College reunion: the old and the new

Somebody decided that there should be a reunion of all the doctors practicing in the city who have passed out of my medical college. I’m not much of a person for raking up the past, but I ultimately decided to go partly because of a last minute nostalgic impulse and partly because I wished to see how the girls looked after they have tasted of the fruit of Eden (though rumors had it that some had tasted the forbidden fruit in the college itself).
They rented the medical association ground for the occasion. I reached there a little late and found the place already swarming with the alumni. There were over three hundred of them. I never knew that so many of my alma mater’s were infesting the city. I decided to fortify myself with some ethanol before wading into the thick of the melee. So I entered the fray around the overworked bartender and snatched a whisky and soda right out of the jaws of a dozen drooling doctors and took off to safety.
I spotted Shikha standing in a corner with painted ruby lips, wrapped in some outlandishly fashionable garb, sipping what was purportedly orange juice. I walked over to her and said:
“Hi Shikha! You look wonderful. My, haven’t you grown?” I looked appreciatively at her growth.
“What do you mean?” she snarled.
“Professionally I mean.” I amended hastily. These girls have a nasty, suspicious mind.
She still looked chary though, so I hastened along:
“I never knew you were in the city. We should meet more often you know.”
“Oh, there’s never much free time once you start your practice.”
“Oh I’m for free – I mean I’m always free for old friends.” I offered gallantly.
Calling her an old friend was stretching the point a bit too far. Unless of course you call wolf-whistling everytime she passed you in the corridor and being stared upon stonily in return to be friendship. But time has a way of mellowing these things a bit.
Suddenly I felt a thump upon my back. I choked and spluttered and spilled my whisky and soda on Shikha’s growth. Realizing the calamity, I pulled out my handkerchief in a single smooth motion which would have made Clint Eastwood chomp upon his cigar with envy, and offered it to the stained damsel. However she bestowed on me a basilisk stare that reminded me strongly of the past and stalked away to perform her own ablutions.
I turned around to observe my assailant. He was a wizened, dried up old man with a shock of dirty white hair. Before I could complete my observations however, the geezer caught hold of my lapels and after giving me a couple of vigorous shakes, wheezed:
“So young rascal, do you remember me?”
“As a matter of fact I do.” I said, trying to preserve my dignity under extremely trying conditions. “You are our venerable professor of anatomy, Prof. Shukla.”
“Ha, ha, ha,” He laughed, spraying a few venerable drops of spittle over my face, which I wiped off discretely with my handkerchief. “My students are not likely to forget me in a hurry, eh? But what is this? You seem to have fitted a spare tyre around your waist. You used to look like a needle in college and now you look like a balloon that is about to burst.” More of the venerable shower.
I thought he used to look like a buzzard and now he looks like a vulture.
“But you look fit as a fiddle sir,” was what I said though.
“Baba Ramdev ki jai!” he hollered. “So tell me, what are you up to these days?”
“Oh, well, I am a consultant at R——- Hospital.” I said solemnly. He seemed to be impressed. At least now I would be treated with some dignity, I thought.
“Good, good. And have you stopped killing patients now?” He chortled through constricted bronchii.
I patiently explained that I am a physician, not a surgeon.
And then I did a most stupid thing. I led a garrulous old man down memory lane.
“Weren’t the old days great, sir?” I said pleasantly.
He looked at me with infinite contempt.
“You youngsters have no idea what the real old days were like,” he drawled. “Medical college had an aura in those days. No tom, dick or harry would dare to enter it without sufficient cause.” Was he describing a mexican town of the 1880s I wondered? “Was there any ragging in your time?”
“Sure there was. I remember on my first day in college —-“
Impatiently he steam-rolled over my words.
“Ha! You call that molly-cuddling that went on in your time ragging? No my boy, that was merely a poor vestige of what true ragging used to be. I’ll tell you what true ragging meant, as it existed in our days.”
Then he entered into a discourse about ragging in his days. I will spare the gentle reader the account which was liberally punctuated with many profound mantras and shlokas, exalting the virtues of the mothers and sisters of our nation. Suffice it to say that he and his fellow SS men used to herd a group of freshers to the hostel and persuade them by means of these various mantras and shlokas to elevate themselves to the state of Adam in all his pristine innocence, without even the sinful cover of a brief. Thereafter these Adams were further exhorted to imitate a cock (read ornithologically, not anatomically). The venerable narrator then used to inspect the parade of cocks (again meaning the bird not the organ), though whether he was examining the various sizes and shapes assaulting his ocular sense or the various smells wafting into his nostrils is more than I can comment upon. “Lift your tails high!” the sergeants would order. Thereafter these roosters (not to confuse the reader any further) were made to perform calisthenics of varying degrees of complexity, until they collapsed in exhaustion when they were treated to tea and biscuits on the house as inducements for further pantomimes.
“Ragging made you tough and it made you respect your seniors. Look at the stuff coming out of medical college these days: bespectacled chocolate boys, hanging onto a mobile with one hand and to their girlfriends’ apron strings with another.” More likely the strings of their spaghetti tops, I thought profoundly.
“But they study a lot more these days.” I made a feeble attempt to stand up for our generation.
“Ha, studies indeed!” He scoffed scornfully. “And what has all this study led them to? Doctors today have the clinical sense of a monkey. They rely too much on these new fangled investigations. It is the radiologists and the pathologists who make the diagnosis these days, not the clinicians.”
By this time I had resigned myself to a wrecked evening. But a stroke of fortune saved me. Shikha came along and wished the monument good evening. He turned to her with the fire of Prometheus in his eyes and got immediately interested in her burgeoning eruptions. I seized the opportunity and fled. The old and the new are not so disparate after all, I thought, as I ran to the shelter of my colleague cronies.


I have always been a great believer. I've flitted from one belief to another, from religion to atheism and from one philosophy to another, until I finally settled on J. Krishnamurti whose philosophy is that there is no philosophy. So now I firmly believe that there is nothing to believe. Now such a belief would, I believe, have been considered dangerous to society if the authorities had believed me to be of any consequence. No man of consequence they believe would waste his time on the pursuit of blogging!

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9 comments on “College reunion: the old and the new
  1. Ashwathy says:

    heheheh… awesome account. did any of that really happen? or was that like part-fiction, part-reality… as seen thru ur eyes? 😀
    i love the play on words that u do… good vocabulary… and used at the right time!

  2. Rofl Indian says:

    I shall not tolerate any slander on the professional inabilities of surgeons. Hah!
    Okay, did Shikha’s boyfriend too turn up at the reunion? Did Shikha get turned on at the turrning up? Wasn’t Prof. Shukla called Prof. Sookhla by all and sundry?
    God! Those were the days.

    • doctoratlarge says:

      Officially i have great faith in the inabilities–oops, i mean, abilities of surgeons. After all i may land up under someone’s axe— oops again, knife i mean, someday.

      • ~uh~™ says:

        How come you guys land up in the wrong profession? I mean why to wait for the operation table when you guys can make people laugh to death.

  3. ~uh~™ says:

    You mean you and ROFL are two different personas who studied together ?
    ‘I choked and spluttered and spilled my whisky and soda on Shikha’s growth.’- Now that was a good start.
    But, the account ended abrupty, the way you mounted the expectation. Is thetre a part two ?
    From your vocab you seem to be another logoleptic.

  4. whatsinaname says:

    seriously! This just proves how much a man prays for growth 😉
    Please write more. You just got lucky. I added you to my fav list .

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