! The family of the actress celebrated. The world spoke about the child. News channels and reporters jostled to get the first click of the baby. The boy’s pictures flooded Twitter and Whatsapp. The actresses’ pregnancy had become news even when the boy was just a shapeless mass of cells. In those nine months, she was doted upon as the newest ‘mom-to-be’ in B-town. The child she had, was the new addition to the list of celebrity kids. And in all probability, she must have had a lot of parenting tips from those around her and must have binged on all types of delicious foods. The child must have been showered with expensive gifts. A life was born and took the world by storm.

 

10th March 2017

Shahida Banu had reached full term. But at 25, parenting was nothing new to her. Married at 15, she was already a mother of 3. She did not even remember the details of her current pregnancy. “She’s a moron” the nurse sang out loud. “How many more do you want,” the doctor asked her rudely. She would probably not have come here to deliver. But the nearest Government hospital was all she could afford. The hospital lacked an incubator. She was not getting labour pains in spite of being given the drug to induce them. The labour room was just adjacent to the ward and anybody could walk in. No luxury of privacy. The doctor had to keep a watch on her and cursed her for not getting labour pains and keeping the doctor waiting. She was thirsty and no nurse paid heed. When the pain finally began, there was yelling all around. The staff was in a frenzy and in less than a minute, it was over. She was crying and called over an observing student. She could not hear her child cry due to her own loud wails. She did not ask to admire her newborn’s face. All she said, through her tears was, “please give me some water.”

The child was just another number in the family. No celebration or glitterati. No expensive gifts. No photos on Whatsapp. A life was born and was swept up in the storm of the world.

 

Is it possible to believe that both these incidents happened on the same planet, in the same country, in fact, in the same city and almost in the same year? So what was the dividing line; the deciding factor of their fates?

Money.

Somebody once asked Money,” you are but a piece of paper.” “True,” Money replied, “except that I have never seen a dustbin in my life.”

Money may not buy happiness or family but buys amenities and luxuries which almost equate happiness in today’s time and gathers influential acquaintances that people treat even better than family. There was a time when fame and money were two separate entities, but today fame solely depends on money. The best movie is not that which touches hearts but that which crosses the 100 crore collection in box office.

Money is magnetic and draws people towards it. People give up their sleep, their families, and their home in search of wealth. It may probably be after losing all this that man may realise that money was earned but the purpose behind earning it was probably lost on the way.

TO NEW BEGINNINGS

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?