It is a man’s vocation, I was told.
It is a ferocious jungle, I was told.
I would be eaten alive, I was told.
The boys would taunt, I was told.
The men would tease, I was told.
I would never be taken seriously, I was told.
I would never make friends, I was told.
It would be too hard, I was told.
I wouldn’t make it, I was told.
There wouldn’t be any of the female species, they said
If yes, they would be the jealous and competitive kind, they said.
They would be envious and spiteful, they said.
Women who wish to excel at the same thing…
Can never be friends, they said.
It may start well, but it always ends bad, they said.
They predicted arguments.
They predicted stealth and deception.
They predicted bickering and pettiness.
They predicted early propriety and ultimate animosity.
They predicted separation.
They predicted doom.
The three “mask- eteers”.
We were wary and hesitant.
We were as different as chalk, cheese and coconut.
We spoke different tongues.
We wore dissimilar garbs.
We were women fighting a perceived man’s battle..
Pitted together by fate.
Time and distress bound us together.
Survival instincts glued us further.
We bucked all trends.
Failed all predictions.
Falsified all prophesies.
We chose to become friends.
Friends of a rare kind.
The kind that makes no excuses.
The kind that needs no explanation.
The kind that does not fall prey to gossip and envy.
Tested. All- withstanding.
We stuck up for each other, and stood by one another.
We did back- to back marathon 72 hour “duties”
All so the other can go off to meet “the love”.
We stayed up late and told stories.
We shared dreams and fears.
Laughed till our bellies hurt.
Cried on each other’s shoulder, till the tears ran dry.
Slept on the minuscule duty- room beds, arms entangled and legs askew.
The ward- rounds became bearable.
The marathon surgeries were sanguine.
The endless tea- parties.
The midnight coffee breaks.
The tomes we slept on.
The scrubs that were our second skin cum pyjamas.
The flat tires.
The road trips.
Village shopping trips.
And the ceaseless noshing.
I miss them all.
The tumultuous years now made treasured.
When viewed through the lenses of time.
Occurrences now seem cherished rather than distressing.
Now that they are mere memories.
Aah, those memories!
Sweet and sour.
Happy and sad.
Mirthful and distressing.
Now, all mangled.
All glossed over.
I miss thee, my comrades.
I wish thee well.
I hope thou misses me as much.
The days were dark, but your friendship shone bright.
Speak, we may not often.
But you are etched in dusty corners of my fettered mind.
The dust only shrouds the brilliance of thine memories.
It can once again be polished to a shine.
Whenever we choose to.
Fair weather buddies are a dime a dozen.
Bad weather comrades are but one eyed, talking unicorns.
Rare. Precious. Seldom begotten.
Thank you dear fellow “mask- eteers”
And I truly hope we MAKE IT!
Dedicated to dearest Dr A and Dr S.
Till next time…