I’m listening to Roobaroo. All of a sudden I remembered that one time the song came on the ipod and I had this…vision. It was of me coming out of what appeared to be the pediatric clinic in AKU – cc6 – and I’m wearing a doctor’s coat, and I’m laughing, like, really happy laughing, and I pick up a kid and play with it and put it down before smiling and cheerily moving on. And I knew then, even before I had begun med school, that that was me, that whatever else I might hate, my work would have to be and Would be my salvation, my source of strength. That though I couldn’t believe it now, that I was unsure about my career and doubtful about whether it really lay in medicine or not, these doubts were useless – that was where I belonged.
I seek that same sort of comfort now, when I begin to study harder, in earnest, and when I lose myself in my medical books and start to understand why the people who do this have so much of a passion for it. I seek the same comfort when patients and clerking and tests and histories start to fall into place, when my answers come swift and easily, when my hands do not tremble as I perform an examination, when a senior smiles at my enthusiasm. I seek that same comfort and I find it in the long nights of filled with chatting about cases with hot tea and classmates that have become friends and thick books open to fill our questing minds. In the middle of the words and the people and the harshness of the realities of this life, I seek the smiles that make this worth it, and sometimes I don’t find them anywhere but in myself, in my soul smiling at the reward it feels. When I drag myself through another long day and fall asleep thinking about how lucky I am to be whole and well, I find it. The comfort I’m looking for, the strength I seek, in my work and in the people that matter and most of all in myself, when I do this, when I work hard for it.
It comes slowly and painfully and sometimes I simply can’t understand the need for this struggle, the need for this nerve-wracking, heart-wrenching process before the realisation of my vision. But this is how it is meant to be. Because only when I have passed myself through the fire of effort and strong-willed determination do I feel that light of satisfaction softly bathing me, that soft warm glow that is simply hard work and genuine effort translating into understanding and appreciation. It is when I have suffered do I appreciate the worth of the successes I receive, and then and only then do I consider that I may have done something to deserve them.
I think of the bed in D215, and how I felt then – that if my death would do anything to relieve the suffering of this world I would turn on the gas with a smile. And while it sounded stupid and immature an idea then, the truth remains that I might be able to do more to help things alive rather than dead. I think about the times when I wondered if my extreme personal selfishness may ever be justified, and then thought my career might do it, if I worked at it with the passion I can give to things when I want to. I admit it – I can give a lot to my career if I simply give it my devotion – and it is but a poor bargain when I consider what I get in return. When I think of that satisfaction, that keen and heavy sense of drinking the mead of hard work and determination, I am content. Even more than that, I realise that I cannot give up with such a goal in sight, so long as I keep it in sight. I see myself smiling as I exit a clinic.
And everything seems worth it.
(Roobaroo – Rang de Basanti. How to save a life – the fray. Iktara – Wake up Sid)