Even as a toddler, Binita had shown signs of taking a liking to the profession. Her parents worked in Mumbai. Binita was born and brought up in that big city. The parents tried their best for their darling daughter’s comfort and happiness.
Little Binita had developed piles at a tender age. Her grandma thought that the city life style with stale food were not conducive for the child. “Bread and butter are the cause of her illness. From now onwards, she will only eat homemade parathas”, the old lady had emphasized. The Paratha therapy didn’t work and trips to the hospital became a frequent necessity for the child.
Binita never complained about going to the hospital. Rather she liked the doctors, nurses, the rooms and the instruments there. May be the visits triggered the idea of her becoming a doctor, in the child’s mind. She revered the respect that the doctors commanded. She got fascinated by the white coat and the stethoscope dangling from the doctor’s neck.
The desire of becoming a doctor grew stronger as she grew up. She was a good student and usually held one of the top three ranks in class. Teachers were happy and the parents were proud of her. Her parents always wanted her to be financially independent with a great career. What else could be greater than a doctors’ career
By nature, she was empathetic, sincere and kind. “What else would one required to become a doctor? Hard work, of course”, she thought to herself.
She started preparing for the state’s medical entrance examination the time she was in her 8th grade. She cleared her 10th board with 95 percent marks. Everybody in her school, her family, became very happy. Her parents got hopeful. By that time, her piles had been cured by an operation. With her ailment taken care of, she got drawn even stronger to the medical profession.
“Doctors can do wonders”, she thought. “They can make someone fit and strong”.
Binita started her preparation for her 12th examination. She appeared the examination with increased expectation and she got 97 percent of marks that time. Her joys, so also her parents, knew no bounds.
It was time for her to clear the medical entrance. On the exam day she prayed to God. Her mom gave her dahi sakkar (yoghurt mixed with sugar) for good luck. Her papa took her on his motorbike to the exam centre. Quite a long distance they covered to reach. She qualified, but bad luck, she could not get a seat. She lost out to students with better ranks.
Disappointed, but not deterred, she took admission in a good college, in the Science stream. It was a well-known college in Mumbai. She studied hard to appear in the medical entrance exam, the following year. On her second chance also, she qualified, but couldn’t get a seat in any Medical College due to the tough competition among general category students.
Owing to India’s reservation policy, General Category students lose seats to other categories, despite being more eligible. Young bright students suffer this way. Binita went through this sorry state of affairs. She had studied about the caste system in India in the history books in school, but her cosmopolitan upbringing ensured she didn’t have much exposure to it. Now, for the first time in her life, she experienced a different kind of caste-based discrimination.
Her ambition and her aspiration were smashed. She was heartbroken. She felt very miserable and spent a few days crying herself to sleep. She couldn’t keep trying to get admission in a medical college year after year. She had to move on.
Her parents stood by her. They assured her that it was not the end of the world. They encouraged her to continue with her course in college. After her Master’s course, she could join a very good university as a teacher, her father encouraged her. “Teaching is not just a job. It is a science, an art and a craft. And it demands emotional labour. A teacher holds the power to mould and transform the life of a student. That is a superpower.”, he had said.
Binita tried to divert her mind from a becoming a doctor, to becoming a teacher. She continued with her studies. She tried to learn the nuances of the teaching profession. Her parents were happy with her new interest. Since her childhood, she had been a sincere student and doing well in each examination. She came out with flying colours in her Master’s degree. After the results were out, she got busy in searching for vacancies in universities on the internet and in newspapers. She found a good post on her subject in one university in Uttarakhand. She consulted with her parents and applied for it. It was in Dehradun. The University was located near the Indian Military Academy (IMA). The day the letter arrived of her employment, the family mood turned into one of celebration. A job in a prestigious university made all happy. Her grandmother felt very sad as the only child of the family was going out to a far off place.
Dehradun, in the lap of mother nature, was a cool, green place. Binita, who had lived in Mumbai all her 22 years, loved the change. The crowd, the traffic and the congestion had bored her. She needed a change and she realized that going from the sea to the mountains could be what she needed. She bade farewell to her parents and the loving grandmother, with a very heart heavy.
At Dehradun, she settled in the cosy flat allotted to her by the University. The scenic sights from her balcony were simply awesome for her. What a contrast – from the rising buildings and apartments in Mumbai to the cloud, trees, lakes and hills in Dehradun! In the mornings, from her window, she could see the cadets standing in neat rows for parade, in the sprawling grounds of the IMA.
In the University, she liked her students. The faculty and the students loved her. One day the senior professor of her department called her and advised her to start research on environment science to get a PhD. The subject was close to her and she was very happy with the suggestion. “What better place to start research on the environment, than Dehradun!”, Binita was thinking.
A year and a half had passed by. Binita was splitting her time between teaching and research. At the university annual function, she was introduced to Major Moninder Singh by her professor and research guide. The major was a courteous, handsome man with a great sense of humour. Binita liked the gentleman. It seemed Cupid was busy at his job. He had shot his arrow and it had hit the target.
Binita’s parents and her grandma came to Dehradun on the insistence of her professor. All of them liked the boy. Moninder’s parents and sisters liked Binita too. They all agreed for a simple wedding at Dehradun to keep the load on the environment minimum.
Binita continued with her job and research. As Moninder and his parents were supportive to her, she managed everything well. After two years of their marriage, they were blessed with a cute girl child. On the 1st birthday of the little one, the mother was awarded with her coveted PhD.
Binita had a dream since her childhood of become a doctor. She wanted to feel the pulse of humanity. With her doctorate research she could feel the pulse of the nature, going one level up. She had a fascination for the title Dr before her name. Now her wish was fulfilled. The nameplate at the household now reads
Dr. Binita Singh and Major Moninder Singh.
The above story is an entry into #Aspirations an Artale Greenhorns-2, Feathers Club Exclusive writing event entry.
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