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Twin islands

Ravi kant Verma Jun 12, 20173 Responses
Green and I had been friends since school. Writing our class XII exams that year, we had stumbled across each other, one day at class. We looked similar. Similar, in the most physical sense. Internally there were different stories. He always wanted to be a doctor. I had somehow managed to scrape off biology from the list of subjects and ended up in computer science!! Let’s proceed.
It had been a long time since both of us had met. Lots of things had happened. I had completed my majors and he went to medical school. I finished my first job and he went to medical school. I had turned my life upside down, shuffled it back and forth, flayed it forward and across, and he went to medical school. Now, after 3 years, I was still unsure of the proceedings and he was still going to medical school. I always wondered how it would be. Having only had a handful of experiences with doctors and hospitals, I was always curious. Cruising through business school, I was way too ignorant to react or respond to an education which was more than, what I had gone through to get it. Green was in love with medicine or at-least the life that revolved around it. He learned about the human body, the root to all causes. He literally went to the nucleus and back.
It was an opportune Friday. I needed to be in the city for a laptop repair and as he was enjoying a few days off from his gruesome studies, we decided to meet. At 4 PM I saw him walking towards me from the INA metro station. We shook hands and cursed each other to remember that we were still friends. I showed him the ticket I had just bought for Delhi Haat and from what it seemed, the ticket counter now used a retail bill generator where ‘2 adults’ was under the header of Item name and Item quantity.
‘We are just statistics’, I said.
‘We are flesh and blood too’, he said
Descending into the chairs at the Sikkimese stall, we ordered food and I took my new laptop out.
‘Are you going to start writing, right now”? , he stared straight into me.
‘No, I just wanted to check out the repair work’, I replied without looking at him, shrugging off the dry sarcasm in his voice.
‘So, how is it going on’? I asked.
‘I am preparing for my masters, awaiting results for the entrance exam’.
I instantly wafted into the yesteryears, the days of competition. Them days, when competition was defined. You needed to be better than a group of individuals in a certain few subjects. The boundaries were given. Another great adventure! When he told me what it took out of him, I was filled with uneasiness. He had been studying for the past 8 months, 15 hours a day. The competition on that side of the sea was medieval. It was fierce. Clubs and spears! The last of the Mohicans in the background! Far from anything I had imagined. People worked for 2-3 years, only to prepare for the exam. He was still in his first. It was unsettling at times. I thought about the day I told my dad that biology won’t have the best of me and switched to the other side. It was life altering and paved irregular ways which were broken at pieces with vast wastelands at the end. His tunnel was straight. It was lined and shielded from the sunlight, but it was long. A pipeline from Iran!
‘Sometimes, it just becomes routine, I am well past that barrier where the mind drifts off to have unstructured time, I dream about the life I am going to have after all this is over. By the age of 35 I am going to be a millionaire’
‘The plan is similar, the ways are different’, I chimed in, ‘but won’t that simply take years out of your life’, I tried to find loopholes.
‘No man, it still is not enough. I need to do more’, I was taken aback by his statement.
What I knew of life was, a picture, where you stun, an audience, readers, admirers, by your thoughts. The plan was in place. Entry and exit points defined. Inside, it was a city as polluted and confused as Delhi. The walled city, crumbing, then hanging on, by promises of re-establishment.
‘It becomes very monotonous at times; downright irritating to some level, but it’s alright. I am going to take everything back’, he said while sipping his noodles, ‘whatever it has taken away from me, the days which have gone by, and I am going to reclaim them with shitloads of money’.
‘Is that the only motivation? Money?’
‘Half the time’, His eyes sparkled. ’The other half I do for the life I am going to pursue’.
I was trained for such situations. Money! Being at the core of somebody’s dreams! This kid needed some preaching. I buckled up for loss of stability in the conversation. Like a well-trained parrot, I crossed my barrier, ventured into the wasteland and gave way to what is known as the preacher’s curse.
‘But doesn’t that defeat the whole point, this money of yours. Doesn’t it just take away, the smaller joys. I would love to be rich but not at such an expense. The process is equally important. One of my interviewers at the B-school asked me if I would sell drugs because it would give me tremendous amount of money. I for then had answered in negative, though it is a very meaty proposition, the way it is shown on television, but then we have to draw a line somewhere’. I was rambling and in due time failed to realize that I was losing the plot.
‘Who said, we don’t like the processes?’, he questioned me.
‘Well yes, you do what you study. Unlike us MBAs, who for most part of our lives do not have an idea about the exact pinpoint, of what we want to do and to how to use our education to it’. I dragged on.
‘That should be your preparation. However, on the way, you indulge, mostly unlike us. Drugs, sex, rock n roll’. Now he was rambling. I saw his head tilted upwards, scanning the evening sky and swarm of people, with dreamy eyes. I let out a small laugh. It was incoherent for him.
He gazed back and then hit me with a cold piece of information.
‘When I say, I enjoy it; there goes vast amounts of work just to be able to enjoy it. Surgeons study for nearly 20 hours before going into a surgery. There are conferences which a bachelor’s holder needs to attend in order to avoid losing his degree. But the destination is worth the journey. When you hold a scalpel for the first time over a live human being! Gives a strange high. The first incision is the best. Blood spurts out and we have to use a special surgical knife that burns the proteins at the sides to assist coagulation. So much so that we can operate. The smell of burned flesh hits your nostrils and it is nothing short of an aroma’.
I thought of all the perfumes in the world, the smell of weed, constant smoking which leads to a decreased smelling prowess. I thought of a downtown Paris hospital, a bunch of doctors getting high over burnt flesh and numerous shops in Grasse, France being put to shame by it.
He was not done.
‘The top of the fingers of acutely diabetic patients blackens because of less blood flow. Sometimes you need to scrape it off using special surgical files. Scrape and scrape, until red flesh appears underneath. That image gets stuck in your head and you sometimes reminisce about it.’ His demeanor was perfectly calm and though I was slightly perturbed, I was further more intrigued.
‘I am telling you, these are visceral sights’, he sat back.
I felt a rush. Everything seemed so small. Drowned voices. I thought about our time at the leprosy home, as schoolkids on a field trip. Seeing amputated fingers. That was the closest, I had been to red flesh, sewed up by nature.
Collecting my self-being up, I shot back.
‘Human beings are strange. You might get used to it. We can get used to anything. Even something as primitive as this’.
‘I’ll ensure that my preparation never lets me run out of options’. He stretched his arms.
‘Are all doctors, psychopaths’? I urged on, ‘Seeing them in conferences and clinics, suited and suave, we never think of the things you just told me about’.
‘Every high achiever is a psychopath. Every world leader is psychopath. But we doctors are something more than that’.
‘What is that?’ I asked instantly.
‘I’ll tell you later. We must leave’. He scanned the diminishing light in the background. The shops had artificial lights on, signaling the end of, another day as usual.
We walked towards the metro station. It was only a few paces from the haat. My mind was producing kaleidoscopic thoughts and we chatted up till the entrance. Rubbing our palms together, we acknowledged the onset of winter. It was a polite conversation about weather. Nothing to worry about.
Green had to de-board the metro at Green Park. Naturally. I had to go on furthermore. His station arrived and we shook hands. The door opened and we said goodbye. I was still thinking about, what he had told me during the day, my back to the door. I suddenly remembered something and wheeled back.
‘Hey, what else are you doctors, other than psychopaths’? I shouted through the open metro door.
He smiled.
‘We are master manipulators too’.
The door closed.
  • Varun
    Varun Chawla

    It is a very interesting read.

  • priyadarshini.g96709866001469649092
    Priyadarshini Ghosh

    So relatable, so forthright, so straight-forward, so realistic! An interesting read! 

  • Iti-Bhadani
    Iti Bhadani

    Hey! The plot is very interesting. Never imagined this side of the profession. Please keep writing.