Government Medical College Chandigarh Old Students Association





9th September 1991 - It was a bright and vibrant day and a great day indeed for a bunch of 50 fresh plus two graduates as they gathered outside that monolithic Prayas building in sector 38. The Prayas building itself was then under construction with only the lower three floors ready for use. By eight in the morning the whole building probably had a strength of 70 people, including the faculty and junior and office staff, and that was all GMC (then called CMC – Chandigarh Medical College) could boast of as strength. “Well, probably that’s all we need”, we thought as we gingerly took our first steps up the five story building (the building was not to have an elevator for another 2 years). Those moments were great as each of us thought that he or she was going to change the shape of medicine on the planet.  

Every thing in the building was brand new, complete with a set of brand new students shuffling uncomfortably in spotless white new lab coats to a set of brand new teachers. A new lecture hall had hurriedly been put together for accommodating the new batch. There were fifty chairs in the room (of course, no tables) and the chairs were marked Govt College for Men Chandigarh, proudly declaring their allegiance to their Alma. But the podium was brand new, which Dr Chopra, with his infectious smile and hawkish eyes readily occupied. He welcomed everybody and all the kids clapped. It was getting to be so much fun. He then introduced the faculty –an entire group consisting of seven people - two each in Anatomy and Biochemistry and three in Physiology. There were multiple rounds of applause for everybody and then the “ceremony” ended and the first day of GMC started. 

Enter Dr.Bharti, then head of Biochemistry, who later over the months became more popular for her hairstyle and demeanor then her expertise over her subject. The first thing she did was make all of us sit in rows according to our roll numbers - sounded very reasonable and organized at that time - but now in retrospect reflects the vanity of our atomic origin. “This is the only day when you will smile. The only other day in MBBS when you will smile is when you graduate.” she retorted.

As the day unfolded we were bundled up into batches and exported into the dissection hall and laboratories. The labs were, of course, in the process of being established and the only thing that faintly resembled an academic institutional setup was the blackboard on the wall. But of course we were all fresh and young and so we enjoyed the experience of sitting on the floor for our classes. We were soon exposed to the perils of Dr Jaswinder Kaur, then head of Anatomy (to be popularly known as JK and then occasionally more colorful names) and our initial experience itself defined the agony of the endless humiliation in the dissection hall in the days to come.

After shuffling through the various lectures and labs we finally made it to the end of the day and as we trudged down the stairs none of us realized the impact of the tumultuous years that lay ahead of us. We have come a long way since then with a unique set of bitter-sweet experiences, with struggles ranging from getting a water cooler installed to getting the college listed in the WHO list of internationally recognized medical schools. All these experiences have gone a long way in carving our personalities. And now, in retrospect, I still cherish the joy and pleasure I experienced that day on being a part of a new institution - a feeling that has never been surpassed to this date.

Hemender Singh

(Class of ’91)




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