By  Aiswarya Sasi


As I relinquished myself to sleep’s alluring caress,

In the warmth of the banyan tree behind the mess,

My cerebrum set out to tail a fairly odd train of thought,

‘I’m here to take your history,’ a confident voice sought.


Before my eyes an authoritative white-coated figure stood.

Contrived by my mind with all the precision it feasibly could,

At the stethoscope flung casually across his neck, as I glanced,

Cleared my throat officiously and to my long history advanced.


“Wide eyes perused a sea of names; pupils dilated in fright,

On beholding a familiar string of letters, they tarried in respite.

The long-standing battle for a medical seat- at last victory bound,

In the depths of the admission list, the first symptom I found.


Familiar and unfamiliar tongues alike wagged on with not a care,

Just one month in, and vibrant repartee flowed freer than the air.

North, south, east, west- yet on their plates the constant mound.

In the depths of the college mess, the second symptom I found.


“Where the dead teach the living,” the door rightfully proclaimed,

In instilling the names of their nerves and arteries, they lie unnamed.

‘I’ve seen more of him than even he has,’- a realization so profound.

In the depths of the dissection hall, the third symptom I found.


The first bench unusually packed; a milieu of reverent stillness,

With him Physiology was miraculous- every gland, every illness.

His class of sixty the eloquent Professor never failed to astound.

In the depths of splendid brilliance, the fourth symptom I found.


Gathering pens of every hue, I opened my book enraptured.

The mesmeric essence of life in myriad pathways captured.

In their transience and dynamicity, contentedly I drowned.

In the depths of biochemistry, the fifth symptom I found.


A three-day Retreat was in order- the very first of its kind for me,

The intricacies of Adoration, Confession and Mass I could now see.

Come 2 am the devotees furtively rejoiced on the terrace, unwound.

In the depths of coherence and spirituality, the sixth symptom I found.


Resplendent Kerala saris draped and donned self-consciously,

Baby juniors upheld the age-old ‘serve-before-you-eat’ policy.

The photos and memoirs’d one day make our hearts pound.

In the depths of merry festivity, the seventh symptom I found.


A blonde wig eccentrically on my head; eyes glinting in delight.

Solemn medical student by day, zany cartoon character by night.

I didn’t know them well; still an uncanny melancholy held ground,

In the depths of Farewell to 2011, the eighth symptom I found.


The dreaded internal dates ominously graced the calendar,

Warriors fighting sleep ultimately coerced into surrender

Palpitations, paraesthesia, porphyria- the same suddenly sound.

In the depths of examination anxiety, the ninth symptom I found.


An exasperated senior yells- “It’s pronounced ‘heer’ not ‘here’,”

A month of intense carol practice for a day of Christmas cheer,

On this fateful day, smiles reigned supreme; not a soul frowned.

In the depths of fun Jingle Rocking, the tenth symptom I found.


“You remind me of my daughter,” the Stri Shakti leader said,

I beamed from ear to ear, my inhibitions gradually being shed.

“You’re going to be a good doctor!” she left me spellbound.

In the depths of Mugalur, the eleventh symptom I found.


“Don’t give the child anything hot or cold for the next hour,”

For the first time, I felt like I possessed a real doctor’s power.

Two little drops a prelude to the mighty ocean that’d come around,

In the depths of the Pulse Polio Drive, the twelfth symptom I found.”


I woke up with a start- feeling incoherent and dazed,

Attempting to recall my dream, I found myself fazed.

All at once, the abrupt ending came to light.

“The differential diagnosis? You’re a Johnite!”