Why I became a doctor?...

Why indeed? The answer to this question changes over time. For instance, just before an interview for selection into medical college, the answer that almost all of us are repeating over and over again in our minds goes something like this: ’Ever since my –um- childhood, I wanted to help others. Um- and to heal them of their sicknesses and –um- diseases and also their illnesses. That’s why I –um- want to become a doctor to heal them-um. I want to –um- serve the poor and in the villages and –um- work hard. I want to ease their suffering. Health is very important. Um.’ Which, as people sitting on either side of the table know, translates as: ‘Let me become a doc. Then I’ll be on the first plane out of here, clear PLAB, put on flab, get myself a four bedroom mansion with a pool in the backyard and a couple of them German machines, one BMW and one Benz at least, in front, which will go a long way in easing my suffering. ‘ Fast forward to a couple of years, when on a dark and stormy night, there is a frantic hammering on the duty room door/ beep on your pager/ call on your mobile/ update on your Facebook status (depending on the era). It’s the much dreaded Casualty call. And you hear the same question: ‘Why did I become a doctor?’ The answer is rarely about the alleviation of suffering. More about that which must not be named in public forums. (or is it ‘public fora’?) I remember an emergency call I had while working in a village in Kerala, fresh from internship. It was about 4:30 in the morning and in the Casualty was a small group of people...