It was thirty years ago, in 1987, that we found ourselves in the subtly named MLT (Main Lecture Theatre), for the first time. Not quite knowing what lay ahead but quite confident that since we had managed to make our way into the most prestigious Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, life could only get better.
It was the beginning of a life changing journey that challenged us, moulded us, taught us and eventually made us who we are.
(Who are we?? GSites 🙂
We may have bunked lectures but we never bunked college! Food was always tastier eaten sitting on the kattas and idly was best eaten shared 2 plates by 3 friends in Shetty’s canteen. The flavour of that mysterious SK vada can never be replicated nor the equally confusing Hawaii sauce.
We learnt how to be a sophisticated theatre audience by watching Dharam Veer in this very hall, while some senior students sat in the aisles and made decidedly unsavoury shadow fingers at the screen and where film reels the size of truck tyres reels were rewound to watch Govinda dance again. And again….
We attended lectures which Charlie seemed to understand more than we did and we did practicals in which the lab peons knew the correct reagents and expected results better than we ever could. No one ever understood the patho slides so let’s leave it at that.
We slept inside the library and studied outside it. We bunked official rounds but some went for other secret ones. Some of us had never dreamed of doing anything but medicine and some would have preferred to do anything but this.
Despite all that, we managed to swim more than sink and somehow made it to the other side of the 5 and half years that forged us and shaped us and made us what we are today.
We were thoroughly ragged, taught, mentored, found friendship and love, grew and evolved. We studied, relaxed, enjoyed cutting chai, overnight emergencies in the monsoon, organized festivals, edited magazines and went to Delhi filling up an entire train compartment.
We were there for each other through days that seem to have been filled with sunshine and laughter and joyful learning.
It is said that the best a parent can do for its children is to give them roots and wings and Seth GSMC has done that for us in full measure.
For those of us who survived the siren call of the west and the common pooling system, we forged even deeper ties during our residency at the KEM Hospital. Those of us who moved to other lands still carry with them the indelible aura of a GSite and have done well in every chose field in every new homeland.
It is 2017 now and we have come a long way. From landline telephones monitored by our parents to monitoring our own kids on Whatsapp! From those reel movies to Netflix streaming. From katta food to 5 star gourmet. And from mystifying ward rounds to being heads of department.
It’s been such a long journey and while we may not feel too much older than we did that day, we do certainly feel wiser.
The very genesis of Seth GSMC was a rebellion, a movement for change. In the days of the British Raj no Indian doctor however qualified and brilliant could ever rise through the ranks simply because he was Indian. This changed in 1926 when some crowd funding and a substantial donation of 12 lakhs was made by the family of Seth Gordhands Sunderdas to set up Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital.
The very foundations of our college are steeped in a fiery national pride, a refusal to accept things the way they were and forging ahead as change agents. The college and hospital have always maintained the twin pillars of academic excellence with this uncompromising integrity and strength of character.
GSMC and KEMH gave the country pioneers in many fields—from the first mitral valve surgery to the first IVF baby. From the first Artificial Kidney Department, to the first clinical pharmacology ward in the country. The first renal transplant in India, the first heart transplant in India, and the first left to right limb transplant in India.
In 1942 during the Quit India movement the college was closed for several weeks and some students had to go underground. Post partition, GSites led medical mercy missions deep into Pakistan. And in 1964 during the gastroenteritis epidemic the PSM department apparently managed to immunize 1 million people in 17 days thus containing the deaths.
(I am quoting from Dr Alok Sharma’ article in the Gosumag ’92)
Standing on the shoulders of such giants, we continue to lead and contribute to great work across the globe now. From students to leaders, we can continue to be agents of change and as we remember what Seth GS Medical college has given to us, we should also ask ourselves what can we contribute in return.
For details check out this link http://gosumec.com/
After all, as we were always taught– Non sibi Sed Omnibus