Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Practice.

Fresh out of medical college, Ayush was raring to plunge into clinical practice. He had been cautioned by seasoned veterans that his enthusiasm was ephemeral and soon he would be exposed to the murky side of medicine in the country. But like any determined youngster, he was unfazed by naysayers and was eager to begin the journey of service, self discovery and a lifetime of learning.  He chose to engage in a rural internship even though it would have been easy for him to work in the city.

It was a nondescript village perched at the foothills of the Himagiri, nestled in the lap of Mother Nature. The village was an oasis of tranquility with meditative cows, birds chirping merrily and sparkling streams that gleamed with thriving sustenance. But despite its sylvian appeal and relative placidity, the village was largely neglected due to poverty, unemployment, illiteracy coupled with lack of basid facilities. The villagers had accepted their fate and trudged on with the few privileges bestowed upon them.

After an 8hour journey from Bangalore, Ayush emerged from the local bus at the crack of dawn and surveyed the valley of mist. He stood at the makeshift bus stand grasping the scenery surrounding him. Enveloped by lush green canopies and enriched by melodies from a distant songbird heralding the arrival of a new day, the village was a utopic dream in his eyes.

With some help from the villagers, he located the quarters designated to him for his year long stint in the village. He had been prepared for the worst, so in that sense he was relieved by the comforts accorded to him. It was a small room atop the local municipal office, furnished with a small stove, wash and a fan to compensate for the asbestos roofing. A straw mat was his bed and the large verandah offered a breathtaking view of the hill ranges beyond the village.

As he started to unpack and set up the household, he thought about the hurdles he had to cross to begin this life of simplicity. Coming from a fairly well-to-do household, his family members were at their wits' end as to why he chose to lead an ascetic life but they knew he couldn't be coaxed or cajoled to remain in Bangalore so they only hoped that he would come back soon, realising the impracticality of his decision.

He wasn't able to pinpoint the reason for his firm stance on the matter but he suspected that it had something to do with his upbringing. He led a sheltered life, cocooned from inequalities and unexposed to the realities of life. During his 4 years as a medico, his worldly views began to slowly but surely change. He developed a deep desire to contribute towards society, to lead a simple life and he also began to appreciate the value of life and the necessity to lead a principled life.

Ayush looked around the room and smiled at his handiwork. It had everything that he needed and nothing more. He sat down on the porch to observe the setting sun with restful contentment.

The next day he was briefed about his duties at the primary health centre. The centre was true to its name, primitive, primary and unequiped. But patients were aplenty, doctors were insufficient and nurses were few and far from trained to handle the cases.
Over the next few weeks, he began to settle down into a routine that began with an early morning walk, cooking his own meals, the major portion of the day in the hospital and twilight in the privacy of his verandah watching the starlit sky studded with the moon.

On one such early morning stroll, he glimpsed a face amidst the bushes, supposedly scouring for leaves and flowers. It was a face that did not belong to this village. It was a face that shone with radiance in the semidarkness, a face that reflected serenity and placid confidence. It was also the face that regularly reappeared in his dreams but never glimpsed again in daylight.

(To Be Continued at: )