16 June 2010
An Important Question
I remember in school one of the most important & dreaded questions that your wise teachers threw at you was:
“What is your aim in life?”
At the time, I was completely clueless about the answer.
The other ‘brainy’ students of my class never failed to amaze me. They always knew they either wanted to cut or build; be a doctor or an engineer. How smart, I thought. Why was I not sure of what I wanted to do AFTER I GREW UP? [What is that? Like you weren’t growing then!?]
‘Engineer’ was associated with being a math geek & since I have always had an unmatched record of “just pass” in math, I knew better than to go for ‘engineer’ as an answer for this life defining question.
I liked & scored well in biology. I had also cut up a few mice in my class 11 & 12 science lab. Slicing human flesh shouldn’t be that hard, I reasoned. After all, they train you to do that for four long years. I assumed I could be a doctor.
All the wannabe docs (short for doctor) & engines (?!? What’s the short for engineer?) sounded intelligent. I didn’t want to come across too stupid. It was, like my life depended on the right answer to this question. Being used to objective type questions & multiple answers, you learn to choose the best amongst the worst! Since “doctor” was the most popular choice, I thought that would be the ‘correct’ answer.
Whenever anybody asked me THE question, I always said, with great humility in my voice, ‘I want to be a doctor & serve the society’. If people prodded further, I would also add the heavy-duty, well-rehearsed, emotion drenched line: “I want to serve poor people & treat poor patients for free”.
Elders believed my words. They had faith in me!