When I took up Community Medicine, I was not quite sure what I was getting into, whether I am truly cut out for the work it entitled. It heartens me that things certainly do look that way. I love the things I am getting to learn.
Less than two weeks into joining the course I have been lucky enough to receive an opportunity to work with the World Health Organisation; as an External Monitor on behalf of WHO for the Measles -Rubella vaccination campaign happening in the state throughout the month of February. I travelled solo to remote parts of the largely rural district of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, monitoring certain assigned sites each day and the experience has been amazing.
Barren landscapes dotted with cattle and ancient bullock carts stacked with hay met my widened eyes – I had never seen the likes of these except perhaps in Tamil movies of old. Schools were part of the more populated areas, a couple of concrete buildings where children in red uniforms peeked out of the windows of their classrooms or from under shady trees where some had their lessons. My visits drew excitement; some boys saluted me as they would a teacher, and certain girls threw shy glances at my attire and accessories; one shook my hand and hid behind her friends giggling while all the others waved me goodbye.
As the driver took me from one remote village to the other, I watched in awe the alcoves of life emerging from the corners of my country – naked children playing in puddles and old folks squatting in front of caricatured huts made of dark mud walls and low lying roofs of hay, where nights brought darkness and light came up with the sun, where one walked miles altogether to reach the main road and the few necessities were met by a single grocery store..
I could not help feeling a little ashamed of how I complained about slow wifi networks, the occasional loss of power and late Amazon deliveries. The presence of supermarkets and designer stores at a walkable distance suddenly seemed an overindulgence. But funnily enough, in spite of lack of all these facilities, I caught myself feeling jealous of them. They were content in their way of life, and that’s what matters in the end.