(Fond remembrances by Jaya Joseph MD, Batch of 1983. Jaya is a Pediatrician who has specialized in Allergy & Immunology and is in private practice. She lives in Augusta, Georgia, with her husband Carmel, also Batch of 1983, and their two children.)
I’d been ordered to write “something” for this magazine by my sister and brother in law (Maya and Jijo). In between chauffeuring to karate lessons and our neighborhood block party, I howled in protest that I had no time and they we crazy to ask me to do something in two hours.
But then without warning the memories just started coming back and though I had no intention of doing so, I find myself traveling backwards in time. Back to 1983 and getting a letter in the mail that I had actually qualified in the written exam to go to the prestigious St.John’s Medical College in Bangalore, for their selection process. I’m sure so one will ever forget their five day interview process. The battery of psychological tests, the role playing hypothetical questions, the physical exam, and the ultimate Chamber of Horrors, the Board Interview with Bishops, Doctors, and whomsoever else was invited to join in the fun.
The excitement of getting in was of course quickly killed by a combination of anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology. Not to mention the joys of ragging! Sometimes I wonder how we made it through those first two years of Brain Vivas and Biochemical Equations. Of course there were those lighter moments with Community Medicine ROP’s and Medical Ethics. I can still remember Fr. Kalam’s first day. The boys on the backbenches filled the lecture hall with the sounds of howling wind. But they had definitely met their match! It’s great to see Fr. Kalam at the helm of our school now.
The para clinical and clinical years went by rapidly, full with the promise of almost being doctors. Then the Final MBBS exams and the race was over. What a joy to start internship and be guided by teachers who had watched us grow through the years.
Time has flown by. I cannot believe that it will soon be twenty years since I walked through the gates of St. John’s. I look back in gratitude for an alma mater I feel was a unique combination of academic, cultural, and social skills (besides giving me a husband along the way!).
I think of the faces that are gone from sight but not memory Dr. Gerry Mascarenhas, Dr. Alfred Mascarenhas, and others. I’m grateful for the opportunity to gather together with the alumni of St. John’s here in the US.
Most of all, I pray that St. John’s continues to grow and fulfill the mission for which it was created.