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I couldn’t follow my love of literature as a young student, and took up medicine as I was expected to. But now, after so many years, I am doing it.
I grew up in a family that valued education and stressed that we be very serious about our school, classes, and later our career. I studied very hard for my 12th grade because I aspired to become a doctor, and needed marks above 90% to get admission in a government medical college.
There were a few private institutes but my father had told me that he could not afford private education; which was true, and if I wished to go into Medicine, I better study.
I was also very much into reading fiction and all types of books. English literature was my favourite subject. All my extended family knew about my love for literature.
When the marks for 12th came, they were above 90%, and the merit list for medical colleges was yet to come. The Dental admissions would fill up first and so I secured my Dental admission, and waited for the medical merit list.
On one of those days, when I was sitting with my father, mother, and my aunts and uncles, I just had a thought and said, “I like literature also, why not think about going for a BA and an MA in English?”
Everyone thought that I was out of my mind to even think of giving up a seat in the Medical college; I realized this from their expressions of horror. So I very dutifully took admission in a Medical college when the merit list was displayed.
I think that if the curriculum in India would allow students to take up a minor subject from other stream, I would have chosen English Literature; but unfortunately, it is not so.
In Medical college, I got busy with my curriculum and English literature took a back seat. I finished my post graduation in Ophthalmology and practised for another 20 years.
My daughter has now grown up and left for university, and I have some time at hand. There was that question doing the rounds in my head about what I should do with my evening time.
I could start an evening clinic and be completely immersed in practice both morning and evening. But now was the time to listen to my heart and I did just that. We have a limited life and just as limited hours in a day. I decided to write for 4 hours everyday. I got involved in reading, writing, and literature with absolutely no regrets about my choice, while continuing my morning practice.
That, I can say has been one of my most unapologetic decisions.
Image source: shutterstock
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