"You know your uncle was the only student in the history of the medical school here that was allowed him to pursue masters in surgery in his final year of undergraduate medical education?"
"Yes father, you told me this several times and my professors at the medical school tell me all the time," Srinivas replied reluctantly then he picked up Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens and immersed in it.
"Well then study hard to maintain my reputation and of your uncle," Srinivas father walked away with visible disappointment.
Srinivas father had so many hopes on his first son Srinivas. The entire family celebrated like a festival when Srinivas got admission into medical school few years ago. Since then it was a total disappointment. Srinivas failed every subject at least once if not twice. Srinivas father well known in town as Doctor for the poor was disappointed and embarrassed particularly since his son was failing at the hands of professors some his former classmates at the medical school.
Besides, Charles Dickens novels, Srinivas'sother favouritenovels were science fiction by Jules Verne, Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift and Moby-Dick.
While her husband almost gave up on his son, Srinivas mother never gave up, she believed that her son will graduate from the medical school some day and take up the practice her husband built over the years. She was always after him to make sure he pays more attention to his class books than his main distraction, reading anything other than text books; it could be magazines or story books especially by Charles Dickens which he read repeatedly like a bible. Srinivas mother, a high school graduate paid so much attention on his son's education, she knows the contents of medical text book by the cover. She refers to every text book by its author. For example, Best & Taylor for Physiology, Boyd for pathology, Davidson for Medicine and Bailey for Surgery and so on.
"Are you studying Bailey? You have a test in Surgery next Monday," shouted Srinivas mother.
Srinivas slowly dropped Oliver Twist on to the floor and picked up Bailey to satisfy his mother.
"I saw you. How many times you read that book. Don't you get bored reading same books again and again," Srinivas mother was persistent.
"Remember your own uncle failed you twice in Surgery."
"I wish he was more helpful, I did pass in theory and practical the last time but he failed me in the verbal test."
"I don't know, he has some differences with your father but he was not that kind of a person to hold against you for that." His mother was lamenting.
"You should have approached him to help me," Srinivas looked desperate.
"I did, he said he couldn't help anybody who couldn't help themselves."
"I wish he could me more helpful than that."
"He was saying you have to work hard and pass the test on your own."
"Well, I don't need his help then."
"All I am saying was you are smart enough to pass the tests if you could only focus on your studies rather than reading all that trash." Srinivas mother was in total frustration.
In addition to reading scores of magazines and story books that took away time from his studies, his interest in film music led him to collect hundreds of music records and cassettes. Srinivas designated a large portion of his room to stack them. Neighbors always dropped by to listen to his music collection.
After several years of struggling at the school, Srinivas somehow completed his education, during that period his father passed away. Srinivas took over his father's medical practice.
"I have to focus," Srinivas told himself again and again and yet he indulged in other distractions; this time more injurious to his health. His incessant appetite for good food in fine restaurants on a regular basis led him to put on weight and this lead to serious health problems.
A body can take so much abuse. After several years of reckless living, Srinivas went to bed one night not to wake up the next morning. His mother always wondered how a shy and introvert boy, always wants to read something and very good with his hands in building mechanical model sets turned into a helpless and vulnerable person to die young.
"Unlike his father, he was never cut out to be a doctor, he was very good with his hands in fixing things, he could have been a good electrician; he installed electrical wiring with fuses and everything for the new extension to the house some years ago or he could have run a news stand so he could read as much he wants all day, instead we put him through rough times at the medical school that destroyed him. But again he inherited bad genes from his father side; they were all losers and self destructive. It is all his bad karma, his fate was all written on his forehead before he born," years after Srinivas death, his mother grieves every day.