THE GUIDING LIGHT￼
“Doctors are considered next to God, because they save lives” – is what my father told me when I was little. I had watched him carry our family physician’s bag out of respect and escort him to the door every time he took our leave after making a house visit for my ailing grandparents. Patients at the clinic would join their hands to thank the Doctor and as soon as he entered they would respectfully greet him. I would be in complete awe thinking just how important one feels and how much respect you’d command if you were a Doctor.
‘Blogger’, ‘freelancer’, ‘content creator’, ‘influencer’ are words which we as children had never heard of and our parents are still quite unaware of these being actual professions. Doctors, engineers, scientists and architects were the ones who had a respectable job according to their generation. When you grow up being repeatedly told that only the very fortunate ones who study extremely hard get to become Doctors, then that naive heart of a young school kid is lured into believing that this is the profession they need to work for.
Little do we know as children about the hardships in becoming a Doctor. Once you get into a Med school, the people that were supposed to be considered next to God, suddenly start becoming zombies: buried in those books (that cannot get any thicker) for hours. Following those books is an internship which is literally living out a Zombie apocalypse – running hither and thither with half-asleep, dark-circles-ridden eyes and dehydrated facies, with absolutely no idea about what is going on around you.
When you are 16, you are vulnerable and gullible and hence can get easily swayed. I remember how, when the elderly who were not even Doctors and knew nothing about the profession would talk about it and how ‘noble’ and ‘heroic’ it is to be of service to mankind, I would imagine myself as a Messiah helping the ailing ones and would get swayed by them just as Marc Antony’s soliloquy swayed the people.
Those naïve 16-something beings have no experience of the actual process, hence do not realise that not only is this profession challenging because of the odd, tiring and often seemingly endless hours of studies and work, but also various other factors like the admission process, the lack of seats, and the reservation system. Oh I can just go on and on how your bubble bursts once you get thrown into this mess, face first.
It is so imbibed in the thought process of our society that there is no greater profession than medicine, that even when we think of toys, we happily get them a ‘Doctor set’ (some girls are given kitchen set, but more on bad, misogynistic parents some other day) and the eyes of parents shine with pride when they see their tiny tots playing Doctor-Doctor with their peers.
I was also hypnotised by these thoughts, just like the mice were by Pied Piper of Hamelin, and fell prey to the lucrative notion of becoming a Doctor. [2,3] Oh that little me whose eyes would widen bigger than that of an owl thinking of how life would be so good once I would be called a ‘Doctor’. The thought of being able to add the mere title to my name seemed enough to lure me into it. Little did I know one could earn the same title even if they made some ‘contribution’ to the society and receive an honorary doctorate from some university. Imagine that happening without having to crack NEET.
- My General practitioner, the one who sowed the seeds.
- Grey and white matter of my brain
- The family and relatives that played Pied piper of Hamelin
Dr. Shivani Vakilwala
Dr Shivani Vakilwala is a Medical officer based in Mumbai, India. She also is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Certified Therapeutic Art Life Coach. She writes healthcare and medicine related articles and has written and published several short stories and poems in different genres.