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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Those Five Years


Those five years are over now. The final years of the student life will now be the
foundations of my professional life. Many bitter and few sweet experiences of the period will always remain with me. Farewell to the formal student life has come with the farewell to the supposedly the most productive years of life also.
There is nothing much to celebrate at the end though there is nothing much to regret too. Those years in the medical school were far tougher to pass than to analyze now. The constant apprehension of failing the exams was the main though not the only source of state of discomfort for months altogether. The constant desire to get through it with a mere 50% kept on driving us through all the odd times.
I had no big dreams when I left my village seven years ago. Then I knew pretty little about the world though I was fascinated by the communist ideology. As I used to put it in the essays for the exams, I had a peculiar aim of becoming a writer, philosophist or a politician, who can change the life of many. Ironically, I landed up being a doctor, and I maintain the same position even now, though I have understood that none of them is as easy as being a doctor.
Those two years in the +2 where I radically improved my rankings(up to 83% from 75% in SLC) were the sole determining factor on my being the doctor, though I always felt that I could not spend enough time in studies. Those were the years in which the volcano of political bankruptcy erupted leading to the state of civil war. As every other Nepali citizen, I was also affected that included a three day journey to detention by police. Those bitter experiences now appear simply to be the trial to assess our stamina and endurance to deal with adverse circumstances.
Entry to a medical school gave me an ample chance to study about the world. Insecurity of the financial future, that caused so much anxiety after passing the +2, was at once relieved by that success and this made me free to explore other issues, including national and international politics. This was the best way my profession could help me, not by making me able to earn much and live a luxury life.
As every teenager, I had a very emotional approach to all the issues at that age. That planted the roots of idealism in my mind and I was fascinated by the imaginary utopian world. Around the time when I passed my SLC exams, I turned to be a staunch atheist from a theist. This was inevitable as I was unable to explain the so many paradoxes in the practice of religions that I was so loyal to. This corresponded to my constant tendency towards believing in communism, of course the nature of politics in the surrounding played the decisive role.
Now I get amused to recollect those utopian ideas of the teenage years and get disappointed to see the bulk of teenagers grown in the urban area or in the urban way who have no such imaginations about the world. Though I am nowhere nearer the destination that I used to imagine, that is what comforts me in odd situations.
Frustration and to some extent a fusion of depression and anxiety was my dominant mood for most of the time in the medical school. The ever worsening national politics was the most hostile factor while other international developments were sometimes responsible. The feeling that one has been the subject of constant injustice and inability to do anything to protest it is the bitterest experience in this world. This frustration was so prominent that sometimes I was unable to check its interference in the daily life. This would create further anxiety of failing the exams. This vicious cycle brought enormous gloom especially in two occasions each year. First was the birthday, which I did not even acknowledge for four consecutive years, let alone celebrating them. The next was the last day of the year or so called ‘eve’. In these two days, I used to analyze the developments and achievements of the whole year that would yield nothing more than promoting the vicious cycle.
In those dark days, playing volleyball was the only thing that used to help, though transiently, to relax. The examinations used to exacerbate the problem as they required the unique concentration. In a desperate attempt to alleviate the anxiety I would often avoid reading the newspapers for weeks altogether during exam times. Sometimes there would be a rebound attack of anxiety comparable to panic attack after a period of avoidance by going home, etc.
This is why I have mentioned the term ‘many bitter and few sweet experiences of the period’ in the beginning. I would often wonder how people can be so indifferent about so crucial national issues and enjoy as if nothing had happened.
Under the miscellaneous topics, there is not much to be written about the ‘self-understood’ topic. Few people who came to be more important than others could not become significantly more important and thus went back to their original position. Few others in consideration during the final years are also not immune from the same fate. There is nothing to blame this issue for my misery during the period though there is nothing much to praise it either.
Another prominent feature of my life in the medical school was the ‘confrontation’. Firstly due to financial background, and secondly due to the political affiliations, I thought differently compared to my friends in the institution. Though healthy discussions were not impossible, the bitter confrontations in the national politics would often be represented in our debates and it was natural for them to turn unhealthy. Especially during the years when the monarch rose and then fell, there would often be furious monologues as my colleagues would vomit all their discontent to me while avoiding listening a word from me. For their convenience they labeled me as the ‘maoist’ as this was the most repulsive word for them that was present in the dictionary. In those years it was the most dangerous to be a maoist and to speak in favor of politics other than praising the king or the army was to become a maoist .
One more reason of me being called a maoist was that during the years of armed conflict, I would argue that for the similar brutality to the civilians, the army should be blamed as much or even more than the Maoists because they were being hugely paid by us. But they would argue that the brutality to whatsoever extent by the army were justifiable in face of the need to quell the rebellion by fierce fighting. As every arrogant aristocrat, they would assume all the people killed by the army to be the terrorists while the reverse was true in majority of the cases.
Another prominent difference among our opinions was that I hated the idea of discarding the politics as being the job of corrupts and opportunists that was more than obvious for them. Their support for the monarchy also came from this skewed analysis that a single autocrat is better than many corrupt politicians. They believed that rather than evolving from struggles and failures democracy will be launched in Nepal from some unknown source some time in the future when the people will be ‘mature’, so till then we should silently accept to be ruled by the monarch however insane it can be. I argued that people will be never ‘mature’ without struggles which were inevitable , so we should take a side on them. If there were problems in politics and politicians, the solutions would also be within them only, not outside.
This debate was only closed after the success of the people’s revolt. This brings me to the last third of my years in the medical school. Of course the most significant event of the period was the people’s movement 2006.This radically changed the direction of national politics though its long term consequences in terms of prosperity, stability and development of the nation are still to be seen.

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