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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Blogs, Batch mates – Reminiscing and Reliving

When Lucky started the Blog, it was an electronic medium to supplement and enhance our Reunions. It has achieved that and more.

I began to ask myself questions like, “what is the purpose of bringing together people who shared a significant era of their lives but have since drifted apart?”. Some have maintained contact others haven’t. A lot of water has flown under the bridge and it is unrealistic to have the view that 50 years of eventful life since we were together has not changed us. When we meet a batch fellow after 20 years or more, we begin by conjuring up a mental image of that person as he/she used to be including the personality, character and even physical appearance. We then await with eager anticipation the first meeting. This is often a bit of a shock and could be quite disappointing. But very soon, the gap in years seem to melt away in most cases we hear expressions such as “you haven’t changed at all- apart from a few grey hairs and loss of cephalic foliage”. The interesting thing is that from that moment, your mental image of the person changes from the stored memory of 50 years ago to that most recent contact. A new relationship could arise depending on common interest but more often, life reverts back to the familiar. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and one must never lose the reality behind that.
We shared 5 years of formative life together in varying degrees of intimacy (some were very intimate!). The intimacy depended firstly on your Surname as that determined your immediate neighbours. There were other groups such as school mates and sports and other recreational interest. Within this, close friendships arose and persisted for varying lengths of time depending on circumstances. It is a strange fact that some very close associations made at that time also drifted away slowly to the extent that some were attenuated while others were totally lost. This is perfectly natural. Change after all, is the only permanent variable. When circumstances such as a Reunion arose, a kind of hope arose when looking forward to meeting your once close mate but sometimesresulted in disappointment, for the simple fact that both parties have changed so much that the meeting really is of two very different people who once shared the same spot on Mother Earth.
My own feeling is that Reunions and Blog chat is rewarding if one’s expectations are realistic. We are now old enough and mature enough to know where we stand in the Community we live in. Close family and close friends come first and this centre is surrounded by rings of others according to time, associations, and interests and so on. A Batch colleague may be within that circle of close friends but not because he was a batch colleague. That was the start but what happened between then and now is the determining factor. Human nature is such that we prefer some to others and we have our own preferences when it comes to long term friendships. On the other hand, you may have a very negative image of a person and find it a pleasant surprise to see a very changed person, much more to your liking. New friendships are created and maintained.
What is important in my view is to reflect on the fact that there is something we all share, and that is the good fortune to have had a wonderful education is a Country which has free education. (I for one, would never have been a Doctor without Free Education. My parents had 6 sons and 1 girl!).  I don’t think we should ever forget that and whenever the opportunity arises; we must support our Institutions and indeed, not wait for opportunities to arise but create them. I hasten not to use the term Patriotism. Being grateful and thankful is a good human characteristic, it has nothing to do with Patriotism which is questionably not a worthy attribute to have when what we need in the World today is Humanism and love for all human beings with as few barriers as possible.
So let us communicate, reminisce and be aware of our good fortune. . Let us never forget our Teachers both academic and clinical. Let us not expect too much when we meet. Let us accept people as they are and rejoice in our common medical heritage and let us help each other in any way we can. Let us use the Blog to be creative, share our experiences and rejoice in the successes of our colleagues and families.

Vivat Blog! Long live the Blog!

Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale


  1. A thoughtful analysis of friendship & life. The blog remains another medium for people to be in touch & creative.It is up to the individual to use it and reach out.

  2. Speedy,
    Your blog is an excellent discourse,which should awake some of our colleagues in hibernation.


  3. Thanks Indra and Sumathi. Just "voicing" my thoughts. The subject of university friendships and their evolution does fascinate me. I hope more readers contribute and come up with their own views.

  4. Better late than never, I guess! Mahen, I read your thoughts and observations and have some of my own. Five years is not long enough to nurture a friendship when one has other pressures, such as getting adjusted to a roomful of cadavers, studying for 'sigs,' exams and so on. I think those who lived together in the hostels had the opportunity to forge stronger bonds. Those of us who lived at home and commuted had a tendency to stick with their known groups, such as those from their own schools (the people they've known since kindergarten!) or the study groups they were assigned to. It was rare for someone with a last name beginning with 'A' to become good friends with someone whose last name began with 'S.' Often it was after graduation, during internship or thereafter, when you ended up in the same geographical area, that the friendships flourished. But, sometimes even that didn't work, because you may not have anything in common. The batch-mate who lives closest to me at the moment is not someone that I count as a good friend. We bump into each other at random events, but that is all. It takes a lot more, to become friends. I think the Blog is an excellent medium, because we discover things about each other, share ideas and so on. Mahen and Lucky and everyone else who keeps it going, a heartfelt thank you from me.

  5. Agree with you entirely Srianee. One of the reasons that prompted me to pen this post was my sense (imaginary or real) that some colleagues have high expectations from each other based merely on the fact that we had those 5 years together. I felt this was probabaly misplaced and that we must be realistic. As you have said, we have learnt a lot more about each other through the medium of this blog. I do firmly also believe that we must never forget that we are what we are today in the Profession, because of the good fortune to be born in a country where free education was available. This as I say is not a kind of Patriotism (although I have no problem if a person regards it as such), but a grateful recognition and appreciation of our good fortune. The other aspect is the quality of education we had. It therefore follows that any help or assistance we can give back is worthy, not as a sort of "debit/credit" balance, but generated by genuine gratitude and compassion.

  6. I agree, we should not take the gift of our high quality, free higher education for granted. I have come to the realization that I cannot save the whole world, so I do what I can for the people (and causes) whose paths cross mine, if and when I recognize a need.

  7. Mahen , I have re-read this post today, even though I had read it when it was posted, and thought it to be a very good analysis of friendships and how they can change over time. It is down to earth realistic, and I don’t see how it could have distressed anybody.I didn’t get to comment on it at the time owing to time pressures. However I specifically referred to it following ND’s article which appeared a few days later on the 26th. Going back to past posts and comments is of course a tricky business for me personally, and I often tend to miss them! As Srianee has said, timing is a crucial factor,depending on how busy each one gets at a particularr time. Your post was great - I loved your
    “I’ll drink to that “ glass too! Thank you.

    1. Thanks Rohini. Your observations are always valued.