Is it unethical to take names and divulge details on a public forum? It is. But what the hell- I can write what I want here right? So here goes..
The first time I saw E- now Dr. EP, it was outside the loo on the first day of med school when we were having the somewhat grandiosely named orientation session. Tall, lissome and undeniably beautiful, the real surprise came when she spoke- with classy English and great confidence.
It went without saying that most guys at some point or the other nursed a crush for her- it wasn't possible not to! And she did have her share of flings- who doesn't in college? Well most people don't actually, but that's besides the point.
We were friends- at one point good enough friends to go out for Shakespeare and stuff together. And because of some insufferably stupid and juvenile tiff, that went to hell.
She soon became one of the most hated people in class. Which is a little weird- because with great looks and sharp outspoken intelligence, you'd think that would have made her popular. But her personal life generated so much buzz- which was none of anybody's bloody business, but you know how college kids are- that somehow she was almost universally disliked.
How you may ask did such a diva become an example? She who after an idiotic tiff about some exam didn't give me a second look nor me her?
It was precisely because of that.
Not once did I see her wilt. In that quagmire of snide remarks, rude glances and almost total isolation from the class she stood tall and unashamed. Never once did she give any of the haters the satisfaction that they'd got to her- and she didn't change her lifestyle at all. She remained true to herself and unapologetic about her choices which is more than I could say for many other judgemental cribbing people that were.
She and I were the class valedictorians at our graduation and on the day, she was grace personified- talking with pride about a class that had rejected her for so very long- praising the very people that she surely must have felt nothing but contempt for. But not once did the mask slip, not even at the end.
It may sound a trivial reason to admire someone for. After all she hadn't discovered the cure for HIV or the common cold. It wasn't even related to medicine- just the fact that one needs to stand up for oneself and be who one is without thinking of what others may say. As for the so called moral police- oh yes, that's what most people are even if they aren't Pramod Muthalik- one only understands how idiotic and meaningless they are when one starts seeing someone. Then one realises that having a girlfriend is cool but doesn't define you and it definitely isn't the end of the world if you don't have one. And that it doesn't remotely have anything to do with who you inherently are as a person. Which sounds utterly simplistic and obvious, but I think somewhere, until you have that first date and stuff you never really understand it, despite the fact you're always pretending to do so and looking with disdain at the people who are together, airily claiming that 'I have no time for this crap and those who do are dumb and slutty'. Which is Bullshit. And although they would never admit it- Envy. With a capital E. And this sounds like the bad embarrassing confessions of a teenage drama queen- but most doctors, both men and women, atleast initially are just that.
The other guy is KD. Now his is a story so dramatic it would be fit to be featured in a lifetime special. He lost his father at a young age, lost his faith, descended into an incubus of smoking, terrible relatives, terrible company and profanity. But lightening struck and suddenly- just like that, he gave up smoking, concentrated on- what else- studies and has honestly blossomed into someone I honestly believe will be a great doctor. And I'm not using the word 'great' the way we use to praise food or a Sean Penn performance- in this case I actually mean it. And I've been fortunate to have been really good friends with him until weird circumstances increased the distance somewhat, but even now he's the picture of joie de vivre. It isn't the story of rags to riches- it's better- the story of picking oneself up and getting the best out of oneself that's so admirable. Even more so because I actually saw him do it.
Well- medical school is long over. The last webs of memory...Bah- that's stupid pretentious language and I won't complete that sentence! But there's a yearbook where all my classmates now live and each one has a particular story, a memory attached. But it is these two that even today I miss. That even today I wish things had ended differently with. It is these two who I think I'll always in a way look up to. Because life's hard as it is. And they've shown me that you can't be- shouldn't be- weak.
And its those two- those two above all else that I wish would someday read this blog.