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The Kid Who Woke Me Up

S Sundar Raman

It is with a matter of pride (you may call arrogance as well) that I say this. I have great deal of zeal in taking up anything, any work (with or without a prefix or suffix). This zeal I consider my strength. Anything new offers certain scope for learning, which is quite an experience, as new things throw up a challenge before you, which helps you stay competitive. I believe, this competitive spirit is essential for us to progress.

But the biggest hurdle or challenge in the entire process is the sudden indifference I encounter, whereafter I end up being in a shell, without a pinch of thought for whatever happens around me. I don't have any reason for that. It just happens. I lose interest. I am not interested in staying competitive. Energy levels goes down. Efficiency goes down. Thinking gets extinct.

I just become some vegetable.

It was during one of those vegetable periods (unusually long that time around), that Sundar came about. Four Years younger than me, but forty times more energetic. After a very very very very very long time (since the days of Ranga), I saw that vibrant spirit in a person, which was contagious as well. It simply rubs on you, even if you are in deepest of slumbers.

My mind was completely switched off to any new things and any learning around that time. Sundar switched it on. He probably inspired me to switch it on.

Balaji (an ode to him is due) once told me about quality of working, out of his experience. You should go for the person who acts, and not just reciprocates. He drew parallels with what he read in a Tamil Weekly. Do your duty and a bit more. Person who knowingly or unknowingly practise this idea in their work, invariably throw out better results.

Among the breeds which does only when being told, and which complains more and contributes less, he did his duty without being told and also a bit more, cheerfully. He innovated and simplified in his own small little ways.

His level of interest (you may call it plain curiosity) and that vigour to explore was simply mercurial. You don't feel put off or get irritated. You simply comply. And comply happily. You also start exploring.

You once again find that competitor in you, who can go miles to accomplish whatever you want. Without that spirit wide awake inside you, you are just a corpse.

Sundar was more special among his peers. Probably because of that his exam results hurt me more. But that was once again a point to my belief that exam results never communicate your complete potential. People scoring lower marks than you are not lower to you. And people scoring greater, may not be that greater.

I also experienced one more thing. You need not always look upto your seniors to seek knowledge, guidance and inspiration. If you shed your ego, and look around, you might end up learning more from the kids around you, than you would have imagined. As Sri Sri Ravishankar (of Art of Living) once told in an interview in NDTV 24 X 7, as the key to happiness and peace "Look at the Child. Learn from it. Be like it. Find the child in you."

I don't feel shy in admititing this. Sundar is that child to me.


Ketan said…

I'll tell you a few things, even at the risk of losing your respect, about how I look at the phenomenon called competition in the world at least that I've seen.

And for doing so, I'll need to tell a pertinent few personal things to make contexts clear for you.

I cleared my MBBS in February, 2008. As of now, am preparing full time (except for of course reading and commenting on a few blogs, here and there).

The PG entrance exams I'm going to attempt are of the nature that one does NOT need to understand things conceptually at all. Most of the questions asked are about miscellaneous (exotic) disorders, which one would hardly encounter in one's lifetime, or rare side effects of drugs without ever dwelling on their mechanism. Or, about detailed stratification of severity of diseases, without again, any impetus on the bases for such a scheme. Or questions with such close (four) options that ultimately the answer would be decided by paper setters' "discretion". How am I too feel motivated to perform well in such a system, where I've seen intelligence and original thought actually interfere with preparation, as those qualities make rote-learning unrewarding to the mind (boring). So, as of now the only driving forces for me to prepare are the fear of uncertain future on failing to crack the exam, and temptation of a secure sorce of income that would leave me margin to pursue my other amateur interests in life.

I'd also tell you something about the nature of "competition" I'd face once into practice: if you go by the number of patients I'd get as the parameter to decide my competence, then, that'd be decided by how much am I able to tell the patients "what they want to hear", rather than diagnosing and treating them in most appropriate way possible. Plus, there, be factors like "networking" with others, making sensational diagnoses, ordering unnecessary investigations to get a "cut" (commission). And no, if I've to retain my patients, I'll HAVE to indulge in all this. You must be knowing, otherwise how it is easy to subtly scare the shit out of an apprehensive patient by simply telling "well, I think, you're taking a risk going to THAT doctor".

For treatment of many disorders, the patients need to be...well, patient. It's simple to just suppress the symptoms temporarily without treating the underlying disorder...
Ketan said…
(Continued from previous comment)

...Majority of patients are uninterested in hearing the circuitous explanation of how their disorder could be treated with lifestyle modifications and will take time to completely remit (I'm not judging them, just stating the exact nature of their expectation). They think of any doctor who simply advices, and not prescribe as ignorant. And one hard fact is what one thinks of one's doctor, indeed has, to put it subtly, influence on "treatment outcome".

How am I to feel competitive when faced with such 'challenges'? How would you feel, if some day you see someone else voted the best teacher only because they'd assess students' papers "generously", or simply for telling the most entertaining
jokes, in spite of being pedagogically deficient. Would you like that award for yourself the next year? Hope you get the point.

I told you all this partially in hope that you could provide me with some more good reasons to feel competitive again, and also to justify my view of competition.

Sundar Raman said…
3 years since i have cleared my exams. Suddenly felt, i missed a big thing (Exam)....Just remembered your blog!!!

Also, reading this charges me up when i was little de-motivated..why little...fully!

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