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One day at a time.

WAITING. Waiting…
The year is 2017. A day in the rainy month of July.
As I wait at a bus stop a thought comes to mind, as a medical student what is different about my life? What makes my life different from the persons who sat at this stop thoroughout the day? The thought lingered in my mind for a while.
The time on the status bar of my mobile phone reads 9:00pm on the dot. It's dark and quiet. The only sound hitting my tympanum is that of traffic whizzing past. The occasional ‘bus kena yeta?’ fills the silence between cars that  pass by this main highway which takes you from Panjim to Margao through Agasaim, the place I call home, and Bambolim, in the heart of which sits my college campus (Goa Medical College). The bus crawls to stop in front of us. ‘Vasco? Margao?’ I hop in.  
This article is for you. I'm sure you have visited a doctor before-more than once-but know very little about what the life of a doctor, beyond the white coat and consulting room, is. Have you ever given it a thought?
Your relative, friend, friend’s relative, relative’s friend was/is a doctor. It's ‘difficult’ some say.
Well I'm not a doctor, yet. I'm a medical student, and I'm writing this article which I hope will shed some light on this Yeti profession.
Stop! Before you read any further you must take note. 24 hours is too short a peak into this life to form any sort of understanding. My day, and even my life, represents my personality, and choices. This article was written in order to ‘shed a dim light’ on and not illuminate it with the power of the sun.
It's 9 09pm. The bus starts moving. I look out as far as I can see. I watch the trees fly past. I see the same trees, roads, shops that I saw while I travelled to and from school-more than a decade ago-and then ‘higher secondary’. Time flies past.
It all started in school. I wanted to be a doctor since the 9th or 10th standard. The study of the unknown fascinated me and Biology made me feel ‘knowledgeable’. I felt I could finally use what I am learning in school. The practicality of biology (unlike trigonometry-the major part of it) is what drew me to it.
After I went to college I realised that math went further away from practicality and Biology was moving in the exact opposite direction. I fell in love with things that had a nucleus or a brain.  My Mother was a well established Dentist and my Sister was studying to be one. I wanted to do something different. They both studied in Goa and looking up to them, G.M.C was the college for me.
I was sure of what I wanted. But I never would've imagined the life i'm living now. Well, who could've?
The bus continues forward. Road lamp brighten up the road intermittently. The bus drops a woman and her child and continues its journey. My stop is coming next. I stop typing and slide my phone into my  pocket hurriedly.
As I walk by a dimly lit stretch of the highway from the bus stop to my house I think about what life would be like had I got into any other college. Things would have been different.
At the door I ring the bell and shout out, ‘Pa!’. Pa responds in a jiffy, welcoming me along with our pet dog, Snowy. Pets are the best stressbusters. Like many professional courses medicine is a stressful roller coaster. It's ironic, in one study they found that having pets is better than taking medications for hypertension.
What is the first thing that a medical student does when she/he comes back from college? I wish I could say that I wash my hands with soap and water, but no. I walk straight to my room- snowy hot on my heels trying to pick as much information about the outside world from the scents of my black jeans and slippers. I keep my bag on the bed with a sigh of relief and look for a change of clothes. Before doing anything else I wash my hands (all 6 steps) with a bar of soap.
I jump on my bed whilst mentally organizing my schedule for the rest of the evening. I need to:-
study the pathology (stuff that is wrong) of the external ear.

transfer songs from laptop to phone,

read some of our old college magazines.
I am writing a small article for the French Section of my college magazine. I have learnt  French from 8th to 12th standard however I fail to converse in French- the sheer speed of the french conversation boggles my mind making me feel belittled.
I read a few articles in the old magazine thinking ‘Yeah, I can do this.’
Writing has always been my passion, but never my skill.
I fall asleep after a quick dinner.
I wake up at around 7 20am. That gives me 25 minutes to get ready and leave. The first thing I do-put my specs, brush my teeth, have an-egg and-chapatti breakfast. Then pack my bag for college. What goes in my bag?
My file, and that itself contains

a mask,

a few blank pages and

the November 2015 issue of Scientific American.

My ipad goes in next

An ophthalmology notebook and

a small notebook I keep for writing down my doubts and queries about my studies.
I keep my PSM textbook (that is too big to fit in my normal sized school bag easily and too heavy to be carried on my back) near the bag. I change into my gladiator uniform. Black jeans and a decent looking shirt. I slip on some comfortable footwear and check my phone. I walk out the door at 7 40, leave round about 7 45 and reach college within 15 minutes. It's a beautiful journey. And the scenery, especially on my side, is filled with the  typical Goan fields and coconut trees. The sky is dark and cloudy and the sun is not seen anywhere-monsoon weather is the best.
IT soon starts to rain. I don't have an umbrella. I shove my over sized PSM textbooks into my bag.
Students wait outside the lecture hall block as the large glass door and the other doors it leads to are locked. Lectures start at 8 o’clock in the morning so it's not surprising that the gates are not open when we come-peons aren't as  interested  as us in getting up this early.
I sit for a one hour lecture on the ‘spleen’ during which I heard the words like trauma-rupture-splenunculi (baby spleens)- I sit on the second bench. Safest place fall asleep under the radar. Those few words alluded to were all that I heard. I only get up to sign the attendance sheet that comes to me in the middle of the lecture. The rest of the time I write this article and listen to music from  my favourite artist Eminem.
The second lecture is slightly more interesting than the first. It's about the ‘uveal tract’- a part of our eye. I pay attention to every word at least whenever my own eyes are open. I doze off now and then and immediately open my eyes and nod my head like I'm understanding everything.
The attendance is taken-we scramble out of class like birds out of a cage.
After a light post-breakfast breakfast at our college canteen I visit  the college library where everyone gathers before we go to our respective ‘clinics’ that we are assigned to-Medicine, Surgery, Paediatrics, Gynaecology and so on. I have been  posted in Preventive and Social Medicine for almost the past two weeks. On usual days we travel round about 5kms to TB and Chest Disease Hospital at Santa Cruz. But today is different.
I wait outside the library only to hear that some of my friends have decided to ‘bunk’ clinics and go Bowling at The Mall. Apparently it is a ‘good day to bunk’ as the  teacher who is supposed to take class  didn't teach us much the last time. Funny reason to bunk I thought to myself. Good day or not I was not going Bowling. Yesterday, Sonal and I had decided to take part in  a medical conference coming up soon in Pune at Armed Forces Medical College. So, if at all I bunk I have to work on this ‘group presentation’. We  make a quick decision after which we discuss formats, materials, topics and guides. We scribble down everything on a large middle sheet and then leave the library and go for lunch at the College Canteen. I didn't carry any money so I borrow some and buy the most economical yet satisfying item on the menu. Veg thali. We gobble up our lunch and return to the library. More Studying? No. We got half an hour to kill before the 2 o’clock lectures. I write this article in the silence of the library while Sonal catches up on sleep. Sleep for a medical student is like a diamond in a coal mine, precious and rare.
Obstetrics and Gynecology. Ma'am talks about the one thing in the past century (second to the right to Vote she supposes)  that changed the lives of women to a  great extent. Oral Contraceptives. The what, when, why and how of  those strips of tablets. It happens to be a revision of what we learnt in the previous Year. That goes on for an hour and is followed  by Dermatology class on ‘Hair’.
We leave the lecture hall and return to the library for a marathon study session. At 7 30 we have dinner at Food Court and then we walk to the small garden outside Nescafe and talk about a Trek which we would love to go for this weekend. In a short while I stand at the bus stop and I'm once again WAITING. The End.


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