“Hey, nice to meet you! I am X.”
“Hi, I am Z. I am a _ year medical student.”
Now here X is a person from a non-medical stream (who happens to be extremely judgmental) and what goes on his/her mind after this? “Oh, medical student. That explains the glasses. Must be a big-time nerd.” And other thoughts along the lines of boring, predictably spends weekends locked up in a library and so on.
But is it so? For ages, medical students have been perceived to be just a bunch of nerds who are stuck dissecting cadavers or knee-deep in thick books with hardly any other interests or a social life. Let me tell you, that is a piece of baloney at its purest form! Now don’t take my word for it. But you’ll surely take his. As MB Mangalore set out to interview Mishaal Talish , a final year MBBS student of KMC Mangalore; we found that just a “ medical student” doesn’t quite say it . Hailing from Kochi, Kerala he joined MBBS in 2010 and went on to be a three-time gold medalist (and counting), General Secretary of the Student’s Council, drummer, guitarist and vocalist. I guess now I got your attention?
MB Mangalore : Why did you want to join MBBS?
Mishaal Talish : At first I was in two minds actually. I wasn’t very sure about which one it’s going to be. I even took coaching for engineering entrance exams in 12th standard. But after 12th I decided to give both the medical and engineering entrance tests. I got through MAHE entrance exam. First month after joining KMC Mangalore, I still had my doubts. But by the second month, I realized how interesting it was.
MB Mangalore : How was it being a part of the College Band “Altered Sensorium” ?
Mishaal Talish : I was a part of the school band and we performed at school functions and inter-school competitions. We formed Altered Sensorium with some seniors and I was the drummer of the band. We performed at college events and then won the first prize in Pegasus, CMC Vellore and NIT Surathkal. The audience in NIT was cheering in unison and we just lost ourselves to the energy of the crowd and music. It was phenomenal. I wanted to perform at G6 Music café and go for recording and stuff. My friend Rachit, who is a guitarist, was also quite interested. Together with Bodhi and Alister we formed our acoustic band, “Area 41”.
Mishaal Talish : Performing live is a lot of fun, depends largely on the type of reception the audience gives. The energy of the cheers gets to you, and you forget everything else except that moment. Recording as compared is a much more lengthy and difficult process. In case of professional bands, they need one whole day just to record the vocals. We had to do both the vocals and the instrumental in about 6 hours. One note off and then the whole thing has to be repeated. The sync with metronome needs to be spot on. It is a lot of work. But the end result is worth it.
MB Mangalore : Studies, duties of being General Secretary and band practices. All at once in your second and third year. How did you manage it all together?
Mishaal Talish : I didn’t really plan anything. I usually don’t until a month before the university exams, and just did what I always do. When I study, I can’t sit at one place for a long time and keep reading. I just study till I get bored and take a break of 15-20 minutes. I study as per my capacity, make notes of the topics I find difficult and revise it before the exams. Side by side I keep doing something or the other.
MB Mangalore : You had recently gone to Netherlands for a month-long internship. How was your experience there? How is the scenario different from Indian medical colleges?
Mishaal Talish : The place itself and the people were the best part of the trip. Not to forget the train journeys. The place is beautiful and my favourites were Vlieland, an island in the North Sea and Groningen. The only thing which put me off a little was the food. I love Indian cuisine, spicy food. It’s mostly milk, bread and vegetables there; quite bland. The medical colleges there are more clinically oriented than mere rote-learning. To cite an example, they know the Krebs’s cycle and its clinical applications, but not necessarily name of all the enzymes involved in the cycle. Before going there I didn’t really know whether I wanted to do my PG from India or outside. My experience there helped me decide and I’m definitely preparing for USMLE and plan to give it next year.
MB Mangalore : How do you spend your free time?
Mishaal Talish : I go out a lot, almost every other day. The places I go to often include City Centre food court, Kudla, Shabeer’s Shop and Arabian treat. I like watching movies and television series , don’t have a particular favourite though, mostly thrillers and comedy movies. And of course listening to music and learning new songs on the guitar.Right now I’m hooked on to Imagine Dragons and Dave Matthews band.
MB Mangalore :Would you like to share with us any funny incident which happened in your postings/classes?
Mishaal Talish : There are many actually. One of them was last year, in our ENT posting. My friends, Harshita and Rohit and I usually skip breakfast. So in between postings we felt hungry and in order to leave as early as possible we snuck out to the Attavar Canteen and sat in the Staff Section. We ordered sandwiches, were enjoying our food thinking we were the only ones there. We were just about to finish when our ENT professors walked in and we just gulped down the rest of the sandwiches. As we started to leave, one of the professors asked Rohit, “How were the sandwiches?”And he answered, “It was good sir.” And as he walked out, his expression was priceless.
To all the KMC Mangalore students and staff, make sure you attend this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi function at TMA Pai Hall on the evening of 29th August’14 as the Altered Sensorium takes the stage one last time.Get ready to be dazzled.
So folks,the curious case has been cracked. Yes, a medical student can study, be involved in extra-curricular activities and have fun. No matter what the profession or attire, you should never judge a person. We all are born unique and have our own beautiful perks and flaws. In order to live life to the fullest , one must appreciate that in themselves as well as in others.:-)Send in your thoughts, views , feedback and any med-school experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
This interview was taken by Lydia Miriam Abraham and Sreya Banerjee.