I think it’s pertinent to mention that I’m not a doctor, just a dentist. Those outside of the health care industry may wonder what the big deal is, but ask a doctor, someone who has actually done MBBS, they’ll tell you we are all a bunch of dimwits who weren’t smart enough to become real doctors. Or better yet, ask a General Medicine Professor, they’ll tell you we aren’t even worth teaching – but they’ll still go into a fit when their neglected (or dimwitted) students collectively flunk the send-ups.
But before we delve into who is and isn’t a doctor, as they’re many who charge a premium fees for a checkup but lack the basic chair side manner and decency to be classified as human beings, much less doctors – let’s talk about that first day of dental school.
My college was the size of a matchbox – you could stand in the centre of the courtyard and see all the buildings, closing in on an excuse of an outdoor cafeteria which was used as a makeshift parking lot – but only for the professors (or the students which had been flunking for a consecutive peiord of five years – more on that later).
The first day was interesting to say the least – we put on our lab coats as though they were bejewelled crowns that would make us invincible, held our hands high and promised to be the best amongst mankind – and resorted to objectionable behaviour once we were out of the auditorium. We were eager to run into our cramped dimly lit classes with carpeting that desperately needed to be replaced but were interrupted by seniors who were ravenous to rag the incoming class.
I tried to lie my way out of being ragged by saying I was a second year student, only to find out the person addressing me was from the second year class herself. So I ended up on the second floor balcony, singing an old Indian song I barely knew the lyrics to as a throng of 50 or so seniors cheered me on from the central courtyard. Half an hour later, I found myself standing back to back with another harassed first year student, singing a newer Bollywood song. That day felt like an education in Indian song and cinema.
When I thought the worst was over, one particularly mischievous lot of seniors convinced a poor class fellow of mine to propose to me as a dare, it was thoroughly embarrassing, however I can’t ascertain who it was more embarrassing for, me or him. He was perched on his knee, as I looked on in horror, and as another hundred people looked on in the pure delight of being entertained on behalf of someone else’s misfortune.
What sucks is, that was the first and only time I have been proposed to by someone who got down on one knee – and this story doesn’t lead to a dramatic romance between the class fellow who proposed to me and myself. The incident was so thoroughly embarrassing that we barely spoke to each other for the next four years. We were once asked to do a presentation together and that was horrifying enough an experience. Would we have become friends if he hadn’t proposed to me on a dare on the first day of dental school? Probably not, since he was quite problematic and not in the good way.
So that is how the journey of four years of college and another year of house job began. In a way I’m glad the first day was what it was – I wasn’t left with much dignity to protect and that was for the best considering what was to come in the future.