Travel and tell no one. Live a true love story and tell no one. Live happily and tell no one. People ruin beautiful things. – Khalil Gibran
No words have rung as true as those. If I may add a bit of my own to it, join the course of your choice and tell no one.
I opted for post graduation in Community Medicine in the institute of my choice, one of the finest in the country, and all I’m getting in return for the happy news are blank stares and wrinkled noses.
Being part of a virtual joint family necessitates instant sharing of any new information relating to any event, and in case the matter even borders on the unconventional, eyebrows are raised. Two relatives in particular, doctors themselves, readily frowned upon my choice to let go of the clinical hullabaloo.
As for me, I’d rather have peace of mind than a flourishing practice, and more importantly (and secretly) I want a life where I have ample time to read and write. If there’s one thing that rotatory residency taught me, it’s that I turn into the most horrible version of myself when harrowed and the clinical side has the possibility of doing that to you. Social and Preventive Medicine is a more versatile line, where I can opt to work among the public if I so desired or turn into teaching if that turns out to be my calling. I hate dead ends just as I hate being caged and boxed. Community Medicine gives me a wide enough platform to counter claustrophobia, so that’s that.
For once in my life, I’m letting go of whatever anyone wants me to do and siding with my gut. That you should listen to your heart is an oft used phrase, and there is a reason for it; it’s true. I am sure that if I had listened to all the voices that had gone against my own, I would not be feeling what I feel right now – happiness and relief. Like I have taken a step in the right direction. And if I haven’t, I will still know it’s my choice.
So all of you out there who are struggling to hold your own, take a deep breath and push on. Take that photography course you’ve already wondered about. Enroll for dance classes. Take up History just so you can sigh in wonderment at all that has come to be. The society is going to cut you left and right trying to fit you into its moulds. Maybe your choices are not well thought out or maybe they are all you have been obsessing about. What matters is that when the moment comes, you click the right button, fill in the right option, do the right thing, make the right choice – your own.
For the upcoming post graduation counselling, I am bound to turn up with certain certificates from the university last attended. Unsurprisingly, I found myself not to be in possession of said documents and am on a detour to Chennai to obtain the same before the big day, accompanied by Mom. (Any event relating to academic accomplishment is generally viewed as ‘the big day’ in the medical community since such trivial things as weddings hold little importance in our lives)
We reached Chennai at around 6 in the morning and rushed off to Amigo LP’s house to freshen up and reach the university in time to beat any other potential aspirant of certificate acquisition, in accordance with the rules of the rat race. The local trains were not very crowded (I was fooled into thinking this is a normal phenomenon) and once we reached the university gates, we were greeted by a drum-and-horns band committed to blowing the ear drums out of anyone who dared to stay in the vicinity for more than a couple of seconds. I thought this was standard procedure as well. It was only when I saw the banners and floral decorations that I realised the day had been proclaimed a government holiday to commemorate the 100th birthday of the late actor/chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr.M.G.R who, ironically, our university happens to be named after.
Our plans thus effectively wasted, we looked to LP to provide us with alternative excitements for the day. After some consideration, we decided to descend upon Thyagaraja Nagar, or T Nagar as it is fondly called, the perennial flea market of the city.
We arrived there in the early hours, just as the shops were being set up. The street undergoes a steady metamorphosis through each day, with the crowd trickling in during the morning and turning into a human high tide by evening that is sure to literally sweep you off your feet to be washed ashore at the feet of whoever happens to be offering the biggest discounts at the moment. On my virginal visit some years ago, two seconds after venturing in I found myself separated from my able friends and being thrust into a textile shop to haggle for a shawl I didnot need or desire. I shuddered at the memory and wondered if Mom needed protection.
Those who have been through my previous posts may know that Mom has lived the entirety of her life taking care of two ungrateful souls, Father and me, and has not had many chances of roaming around and exploring the world outside of our residential area. She’s extremely street smart and carries her own in a way I never could, and was delighted at getting an opportunity to explore whatever little bits of Chennai as could be managed. LP and I decided to make sure she got the most out of it.
Shopping was obviously on top of the list. I treated Mom to her choice of bags and footwear and grabbed some for myself too. But more importantly, it was her taste buds I wanted to entice.
No bustling street in Tamil Nadu is complete without the vendors of varied snacks. Stalls routinely sell boiled corn mixed with butter/chilli as per command and are served as instant healthy refreshment in paper cups. I used to love these during my college days and Mom in turn nodded agreement after tasting her first spoonful.
Other roadside favours are bhel puri, pani puri, assorted ice cream cones, lime soda and rose milk.
Since we were travelling I decided to forego the diarrhoeal roadside option and have safer versions of the same at the famous Adyar Anand Bhavan aka A2B. I chanced upon a delightful strawberry cake there and had my fill while Mom and L happily munched on pani Puri and sipped Rose Milk. The pomegranate juice that I ordered drew another excited ooh! from Mom. She readily tasted and approved of the same too.
It was a very happy day indeed. The icing on the cake were of course our spoils from the day that we managed to procure without drilling a huge hole in my wallet.
Wifi is back for one thing, which means I can proceed to Press with abandon and seek the help of Netflix to get me through these very troubled times. The television is not of much help these days in spite of the thousand odd channels that one is bestowed with of late; it is funny how quality tends to degrade with quantity.
I decided to visit the black and white era where horrid enterprises such as entrance exams for post graduation did not exist. It is wise to opt for fantasy when reality offers little comfort. So it came to be that I went on a Roman Holiday and then had a couple of drinks at Rick’s in Casablanca.
It seems sort of fitting in hindsight that I chose these of the lot. Both are unconventional, in the sense that the lovers part in the end, but in spite of that glitch they end on happy notes. I found that comforting. I like to believe that the same applies to our lives too. We vouch for things and indeed hope for them to come true, putting up a good fight where we think it’s due, and holding on to our dear faith in happy endings. But it just so happens that the endings are almost never what we intend them to be, but it also so happens that the same need not make the endings sour.
As time goes by, everything gets better. Most of the riddles are answered and the unanswered ones still provide us with amusement. As time goes by.
This is what I love about WordPress. All the amazing people I come across who throw light my way at my darkest hours simply with their beautiful words. A Not So Jaded Life lifted my spirits with her post today. It’s lovely and moving and brilliant, and the best of her work that I’ve come across till date (which is quite a short time, I must add)
Statutory warning : this is going to be a deeply insecure post filled with tragic ruminations about my present crises. This is not a drill.
I am moderately depressed.
I say moderately because mild doesn’t cut it and it doesn’t qualify as severe/major due to the absence of suicidal ideation. The much awaited results of my entrance test are out, and contrary to expectations it’s not great. I’m not bothered so much by the rank as the puzzle behind it. It was a relatively tough paper but I had come out feeling like I had aced it. If only I knew what went wrong, I’d feel better.
The results were already out on another exam I had written, one conducted by a prime institute in the country, and there is a possibility that I may be able to get into that one. May be, because they only take in limited candidates. With some luck, I may make it. I hate being at the tip of this precipice, not knowing which way I might fall, especially now that the other result has let me down.
I was rather numb yesterday, perhaps in early denial. After a sleepless night, I’m still wide awake and still in my pajamas. I missed breakfast and lunch and am still not hungry. Classic signs of a depressive episode plus, anergia and apathy.
My laptop is still dead, because I never got around to fixing it. Now, what with the counselling in 5 days, I don’t know when I’ll be able to. There’s no time for anything, and still I don’t feel like getting out of bed. Wifi expired as I forgot to pay the bill, so no Netflix. The idiot box hasn’t helped.
All of a sudden, I don’t seem to have anyone to call and talk to. Maybe this why people get married.
And to add to all that, all my blogging ideas seem to have disappeared into thin air, and I’m left to rambling away my time on this hideous post. Yuck.