A lone male child was born to a lady in a nondescript hospital in a small town in South India. The mother as was, and as has been ‘traditional’ to any Indian Family, had gone to her mother’s place for ‘safe confinement’ of her first pregnancy – quite complacent of the fact that a new life was burgeoning inside of her. Of course, no reason for her to be overawed, as this was the routine. In fact, her giving birth gave a new meaning to ‘fulfillment’ or ‘consummation’ of her married life.
Thus was born a new child that day, the 7th of December, 1979 bringing joy and supposedly a harbinger of prosperity to the whole family. (No special moment for this child, as it shared its moment of arrival with at least 6 others in this planet!)
It has been nearly 24 long years for me in this sojourn called ‘Life’, a long way since the naked, wordless, crying child that the above narrative talks about. The child was blessed with coming into a family that already had a shelter and could afford much more than just food and clothing. (Although, the same cannot be said about many other unfortunate children that entered this world, that very same moment). Words were put in its mouth, and the child was rewarded for doing things in a certain way, and punished for certain other things. The child was on the path to becoming a ‘cultured’ member of the society.
This is where the reference to the child in the ‘third person’ stops because, somewhere around this time, the child’s consciousness matured, and lasting memory became a part of his mental capabilities. This is when, the ‘I’ comes into the picture.
I remember going to school. My favorite and high-scoring subject was General Knowledge and Social Studies. The school was a long journey. And friends made in high school were here to stay. The same continued through college, this one being St. Joseph’s College of Arts & Science. (I always nursed a sense of admiration towards Christian Missionary run, educational institutions – for the sense of ‘disciplined freedom’ – if there is any such thing). From there, good academic grades sent me to a Medical college (Govt. Medical College, Mysore), which I entered with a sense of fulfillment. Fulfillment, it was not to be. I realised that the best of sciences will not give me all the answers I seek. My belief that being a doctor will help me to connect with a lot of people proved to be an illusion
Disillusioned though I was, disheartened I wasn’t. I became a student leader in my college. I have learnt to relate to so many different kind of people and connect with different cultural backgrounds. Right from participating in a host of speaking events and debates, to addressing the college in capacity of the General Secretary of the College, connecting to people has been an enjoyable experience for me.
So this is my account of myself – a medical student, at the fag end of his student life, with a great academic and extra-curricular background, with a deep understanding of Hinduism and its cultures, with learnt understanding of Christianity, an immense interest to find answers and with a lot of unanswered questions!