I had joined MBBS a month late and it was my second internal exam in biochemistry

I had joined MBBS a month late and it was my second internal exam in biochemistry while it was the fourth for others.I personally couldn’t get the head or tail of the subject and had managed to score 56. I was very scared of the subject as it felt volatile. I resigned to the thought I was not good enough and would never pass any of the 3 subjects in first year. A well-settled-into-the-groove, charmingly popular amongst-boys-and- girls-classmate of mine, had scored 72 marks in the same exam and was seemingly sad at the dinner table in the hostel mess.People surrounded him and were consoling him because he stood third in class. I felt genuinely, very sorry for him and by brushing aside my own sadness, said to him

" Dude please cheer up. You are amazing ! You have everything. You ll do better next time. Look at me am a just- pass candidate who doesn’t even know what to do. You have scored way better. Please smile"

He looked at me straight in the eye with contempt and said " I am not you. You can score whatever you can. I can’t. Don’t compare with me "

I could sense something dying inside me.

I had scored rank 87 in my state entrance exams (not with the board exams though) and I was a star in my school and every teacher used to look at me like a boy-wonder. Here I was swept off like the “dust” on the floor.

It hurt me. Sleep eluded me. I slept at 3am and woke up at 5 and was burning with shame. I wanted to knock on his room and shout at him saying that I was a good student too. But it felt even more pathetic.

I hated Biochemistry and the reactions for being so incomprehensible and for putting me in the spot. I did not find classes helping me, to find love in it.

The next night I had some unknown peace of mind and I thought well about it. I was a star in school for some reason, no matter how small. Chemistry was my favorite subject. I wanted to get myself out of this rut.

I read a reaction forward and then backward and then the situation, conditions and the enzyme. I went back to learn each enzyme before I learnt the reaction. I did not make tables, charts, or notes. I focussed on the structures. I wanted to break the stagnation. I read for 6 hours a day for five days before the next internal test. I felt supremely confident of breaking open any question clinical or technical. The classmate had scored 78 and was second in place and I was on top with 83 (a record never made till that day) . I did not even feel the need to look into his eye. I did not feel the need to vocalise the feeling because I could just talk to my inner beast and could check it was still alive and that was enough satisfaction.

I might not have scored the same way in the upcoming years but that told me I can do things when I put my heart into something. I went on to be not only the gold medallist in that apparently difficult or formidable subject but also took up my Masters and got another gold medal in the same. I thank him everyday in my thoughts.

You may be scared of many things and maintaining a safe distance from them. But remember you all were shining stars in school and you are no less than anyone else.

When you are so desperate to get what you want, just like how you need the breath of air while you are drowning, then you will get what you want ! Period.