When Chetan Bhagat (this is how you spell the guy…right?) was crying fowl over credits…or the lack of it in 3 Idiots…I thought he was being a kid. Today I saw 3 idiots and I am very upset. I waited till all the credits had rolled and the guard asked me to leave….but “Our special thanks to Mr Jamshed V Rajan” never rolled out.
Here is why I expected thanks from Aamir and his company.
When I couldn`t even open my eyes, I was named Jamshed V Rajan. When I could barely say ‘ichh cdeam` I was sent to kindergarten. When I couldn`t even tie my laces I was in class 1. And by the time I hadn`t even started liking girls, I was in the tenth standard (I was kind of a late starter).
The moment I stepped into Class Ten, World War 3 broke out in my house. My father wanted me to join the Indian Army and serve the nation but my mother wanted me to become a doctor and open up a once-a-week clinic in our village called Maangudi (Maan = Deer. Gudi = Abode).
When in 10th standard, Tom Clancy and Franklin W Dixon (who wrote Hardy Boys) were my role models and becoming a doctor or an Army man wasn`t in my plan. But my parents had plans laid out for me.
Mother: Why do you want my son to become an Army man like you? Aren`t you satisfied with what you have done to yourself?
Father: Why? What wrong did I do? And why should he become a doctor…to mint money? If patriotic people like us don`t send their kids to Army, who will?
Mother: I want him to do good for the people in our village. If he becomes an Armyman, at the most he will take a 60 day long leave and give the village`s watch man a break. But if he becomes a doctor, he can treat them every week.
Father: Do you understand watchmen and Armymen aren`t the same.
Mother: Well, if we Indians are one big family…can`t I say India is one big house. That makes the Armymen, security gaurds at the entrance. What say?
Father: If we fight….our son might end up doing something else. Why don`t we reach a compromise….how about pushing him to join Armed Forces Medical College? He can be a doctor and an Armyman too?
Mother: What about the weekly clinics at our village?
Father: He can settle down in our village after retirement and start a clinic. What say?
Father: Deal. No more discussions. AFMC it is.
The next day, I was enrolled in Brilliant Tutorials` 2-year Medical Coaching Program. Over the next two years I received a lot of communication (including study material) from them. Wake me up from my grave 50 years later and I will still be able to recite their address: 12, Masilamani Street, T. Nagar, Chennai 600 017.
I gave it my best but failed Armed Forces Medical College Entrance exam and also the All India Pre-Medical & Pre-Dental Exam.
Gosh…wasn`t I even good enough to pull teeth? Since I was responsible for the weekly cleaning of the toilet bowl….I believed I could have made a natural dentist. Ignore the stink, close your eyes to avoid the stark visuals and get on with the task at hand…I could do that easily.
Surprisingly, my parents didn`t mind my failing the exam much. They asked if I was comfortable enrolling in Brilliant Tutorials` 1-year Medical Coaching Program and try the AFMC next year.
“Hmm…I don`t know if that`s such a good idea. I have got BA Economics & BA English in an Arts college….I would rather go ahead and study.”
My father didn`t seem happy with the thought but he didn`t show it. He said: “You have still got fifty years ahead of you and wasting one year shouldn`t be that big a problem.” My mother nodded.
Convincing me to do nothing is easy. So I stayed at home and study materials started coming in from 12, Masilamani Street, T. Nagar, Chennai 600 017.
One year later, nothing much had changed. I failed AFMC again – this year they only need 12 students to complete the batch. But as luck would have it, I passed the All India PMPD Exam and got a seat in Stanley Medical College in Chennai – an old Medical College with a chequered history. Check their history here.
Let me be frank here….one of the reasons I tried hard to get into a medical college even though I wanted to do creative writing for a living, was because of what T Arun told me.
He said: “Girls in Medical Colleges know everything about sex. So they aren`t scared to have a little fun on the side.”
I would have brushed it aside, but the naughty smile on his face made me ask him. “What kind of fun-on-the-side are you talking about?”
That`s when Siddharth shared with me what he called ‘Siddharth`s Know-all Do-all Theory`. According to this theory, girls aren`t as adventurous as boys when it comes to pre-marital sex because they aren`t sure of the physical, biological and mental consequences of sex. If they were fully aware of everything (as a medical girl student is expected to be) they will throw caution to the winds and start behaving like boys (or men).
I loved his theory and asked him: “Are you sure? Coz I hate the bleach, formalin and cold steel smell that one gets in the hospital. If at all I join a medical college, it will be because of my increased chances.”
“Kill me if you don`t get laid within the first month,” he assured me.
The day before I was to leave for Chennai to join Stanley Medical College, my mother called me and said: “Son, promise me after you get out of the college you will go to our village and serve the people?”
I assured her.
Before my mother and I could part ways, my father saw us. He waited till my mother was away and told me: “By the way, there is a parallel entry for doctors in the Army. They obviously can`t do with just 12 doctors from AFMC every year. Let us discuss once you get your medical degree.”
I assured him.
Two months in the medical college, I called up Siddharth to tell him that his Know-all Do-all theory wasn`t working. He assured me that Chennai girls being conservative might take a while.
When he asked me if there were any Punjabi or Gujarati girls in my batch, I reminded him that I was short and dark and there was no chance in hell to land a Punjabi or a Gujarati girl….even if they were not as conservative. He didn`t take the topic further.
By the eighth month I had started hating the place. I couldn`t live with pain & death all around me. I looked around for distractions but there were none.
That`s when I met Rohit….our colleges` watch man`s son. His father was always comparing him to the medical students he watched over and this young boy of 17 was completely broken.
After we had known each other for 2 months, we decided to run away to some peace.
Thank God I didn`t jump from the Stanley Medical College building for I would have surely died (I wasn`t in a movie, remember?).
Rohit was from Gujarat and we decided to run away to a small village in Nadiad district. To cut the long story short….we stayed in a village hut. For the next three months the open fields were my toilet room and the handpump 250 meters away was my bathroom. I worked as a munshi (accountant) in a brick kiln and Rohit made bricks in the same kiln. We lived peacefully till I exhausted my Rs 2000.
When my money ran out, I called my parents. This time around, they were happy to just have me back. They didn`t want me to join the Army or become a Doctor.
Three days later, my father was in Nadiad and we went back to Madurai together. Rohit decided to stay back because his father was still upset with him.
I went on to study BA Economics at The American College and successfully managed to stop my parents from forcing me to do an MBA. I didn`t go on to become a successful writer as I had wanted…but I do have a blog where readers sometimes leave encouraging comments.
Now tell me…don`t I deserve a credit at the end of 3 Idiots? Did it have to be an Engineering College? Isn`t a Medical College good enough?