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