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Here I am, sitting at a nook in the bus terminal with three days to Deepavali. The notion of celebration rings loud in the air. Sometimes, I can’t help but get tricked into believing that maybe I too, would be going back to a family preparing for the big day, new sarees, new shoes, new clothes and most anticipated of all, meeting my grandmas.
I’ve gotten my subway fix for dinner after braving through a 15 minutes queue. I’ve copped myself a seat in a table surrounded by strangers. I seem to not have even the most fleeting care. I unwrap my sub and watch the chicken crookedly arranged between the two layers of my sandwich, what little sauce I opted for flowing down the corners.
I gracefully wrap the papers around my sub and reach for YouTube to keep myself entertained. First thing to pop up my recommendation page; Petronas’ Deepavali ad. I see no harm in watching that while I kill time so I click it to pay.
The video commences, something about a boy with flashbacks to his childhood. Not bad. Mum comes into the frame. Okayyyyy. Then suddenly I hear the word. It doesn’t get interpreted fast enough in my brain. I continue watching but I can’t really seem to swallow the chunk of food in my mouth anymore. It gets stored into the reservoir that is my left cheek. I force my canines through it and difficultly push it down my pipe.
I hear the word again.
Or was it ammachi?
I know what’s coming. I push it back down. I force the sub into my mouth. I forcefully carry out the cycle of chewing and chewing but I can’t swallow anymore. A stifle escapes my nose. It’s runny. Fluid collects at my lower eyelid. I know a cry is about to follow.
How long has it been since I got to call someone ammachi and actually mean it? How long has it been since I’ve lost the privilege? I’ve lost all meaning to life following my grandma’s death and things are only getting harder. They say grief is temporary but how long is temporary? Will I ever get over this pain?
Or will I live without colours hereon?
I miss you ammachi and amma. I miss the early Deepavali morning of getting oiled up by your hands. I miss anticipating the second day trip to your house. I miss your murukkus. And above all, I miss you smell and hugs. Please come back. 😭
This is definitely a post of my journey for the past 5 years compressed into this single-laconic-space. I haven’t even started and I’m doubting the plausibility of this attempt but here goes.
Too much of books. Too much of micro-molecules and sentences trying to describe the Father of Medicine and balamuthia Mandrillaris. Don’t ask- that’s the only microbiology I can try to remember five years later. I failed my pharmacology and until now, just the mere word stings.
Oh finally! The medicine I signed up for. But every module was compacted into such a short time I was having trouble keeping up. It’s true what they say, medicine isn’t an easy field. It will stretch you to your limits, challenges the tendrils of doubt kept at bay within the corners of your mind. Second year was a bundle of topics swathed in ‘pretty in pink’ wrapping paper sprinkled with a ‘little bit of glitter’.
Its like someone wrapped you in a saco de arroz, hit you unconscious and shoved you into an unfamiliar world. We were introduced into the clinical world where you actually meet real people and try to learn their illness. This was the time I held on tight to the tails of my seniors, followed them into late night on calls to learn the art of history taking. I still remember when they asked me what was the sign in acute cholecystitis and I vehemently answered “McBurney’s” only to earn myself multiple stares and a corrected answer of “Murphy’s” sign. I recall going home so embarrassed for not knowing the most simplest thing in surgical rotation. I’ve come a long way since.
Okay seniors have taken their leave. I’m all solus. I remember touring around Penang with my bother and a friend when the list for fourth year was released and my intestines settled into a somersault party. I started with (in order) ObGyn, Paeds, Psychiatry and Community Health. It was at the start of this year the seriousness all of this finally hit me. I was going to graduate in two more years and there is no space for jokes. All praise to the Gods, I survived wounded but unscathed, stronger, like a welded metal; bent but still resilient. Had the time of my life in India (I made a daily posts on my adventures, check it out!) and came rejuvenated for the final leg of med school; final year.
Until my maternal grandmother passed away.
Fifth Year (hang on this part is going to be long!)
I can’t recall when the list names came out. All I knew is that I don’t have my usual friends in the same postings. I was alone and would have to adapt to other friends that I’m not used to, whose studying habits I was completely oblivious to. You see, I’m not smart, I admit. Nevertheless, I’m giving myself credit for being hardworking. I work hard. I sacrifice the late night outs and the house parties. I study the habits and characteristics of people who have established intelligence. I watch them and I emulate my own system. I don’t bargain with sleep. I agree with the famous phrase that “you don’t sleep until you succeed”. Yes, without sleep, you won’t be able to focus, you might forget everything that you study, you won’t be able to stay on track. Different people are tailored differently; I’ve been trained to sacrifice sleep. I work on deprivation. All my life my mother has said, “while others sleep, that’s when you work, that’s how you get far”. I have this tattooed to my brain since I was 15.
I passed all my postings undoubtedly. In medicine, nothing is ever predictable. You can be on top one time and in another time, you might be falling through the floor. Sometimes, as you complete your end of posting exams, you are left dubious whether or not you’ll be able to get through it. In fifth year, I decided there was no room for doubts; I wanted to work for something I was sure of. I am forever blessed and indebted to all my friends in subgroups that were so helpful, problem-free that I didn’t have to lose my focus.
I lost both my grandmothers by November 2018 and you cannot begin to imagine how heartbroken I was that I wanted to quit everything. How much strength it took to put one feet before the other and walk to classes and stitch a smile on my face when all I wanted to do was break down. How I refrained from confiding in anyone because there simply was NO TIME for grief. I barely had time to go back for my paternal grandmother’s funeral. How I couldn’t cry or squeeze a tear out because I knew that if I did, my armour would fall through and I’d have to start back from square one. So imagine my situation when I was required to be someone else’s confidante. Imagine when I’m not even sure what I was lending a shoulder for, grief, depression or simply the thrill of falling in love? Naturally, I had to negotiate for my own space when I was dying of trying to survive paeds. That’s when someone I thought I can go back to whenever decided to choose-which means either I adjust to his/her requirement or I talk to him/her where the sun don’t shine. I got the latter. And I also learnt an important lesson my mother always said repeatedly but I failed to pay heed to- never trust anybody. Family is all you get.
I marched on despite the heart break, a burning fuel within me to prove everyone wrong. I didn’t know what I was working towards to prove, but I was going to do it nonetheless. I continued to study day and night like a mad cow. I faltered one too many times but somehow made it towards the finish line- only to find myself at another starting point with a time bomb ticking in my head to few months expiration date. I thought I had a reliable study group to revise topics made up of five of us. One of them I was sure was going to leave at some point so I didn’t even bother to hope much. The other two decided to take their leave too, probably because they found the study group ineffective and grew arid as we struggled to meet each other’s demands and availability. Well, that got me mired, I was left destitute and driven to desperate choices to continue with the battle. There were two of us left languished and it wasn’t enough manpower to have a holistic coverage of the topics. As if that problem did not suffice, you really can’t put both of us in the same room. We had the shortest fuses in our heads, we snap and we do not tolerate. But I figured, I have to compromise in order for this dysfunctional system to actually work. We went to hospitals almost everyday, we discorded on meagre things especially when our techniques were mismatched. Instead of correcting each other and deciding on a standard method, we were trying to prove one another right, not wanting to compromise to criticism. I just had to keep to my faith, pray very hard and just agree to disagree. Both of us were not wrong, but we were definitely not right either but what can we do when personalities clash? Not a good type of synergism but we made it happen and I’m thankful for that. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I had an episode of infected sebaceous cyst which needed, initially, an I&D but turned out to be difficult so my surgeon decided to do an excision without an LA. Trust me, it’s terrible. I had no one to hold on to but I had to soldier through. They only decided to give me LA once I told them I couldn’t. Now I have a reason to tell my patients to be brave when going through an OP because I know how it feels to go under the knife, literally.
With a 4-week expiration stamped to our foreheads, everybody decided to leave for home, spend time with family, to have good food whilst studying in a controlled but peaceful environment. I, on the other hand, stayed back in college and spent most of my nights at the seven-floor building. Most of the time, I was studying in fear because a) someone might appear out of nowhere and rape me and b) the anatomy lab was two floors right below probably with cut up cadavers. I was always looking behind my back and to my benefit, the fear turned out to be useful as it helped me combat sleep. I was lucky that for the first two weeks, the vet students were at the ground floor studying like mad cows themselves for their final exam. Two weeks later, they all passed with ease and their name decorated with a ‘dr’ prefix. I had to spend certain nights alone and made sure to go back by 12am until some junior boys started spending their time there and they too soon disappeared. Suren started appearing towards the end and for that, I am forever grateful. I used to bug him to inform me when he leaves so I too can leave once there is no one there. It was terrible staying alone at the seven-floor building, I could hear the sough of the breeze dancing below the leaves, rustling it as it passed, the barking of a pack of dogs more than often put on a disgusting show of copulating middle of the street and catching shadows passing by the corners of my eyes, not knowing if it really was a person or something else.
Before I knew it, we soon arrived at the day before exam. I really can’t recall anything significant on this day except for being inherently scared with my heart beating in my throat and trying to cram everything into my head even though that’s nearly impossible.
DAY 1: MEQ
Since I was so scared and yet to adapt to exam environment, I realised I went blank during the first medical based paper. Couldn’t come up with anything suggestive of TB despite clear cut clue of a child with chronic cough, fever and shotty lymph nodes. The rest, I somehow managed. Managed to surprise myself by remembering about acetabular fracture which I read one month ago.
DAY 2: SBAQ
I think I did well only to find out multiple careless mistakes done because I was too hasty. Didn’t spend much time mulling over this matter because I had OSCE to prepare for the next day.
DAY 3: OSCE
Oh god, have mercy on those who marked my answers for the written stations. And may the lord have mercy on Dr. Haikal for putting up with my bullshit in the hepatitis station.
Patient: what is the normal level of albumin?
Me:*fts* urm around 80 (??)
Patient: what is the normal level of AST, ALT, ALP?
Me: *I’m so screwed* urm roughly within the range of 100-200(??)
I look at Dr. Haikal scratching his head.
Or perhaps the ophthal station.
*checks visual acuity*
Patient :unable to read the biggest letter on the Snellen’s chart.
Me: power 60/60!
Also me: panics but doesn’t bother to correct and gave up entirely in that station.
I don’t know how am I going to live the rest of my life carrying the weight of these mistakes.
Four days later, the list for clinical exam schedule was released and truth be said, I was so confident that I would at least be the second day if not the third, because that’s how it has always been. So imagine my fear when I see my name on the first day for short case and long case for the second day. Partly glad to be able to finish exams early but partly worried because I definitely won’t be able to go through every single main topics.
Day 1: Short case.
Again, due to uncontrollable panic, I was unable to compose myself, found myself to be tongue-tied and unable to present my findings eloquently. I quickly picked myself up in the next short case. And for the third, I “intelligently” examine for hepatospleenomegaly before realising that the mass was dancing under my hands as I tried to ballot. Definitely kidney. Then, it all clicked in my head. AV fistula, ballotable mass, Dr Fadh as the examiner. How could I be so stupid? I remember having done with all three of my short cases and walking out as I repeatedly screamed in my head , “I could have done better. I know I can. I know!” . Unfortunately for me, I only get one chance, just like everything in life. Just one chance to make it right.
I told myself that there was no use dwelling about my mistakes in short case. I. Need. To. Focus. For. My. Long. Case.
And so I did. I stretched my limits that night and prepared to the maximum of my capabilities.
Day 2: Long case.
Scared out of my damn wits obviously. I couldn’t control my fear. I hugged Shariny who was equally as nervous, if not more. I followed the personnel to the room my patient was waiting. I sent a silent prayer to God and my grandparents. Help me.
I enter the Stream 4 Long Case room and saw a serene middle aged man lying comfortably supine on the bed. The personnel got my timer started and I introduced myself and started to build rapport.
Me: sir can I know what is the reason you are here for?
Patient: I had cancer near my ‘rectum’.
I smiled. And the rest was history.
I continuously went to the temple every single day to beg for mercy, blessing and peace while my weak heart awaited results it wasn’t so sure of. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be sure in the end. I think that tells a lot about the Professional exams. Unpredictable. 50% luck. The remaining percentage a concoction of effort, perseverance and persistence.
How do I even begin to describe that day? It was just nerves and palpitations. I started my day with a morning visit to the temple with friends. I came back only to find myself to have lost my appetite for food and water. There was a frog taking shelter in my throat that I cannot get rid of. I lay on the bed,trying to ease into a sleep but to no avail. I toss and turn and burn a hole through my bed trying to do that. Somehow, time arrived at 9.00am.
I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. I wanted to leave my room at the latest possible time, 9.55am perhaps. I had multiple runs to the toilet for my psychogenic bowel movement. On my last run, my housemates started getting ready to leave the room. I looked at my watch and it was merely 9.30am. What is wrong with these people? One of my friends managed to coax me into walking with them so I found myself dragging my foot one in front of the other to the DKU hall. I reach early and I see one by one of my friends ease their way into the hall and find a spot cosy enough to settle down with the nerves. Alin sees herself seated beside me. And throughout the whole afternoon all she was saying is, “Moksha imagine them calling out your name as distinction for certain posting” and she persistently said it despite my futile efforts of trying to stop her. It was making me more nervous. I didn’t want to get my hopes high. I didn’t want disappointment. I wanted to expect results suited to my quality of performance. All I wanted was a pass.
It finally begin.
I don’t remember the rest of the event leading up to the calling of our names individually. My hands were clammy and cold. My heart thumping so fast I could hear it. My legs restless I couldn’t stop the shaking. Sweat dropping to its death at the small of my back. The dean emerged to the stage and understandingly went straight to the announcement of names. Three people later I realised the list is alphabetically ordered. I patiently waited with my heart about to jump out of my rib cage.
When the dean got to my name, he stammered, hesitated and I knew it was my name. Complicated and long. But he found his way through.
Mokshashri Naidu A/P Ragubathi.
All the tension that has been building up finally collapsed like the Great Wall of China collapsing on itself into a pile of rubble at my feet. I fished out my phone from my pocket and immediately texted my family. I have finally obtained the prefix ‘Dr’ in front of my name. No scratch that. I have finally earned the qualification to save lifes. What a wonderful feeling that is? Enigmatic. The dean finally came to the end of the list. Dr Isy then made his way to the podium, congratulated all of us despite success or failure and proceeded to say that he was going to announce the top 10 students.
I remember hearing the people around me saying my name, taunting me to be excited. I mastered all the strength that I could, blocked those noises out and screamed repeatedly in my head that I am not worthy of such honor. I did not perform to that standards. Therefore, I must not have my hopes high lest I find myself disappointed. I am happy with what I have and – “Okay I will announce the names; first student’s name…”- I do not deserve it. We must only hope for how much we work for – “you know what I’ll just present the faces on the screen”- I must never be greedy despite what others tell. I know my limits and I will be thankful for what I get-
The faces of the top 10 student flashed on the big screen in front of us.
I see a familiar face. A young, chubby and innocent me.
I screamed (50 dB).
I looked closer. That can’t be me. Straightened hair. Dark skin from all that sun exposure I didn’t bother to lather sunblock for. My friends started shouting at me, holding my hands and shaking me inordinately.
It finally dawned on me. I did make it into that list. That is me.
Second scream (80dB).
I felt all the blood drain out of me. I lost strength. I buried my face in my lap and felt the strength of a sob push through my chest. And I started crying. My hands shaking. We were called in front to the stage to represent the batch for the Hippocratic oath-taking. I don’t remember what I said but I meant every word.
My mind wanders to my first ever interview for the intake of my batch. I remember saying that I will adhere to the Hippocratic oath and swear by it if I was given the chance. Here I am, finally swearing by the oath!
I gave my mum a call, unable to hide the sob. My mum started getting worried.
Mum: why?!?! What’s the matter?!?! Did you fail?!
Mum: Whattttt?! Can you stop crying and –
Me: I got into the top 10 list…
Mum: What? Top 10…?
Me: YES TOP 10!
Mum: who else of your friends?
My mum and I, we always thought if I can do it, my friends could do ten-fold better.
Me: no one else. I’m the only.
We continued crying with and to each other before I had to end the call and carry on with the congratulations and goodbyes that were about to follow.
I think you can guess what came next: packing of bags, cleaning my room, thinking I wouldn’t be seeing my college ever again only to find out I’ll be returning for the next 6 months of work. But so far, I’m trying to live my best life and do everything I have thought to do i.e. red hair, nail extensions and yada yada. You get the gist. I’m taking one step at a time, spending time with my parents, completing Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time and just reading and writing my heart out. I’m just twiddling my thumbs athirst for the string of events of rewards and ceremonies, not to celebrate my success, but to see my parents smile with pride. You’ve done half the deed as a child if you can give one moment to your parents to boast with their boon companions. After 10 years, I finally gave that to my parents. And I cannot wait to watch them applaud for my success because it is mainly their success in parenthood to have raised such a child.
So friends, juniors, anybody at all, fret not if you’re not intelligent enough, not the creme of the cream. Just put in the effort and watch it work. Even if you break a multiple time, or had someone break you, take the two ends of your sanity and slap on an imaginary Ilizarov. Let the distraction osteogenesis do the work. Remember, work when everybody is sleeping.
My heartfelt gratitude to UPM for being the reason I am this person, my lecturers for shaping me into a doctor, friends who have helped with genuine hearts and my parents and family for being my strength when I had none.
Taking a short interval to be back from my social media abstinence and drop by here just to, you know, smother a big fat hello on this page. I’ve missed being able to write. But anyways, good news came knocking right up my door.
It really feels ecstatic to see your name in print. It’s more like an addiction really. I never get tired of it. And every damn time, the same emotions swallow me and I really don’t mind feeling that way. I’ve got a couple more weeks of abstinence. Wait for me, I might release a damn book once I’m done with my undergraduate school.
Just yesterday I caught a rainbow on camera. It gave me a whiff of the past. About two years (or was it three years?) back, I was in a similar frame of time. Chasing after a pass in the previous Professional exams. I had company to get food with and to return to the room with. In some parallel time, as we were getting our take-away food back to the room, we stumbled upon a rainbow. Or was it a double rainbow? I can’t really recall I’m going on here based on long-term memories so forgive me for the lack of details.
I’m a firm believer of things like “oh this happened twice, it must mean something”. I know it’s stupid but that’s how I work. So this rainbow brings me back to that moment. That raw feeling of fear and claustrophobia feeling like the walls were closing in on me from the pressure of all I’ve had to study/cover.
Today, a surgeon went through all the topics we’ve had to cover for the current exit exam and agreed that we’ve got quite a boulder on our backs. It will be hard and there’s no denial. I’m nearing my final rotation exams and making the transition from comfortable studying to express functional, no-space-for-joking studying. I’m starting to get the whiff of fear I once had. The whiff of stress that sends my insides into a frenzy of palpitation and imaginary volvulus. I’m counting my blessing of all the people who are willing to stand with me in this ordeal. But there are also those who I am cautious about who’d be able to disturb my focus in a snap of the fingers, typical Thanos fashion. My mental status and preparation is my armour and I would need to take care of it like the infant I never pushed out of my vagina. All necessary measures for my welfare need to be taken before I enter the battle (of Winterfell?).
So before the night walkers come, I need to prepare my Melisandre for the fire, my own army of Unsullied and build my mental strength to be a reflection of Arya Stark. For my biggest battle will be with the Cersei that takes the form of my exit exam.
Ciao ardent readers. I don’t want to piss anyone off writing about anything that isn’t about them, but because words are so ambiguous and labile for misinterpretation, I should stop using my emotions to write. See you after exams (which is in less that a couple months). Bali, Brindhavan and Kashmir awaits. 🌈
PS: check out my previous post dedicated to Lady Mormont and what happened to her in the fight with the Giant and how I related it to basal cell carcinoma as I was revising my surgical lumps and bumps while watching episode 3 of season 8 of game of thrones.
Basal cell carcinoma presents itself like a bush-fire appearance-wise. Radical or geographical spreading of its margins like a bush-fire. Starts fierce at the centre and spreads it’s ring of palisade-like margin to a slow-dying blurred demarcation.
That’s how she was. Hard and fierce like a basal cell carcinoma. Loud and demanding in what she wants. She made a point. She proposed a welcome. But you know what they say about people who over-stay their welcome; rude. This feels like a welcome thrown into oblivion. Ignored. Welcomes last only for so long. She was dictative, almost dogmatic. She was willing to negotiate her ego. She was in a catch-22 but she came up with a stipulation. But time, you see, is a bitch. It irons out the most palpable anger. It crushes out the strongest belief. It brings faith to atheists. It changes religion. Point being, it’s never the same.
Now, be careful. She getting used to it. She’s almost comfortable with not having. She’s okay with nothing. Time is being a kind acolyte. Perhaps one day, she’ll be convinced enough to agree.
She sat at the corner of the terrain. Calm by the company of a stranger that she found safety in. Time flowed like water in the creek, she lost track. It was too hard to hold on to time. It escalated to peaks and nothingness in venial. She sat herself in a constant trance buried in all the knowledge she was trying to remember. Trying to understand. The paucity of what remained retained scares her. But she does not let it hold her back. She sits and has her nose buried, as the world around her went on.
The wind picked up speed.
The stranger left.
The trees shook in unison and in agreement with the whispers of the wind.
She felt languished in a prison of uncomfortable solitude.
In a moment of scruple, she thought the situation twice over. And finally decided against staying. She decided, it was tiring indeed, to keep looking over her back for bad men sneaking up on her. Her cervical region crackled in pain to the acute twists of her mandible, bilaterally.
She took the familiar road down winding pathway. No matter how familiar it all felt, in that moment, she realized.
It’s possible to feel completely estranged blanketed in 5 years of familiarity.
For some reason, of all the previous birthdays that I’ve had, this one makes my intestines somersault. My heart settles into a stable tachycardia. My thinking a little haywire. 24 means a year of many milestones. Many achievement and with that comes high expectations to meet. Birth of new responsibilities to uphold. Transition into a life I’m not familiar with of all goes well with uni. My 23rd was nothing short of splendid and I would do it all again. I’m scared for 24 but my hands are open for all possibilities.
As I passed by a brightly lit fun fair at the outskirts of Mallaca town, food trucks hemmed the coast of a reclaimed land. Soft waves dance teasingly towards where our car passed by. I didn’t bother getting out of the car. I already know how it feels like. I still remember the waves of the beach the last time I went. The last time. When you were there.
You never went in the water. You only watched from afar. Inasmuch as you loved the water, memories of a 10 foot Tsunami have scarred you for life.
The fun fair was starting to come alive. Wrapped in colours so bright I had to question its existence since I’ve been so used with pale and nude colours lately. I saw the small area where bumpy cars were parked in a line. Hostile without its engine revved up. The very last ride I remember playing, one year ago. When we were celebrating the birth of a new year and the child within me cane to life at the thought of fun fair just a stone’s throw away from the house. Mum told me off for acting worse than my younger nieces and nephews especially when I was the eldest at the age of 22. You told mum off.
“Let her be”,you said. “She’s still our little baby”.
I was your first grandchild. I took after grandpa so much that everybody loved me. I was the smartest. I brought the most shame and the greatest pride to our family. You followed me to all my milestones. My first foundation. Oh, I still remember the food you cooked. You know how much I adore everything you bring to life in the kitchen. You loved how I called a common curry- ammachi’s curry. I named it after you for yours was the best I’ve ever tasted. Nothing ever tastes like that anymore.
You came to drop me off for my undergraduate study. You helped me tidy my dusty room. You bought me the balm I still use for headaches. I still keep it, I use it calculatively. I fear it runs out for it’s the only thing I have of you.
Besides the shirt and skirt you often wore, which lies beside my head everyday on my bed. Ever since the past 7 months. Ever since you left us.
I’m just simply reminded how nothing will ever be the same again. Beaches, fun fairs. You stole the colours that keep them alive, taking them with you as you left.
I just think that right at this point in my life, it only gets better and far more pleasant. If you take the previous two years of my life, it would sum up to right where I stand now. For as long as I’m able to recall, I (probably most of my friends too) have looked forward for this moment our whole lives. Mostly because 1) You just feel like princes/princesses for the day, 2) It signifies the (almost) end of the five year road.
For us, our medical school life started with Medic Night. It’s only right of we end it with Medic Night. Half of our First Year was spent practicing performing for our then final year seniors. But as we watch the next four years of senior take the throne and descend it (some fall off but they make it anyway), it final was our turn to take the throne. I’m probably blowing this whole deal out of proportion, but really, it wasn’t. I’ve romanticised the idea of showing up with an outfit I’d feel so comfortable and beguiling for as long as I’ve had the privilege of free time to think about it. But honestly, I only had my entire ensemble sorted out a mere three weeks away from the event.
Medic Night 2019: Med Gala. I’d like to remember the memories etched within the hem of this day, January the 12th 2019 for 10 years down the line, when I’m defeated by the burden of work and I sit with my head hanging at the reception of some ward in a hospital I cannot foresee, this memory will be a rejuvenating pill.
Startled to a wake that we were supposed to go for our first and final stage rehearsal of a dance we were showcasing as a fruition of few of my Indian friends coming together and relentlessly and willingly donate their ever busy time to choreography and the make of the dance itself over the past 1 month prior to today. We needed to have an idea of the magnitude of the stage to amend the degree of movement we’re allowed to make while still maintaining the coherence of the dance, not that we were synchronised in the first place. Believe it or not, we even went the extra mile to create a group costume for the girls and even practiced up to 0100 the night before. I don’t even know where that dedication come from but I can’t begin to describe how proud I felt of us collectively as a group. Even Marvin, the robot dancer who has limited rotational movement of the hips and stiffness of lower limbs (not kidding, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the sound of a rusty hinge every time he moved) made a huge leap of improvement 24 hours before performance. Rehearsals lasted for about 2 hours before we realized that it definitely was time to get ready. We grabbed lunch on the way and got back to our rooms around 1300.
I had to squeeze in a quick shower and throw on a zip down top as we were going to go out for our hairdo at some salon. And by we I mean my usual posse, Navs and Pishan. Hairdo took lesser time that I expected so I had more time than I wanted before our make up artist arrived to have our face beaten, in a good way.
Navs went first with the make up followed by me. Our make up was done by a fellow student who recently graduated (her instagram handle is @makeupbypucci) recommended by Jeeva, my other best friend who’s like really good in make up and the likes of it. All I had to do is show my outfit and try to describe to her the palate of colours I wanted painted on my face and she immediately went “yeah, I get what you mean, I can imagine it. Just sit back and relax”. I was tense at first but soon came to realise that this whole thing is out of my control and I laid back and put my 100% trust on her. Goddamnit sis, she did NOT disappoint. My nude/royalty make up finally came true and I was gobsmacked by how she made my face a canvas to the painting of the imagination in my head. My make up took forever and we were obviously late and we couldn’t help it so much more that navina was partially blind with the contacts in her eyes so she drove a little slower than she usually did. All for the sake of vanity, that I definitely have no regrets of. I’ll pin down the evidence right down below.
I finally understood why certain people are addicted to make up! I feel the tendency dawning on me but I’m wise enough to only allow myself to hide behind inches of powder and foundation for events that warrant such action. *chuckles in bullshit*
Alrighty so we were definitely late. We missed the parade into the hall. We missed a lot of things. But we still felt like princesses. An hour swished by taking photos and I realized time was so belligerent, challenging the insurmountable felicity of the day. I took too many photos with too many people (there was a 100 of us) and it was finally time to eat.
I’ve been starving all day to allow maximum food to accommodate maximum vacancy. My food was mounted on the plate. I had no tinge of diffidence.
Juniors kickstarted performance with the modern fused dance. I was so pleased and pleasantly surprised as they definitely had skills to begin with and most of their dance were to BTS songs. I means I’m no KPOP (okay maybe I am but I can’t bring myself to admit!) but I was once an ardent fan of BTS for like a year and then game of thrones took over so I forgot about them but Jimin and Jungkook make my heart flatline sometimes. Even the Dances of the Ethnics were all so nice I was bobbing shamelessly at my seat like I was in hot soup. I couldn’t sit still! If it was allowed, I would have personally run to the stage and joined them myself silly.
I spend so much time eating and forcing food down my pipe as I wanted to devour on just about anything I can put on my plate. I took time with the chewing and swallowing and before I could come to terms with it, we got the cue to get backstage and prepare for the moment we’ve been practicing over the last month. Our dance! We represent the entire batch in proving that we’ve still got that dance bone within us and it’s not going away anytime soon. We had to shrug out of our pretty ensemble and shimmy into our dance consumes which we had customized and tailored. Everything was so rushed and such a blur, now that I try to recall the whole chaos, and I found myself standing barefoot backstage getting ready to receive the cue for music. We were on standby and I feel an ache I can’t quite reach within my abdomen. Must be the nerves. I looked at Suren, who is usually chill about everything. He looked worried and was complaining about how his heart was fluttering or something along the lines. I felt my heartbeat at the base of my throat. We got the cue for entry and the rest was history. I just threw my hips in all direction and shook as much as I can. I didn’t want to regret anything once I leave the stage. My final performance in medical school. Even if I get down on my knees I would never have this chance ever again.
I’m quite sure all of our friends from the audience were such proud chums and to see that we represented them to the stage made the moment even more exceptional. The 3 minute dance felt like 3 seconds and I gained consciousness when I went backstage again. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that it was over. My knees buckled beneath me and I allowed it to give out. I just sat on the floor looking at my friends and felt swathed in heavy blankets of realization. This is it. This is the final before the very final. With Pro3 exam imminent, different survivals come to play with different barrels that might come at us. And this is the very final moment spent laughing and stress-free. It would take worlds to unite all of us again after graduation. Some might get married. Some might build a family. Some might move too far. Some won’t even care.
We got back to the changing room and changed back to our outfits and helped each other to. Went back to the stage and spent the next two hours just hugging each other and meandering around taking as much pictures as we can. Awards ceremony commenced with nominees of Queen and King of the night and Best Dressed Male and Female. To be honest, let’s not talk about it. I agree with the Best Dressed and probably the King but the Queen, nah. I mean I really have no nice words to say about that so I better not say anything at all right? So I didn’t bother to give much attention to the awards part.
I started developing an upset stomach and felt the food ride up my esophagus so my plan to extend my night to an after party was instantly crushed. Probably for the good, because I didn’t like the company that followed. I didn’t fancy the vibe. The energy was all wrong. The idea of partying and drinking is all still a naïveté to me. I decided against it and went along to ending the night with a good night’s sleep with Pishan along side me. We enjoyed rest of the night taking more pictures and waiting for the Good Samaritan that is Danish who kindly agreed to give us a lift back to college.
I reached my room and have been retching several times before my lower esophageal sphincter finally opened up and all the food from the night poured out of my mouth smelling of rancid acid and digested food. Now that I got it out, I felt so much better and less tired to actually get the heavy make up out of my face and allow my skin to breath. Slapped on some rose water and moisturizing cream and soothed my bereft self to an effortless sleep.
I woke up the very next day feeling like the day before was a dream and I allowed myself to have the day to my lazy self and watch some movies and get more sleep before I put my whole attention to getting the hang of medicine and running after my long term goals.
A lot of problems and misunderstanding arose especially for the organizing team and despite the shortcomings on their side, I would like to applaud them for their job well done because honestly, it wasn’t all that bad. We just had too high of an expectation. Because my whole batch is extra. I’ve had the privilege to spam my followers in Instagram and I’m not going to commit the crime of redundancy. Thus, here are some pictures of Princess (soon to be dr) Moksha.