So I’m barely 20 days old in my new ‘Dr.’ avatar & the time had come to smuggle me away to a land far far away from Bombay; a curious little village called Ganeshpuri where I would be employed in a Medical Center specializing in HIV care. Although this center was a collaboration between an NGO and my parent hospital, the latter did not run it. Its importance lies in the fact that these guys meant business, so no funny business! (I apologize for the silly jokes, more to follow. Sorry again)
Even before I left for the rotation, there was controversy. Interns decided to go on strike demanding a hike in our stipend (Info here). Although I whole heartedly supported the cause, I was dreading the fact that I may have to go to this place again next year to compensate for the holiday I took on the day of the strike. After a lot of cajoling & emotional blackmail by friends, I decided to brave the dreaded “Repeat” as we call it. Collective spirit turned to agony that afternoon when I realized that a few dim-witted doctors (has a nice ring to it) had attended their postings that day. I was mad partially because they didn’t join in for the strike, partially cause I was damn jealous they got their attendance. But, I digress.
Ganeshpuri is a little town, on the outskirts of Bombay. I woke up at 4.30am that morning, caught the drowsiest (hopefully not inebriated) cabbie around for a ride to Dadar station. In my shameful stupor, I had miscalculated the time, reaching an entire 30 minutes before the train; I lugged my baggage over to the platform right to the other side of the station (regular passengers will know where Virar Fasts arrive). Picked up a thick TOI & I was set for the next 75 minutes.
Met my fellow intern at Virar, made a few calls to figure out where I would find the all-important shuttle to my center. I’ve never been to Virar earlier, & felt absolutely timid seeing the sheer number of people trying to get into southbound trains. I was extremely anxious not to miss the medical shuttle to Ganeshpuri; failure would mean an additional hour spent hunting down & then travelling in local ST buses, being marked late, getting shouted at & not being assigned any work for the day. Twenty minutes, a long walk, short run & a lot of panting later, I was snugly seated in the shuttle.
“Yes, intern, you need to go to the HIV Center. Get your luggage & move on”. Before I say anything else,I must state: I had a lot of luggage! Surprisingly I found a familiar face in a college senior who was also posted there. He led me first to the living quarters where the most inviting plate of noodles awaited.
Off to the HIV center then... Part II coming soon.