August 2, 2004: My first day in JNMC.
August 2, 2014: Today.
10 years ago, on a typical rainy day in Belgaum, I walked the campus for the first time, not knowing then that, that would be my home for many more years to come. As I walked through those gates.. the pride.. the rush of emotions.. it is indeed a vivid memory… A first-timer can’t be but mesmerized by the lush greenery, sprawling lawns, tall trees and a building bearing the name ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College’. My head kept turning everywhere to capture the beauty of the campus around me and my face could not disguise the awe that I felt. I was to be a part of a legacy that was more than four decades old – and for a privately run medical institute, that says a lot.
A mere three days ago, I was all set to be an engineer graduating from GIT. And yet there I was, walking this magnificent campus, strongly believing that, one day, I would be a competent doctor. (An exciting story had ensued in the last 72 hours – a story which merits a mention of its own.) Many would argue that I am biased now, but, dare I say, I strongly feel that any other profession wouldn’t have made me half as happy as what medicine has already made me. It is, after all, not a comparison between professions, but how well you are carved for it.
For someone from a town like Miraj, Belgaum was a BIG step. I had grown up in a place where choosing an English medium school wasn’t much of a job, since there were hardly any. Every time I visited Belgaum on weekends, the bus moved past the college. And each of those times, my jaw dropped and a familiar dream swept through my mind – that of graduating from this institute. My cousin, was already en route and she’d narrate tales of her interactions with patients and how tough the exams were, to which I listened to, in total admiration. Though childish at that point in time, it had already ignited in me a passion to want to be associated to a noble profession and a glorious institute.
Amidst the KCET-COMEDK tiff, less than half the actual strength were admitted to the course, most of them being non-Kannadigas. I found myself surrounded by a group of new people who came from much bigger cities and I was naturally awed by them. I remember spending a lot of my initial days subdued. I pretty much kept to myself, as I did not believe I had the confidence to stand up and be counted. I was to learn later, though, that there is no such thing as ‘small town’ and ‘big city’. It is who you are that ultimately counts. Be good, be confident, be human and nothing else matters.
Being accommodated in a 3-seater was a different and unique experience – my first in fact, of life in a hostel. Though I was far from home and parents, I had a certain feeling of warmth in this place. For starters, I was finally among people who at least shared the same language. The mess food obviously couldn’t compare to mom’s, but that was a small price to pay.
So excited was I on joining, that I had my friends take snaps of me posing with the college and hospital in the background. I needed to show these ‘postcards’ to parents and friends back home. So naïve!
The mobile phone, the internet, the digital camera, social networks – all these were ‘luxuries’ which most of us couldn’t afford back then. I wish I could capture those moments so that I could share with others what is permanently etched in my mind.
Time then flew. From the ‘fragrance’ of dissection in Anatomy to viewing pink and violet ‘patterns’ through the microscope. From begging patients for history to actually treating one. I met some amazing friends, made unforgettable memories and even partially fulfilled part of my another dream in life (to author a book) by playing Editor to Suvarna Sambhrama, Cynosure and Echoes Of Time.
I won’t conclude by thanking anyone for being a part of my memories and my life simply because they were destined to be!
JNMC and JNMCites made me what I am today. From a shy, anxious, lanky, small-town boy to a confident surgeon and more importantly, a happy and contented human.. that, to me, is an astounding personal achievement.
10 years… What a journey!