Chandigarh: Sector 25 is in Chandigarh. And it is not. Tiny lanes, labyrinths, people sitting on charpoys outside their homes….a sharp contrast to the city’s clinical and brutalist architecture. But it is this area that makes the shiny city run — electricians, plumbers, support staff factory, and workers call it home. And it is here that sometimes, some people dream with eyes open, and sometimes realise them too.
One of them is Priya (19), daughter of a safai karamchari at a government polyclinic, and KMC support worker at a civil hospital, who has secured admission to the MBBS programme of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH)-32, Chandigarh, with a category rank of nine.
She does not talk too much, puts down the tray of tea, sits straight, and is ready for what seems to be an ‘interrogation’. Smiles casually when asked about her academic life. The fact that she has always been a scholarship student is said as an aside.
“I have always wanted to be a doctor ever since grade sixth. A surgeon to be precise,” says the youngster, who studied at the Jawahar Navodya Vidyala, Sector 25, a residential school, from Class 6 to 12.
The father, Hanuman Prasad elaborates, “As a child, she would accompany me to the polyclinic often and looking at the medical officers, would always ask: ‘Who are they? I think that is when the fascination to be a doctor took root.'”
Priya looks at him, but does not say anything.
Post her class 12, it was time to undergo coaching for NEET. Considering the fact most private institutes charge a bomb, she cleared the entrance and interview to get admission to Dakshina Foundation, which prepares students for JEE and NEET, and for one year, living in Pune.
“The classes would start at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Even during our leisure time, we would be clearing doubts. Looking back, it was all worth it.”
She says people have been kind to her — friends, relatives, and family members — all encouraging her to never lose sight of her goal.
“In particular, my PT instructor at school, Mukta ma’am — she lent a feeling of always being there…”
This National Basketball player, also a gold medalist in martial arts looks tired now. This has been a big day, but she wants to show the badge she has received from GMCH. It is made of cloth. She handles it more delicately than paper.
The mother, Saroj Kumari will make noodles for her tonight, in the hope that she will finally eat.