Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Ides of September...

Definitely, September is a most remarkable month for me every year... and this September was definitely one of meeting up with old friends and chatting over just like in the old times. This year there was a connection, when I wasn't really looking forward to.

Yesterday I met up with my old (and still strong) friend Ayyappan, who in six months' time will be Dr K. Ayyappan, M.D. A much needs to be said about him, and for so many reasons. When we were in school he used to amaze me with his constancy and his "koolness". He still amazes me for pretty much the same reasons. He's cool as ever and still so solid, and he's become a workholic! Which is not much of a surprise to me, because when he is cornered and isolated, he insulates himself with a thick blanket of work and seals himself in a world entirely his own... and that is his answer to the world.

As usual, he gave a good report of the ways he has taken, the roads (railroads, rather) he has travelled, and the feathers he has added to his burgeoning cap of achievements. He has travelled a lot, grown sick of the ac carriage in the trains, and he still enjoys work, a quality that has made him perhaps the first non-Gujarati to hold the chief supervisor role in the MD Internals in his Medical College. Among other things he recounted why he considers it best to stay back home in good old India:
  • The University which is supporting my studies is a Gujarati university. It is supporting my studies for a mere Rs 1000/- per annum in tuition fee.
  • The two bright guys that I know of... and all the rest of them brilliant guys as well... are all to be found somewhere just around here. They are all here in India.
  • Most of the doctors who get to the US... stay there out of compulsion, and most do it unwillingly. Once inside their system (which requires 7 years training to even hold a post in a hospital), you're done for. If you choose to return to India with a fancy specialisation such as postoperative clinical psychiatry, you're either dead or going to sell syringes in the market.
  • I don't want to miss those little things I shall never find elsewhere. I am not motivated by money.
Pretty much the same reasons, and for this fell guy, they are convincing enough for him (and convincing for me). When this fellow is around, I suddenly feel that being shy and timid is worthwhile because this guy, who didn't even know a bit of Hindi to start with, ran along to Gujarat to face it off with the Hindiwallahs... and succeeded. He proved by his example that being conventional has its own place in the scheme of things.

His mother was beside herself with joy when she saw me... after probably six years. The train took its own time, intent on teaching the 1000-odd passengers a thing or two. It sure showed them all who's boss, and where things stood. And in the end, when she finally arrived, everyone was relieved to finally get going...

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