Journey of Becoming a Doctor
Written by Dr. Bandita Sinha
(TW: Death, Cancer)
Becoming a doctor has always been my dream since I was 4 years old, maybe earlier than that.
As my grandfather was a doctor, I was amazed to listen to his stories as a kid. Unfortunately, he was old and not keeping well, so he could not speak much. I heard most of his stories from my father.
During the British era, he participated in the fight against the British government while studying in a medical college in Calcutta. After passing out, he settled in a small village in Jharkhand, then Bihar, and started his practice.
Being the only doctor in the surrounding 60-70 villages, he had to travel long and far to treat the people. He travelled by horse and was treated like a God by those people. Once cured, they would come to his house with lots of goodies like local produce, fresh fish and sweets for his children and family.
As a kid, I loved listening about his stories. One day, when my mother was cleaning the house, she took out many things from the attic. Among them was my grandfather’s practice bag. A wooden box, I was thrilled to open it and see the stethoscope for the first time. I remember trying to put the earpiece in my ears and listening to my heartbeats. There were also some syringes and dressing materials, which I was very much thrilled to see. I asked my grandmother for permission to play with the things and so, the old wooden box got a place in my playing zone along with all my dolls.
Since then it became a ritual to clean all the stuff in the box everyday. I played with the syringes. I pretended to give injections to my dolls when they were sick and listened to their heart sounds with the stethoscope.
Gradually, I had the clear vision that I have to become a doctor. I wanted to heal others and take away their pain.
That’s how my dream of becoming a doctor was conceived. After a few years, I told my mom and dad that I wanted to become a surgeon. I remember making my mother lie down and pretending to perform surgeries- I would take an imaginary knife, cut her abdomen, suture the wound with threads and finally put on a bandage and discharge her. My family members started getting the vibes that I wanted to become a surgeon.
In school, I was very much fond of biology and loved reading about the human body. As I grew up, the desire to become a docter gradually became stronger. I felt that my purpose of being in this planet was to become a doctor and cure others.
Life was going well; we shifted to our new house in Matwari, Hazaribagh and were happy. Unfortunately, our happiness was short lived. My mother’s health started deteriorating and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
My whole world crashed. The cancer was in an advanced stage. She underwent chemotherapy and surgery, but ultimately passed away. I was only 13 years old. Throughout her treatment, I was by her side and saw every moment of her suffering. My mother could sense that she could not make it, and started preparing me about my future. How I have to handle everything, how to take care of my younger brother and father.
During that time, she once remarked that had I been a doctor, she would not have suffered so much and that she could’ve been cured. I could feel her pain, but I could do nothing but run from one doctor’s cabin to the other, requesting them to cure her.
The day she left us put me into a deep state of shock and void. Earlier, I was a very happy-go-lucky child. Suddenly, everything changed and I was vulnerable, fearful and vacant.
I put myself into a shell and took a pledge that come what may, I have to become a doctor. And today, I can proudly say that I have fulfilled my dream. A dream to hold the hand of someone who needs me most to come out of the pain and suffering.