Government Medical College Chandigarh Old Students Association





As the first fifty of our college, we in the first batch of GMC got used to be associated with so many “firsts” that they became a way of life. In fact when it came down to not being associated with some, a situation almost resembling an identity crisis developed which used to last till we blew off another (now in retrospect, stupid) act. This idea of talking about some of those situations came to our mind recently and I sat down to reminisce some as a sideline to our newsletter. Though some of these ‘unos’ have been indeed worth credit, some of them are best forgotten but for the archives sake I will mention them here.

The First Bunk

Planned for no specific reason, the bunk was an outright success with total absence and the whole class instead collecting in front of Neelam cinema hall to watch the Madhuri extravaganza ‘Saajan’. The planning was complete with an espionage team standing in camouflaged dress at the college roundabout (then in Prayaas building) to check on the ‘sneakers’. This was followed by a knee-jerk rebound thrashing by the six member strong faculty. Official memos were sent by Dr Chopra (the principal) to parents of all students (the efforts so many of us had to put in to bribe the mailmen for a special hand delivery of that ‘important’ letter are best forgotten). From then started the saga of ‘apology letters’ that plagued the GMCites for ages to come. We also ended up celebrating the ‘first Lohri’ of GMC, which incidentally happened to fall on the day after the ‘first bunk’. Organized within a few hours, it was a last ditch effort to do some damage control (it was sheer coincidence that an anatomy stage had been previously scheduled on the mass bunk day!). Needless to say, the tireless all night singing of ‘Sundar mundriye…’ had no effect on Dr Jaswinder Shergill (then head of anatomy) and the whole class collectively scored a total of less than 5 marks (we were in fact surprised it was not zero). In retrospect the whole ‘bunk’ episode probably just deserves fading into oblivion.

The First Cafeteria

Nobody can imagine the joy of our batch when the first ramshackle cafeteria was set up after pestering the principal for many months. It started with five tables to sit and boasted of the menu of tea, cookies and cake. It soon developed into the official ‘hanging out place’ for everyone. The crowd used to especially build up during the afternoon dissection sessions as more and more people got kicked out of the D-hall (at times for days together). Those wonderful afternoons still linger in the memories of so many of us.

The First Elevator

The Prayaas building did not have an elevator for many months. When one was finally installed it landed up being a chauffeur driven elevator (luxuries only known to India) and cut the commute up the five floors. However the joy was short lived as Dr Chopra soon slapped on an order for the elevator to be used only by the faculty. Well, needless to add that we all had to comply. We soon came across an idea to get solace form this ‘insult’. We made sure that anybody who went past that elevator pressed all the buttons so as to convert the smooth ride for the faculty into a local bus trip stopping at all floors. The more recent graduates can never get this feeling after being pampered at the new Sector-32 hospital building.

The First ‘Rejection’

There is no feeling worse than feeling rejected. And we, the first fifty, got a big and heavy dose of that very early in our course. Very soon we realized that the existence of our college was far from the ‘goody good’ feeling projected by our miniscule faculty. Struggles at the very basic level of getting clinical training in the local sector 16 hospital were a rude awakening. Then followed our monumental strike and the whole experience with the administrative system was disgusting. We found ourselves stuck in a situational whirlwind buffeted equally by administrative indifference and personal egos. The MCI (medical council of India) threw in the final stinker with ultimate rejection of any recognition, spiraling the career of all students (the first batch being the most affected) into an abyss. The legal route was the last option. All the students (including the 4 junior batches) plugged in their support for the petition against the MCI, the state and local governments and the President of India for playing with the careers of so many students. In the end, our efforts did bring fruit with the college receiving unconditional recognition from the MCI. In those chaotic six months I experienced many firsts. The first visit to a lawyer’s office, first visit to the Supreme Court, the first letter to the chairman of WHO amongst many others. And rest all is history.

The purpose behind these articles in the chronicles of GMC is not so much to laugh at our miniscule origins but also to remember the long road we all have tread to come where we are today. We stand at the crossroads of moving ahead and giving ourselves and our college a new identity at the international level (we are already nationally acclaimed). And every single effort to bring forth that identity collectively helps the whole GMC community.

We encourage all the batches to contribute their experiences to make us and everybody else familiar with their struggles. Needless to add that unless someone writes about them nobody comes to know of them.

Hemender Singh

(’01 batch)




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