How I Chose My Career

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Growing up in a family which valued education more than anything else, it was a natural choice for me to pursue an active challenging profession. But, I didn’t want to follow a career path that had already been chosen for me, as it is usually the case in countries like India. I wanted to discover it myself and this true incident is an account of how I chose to be a doctor. I was fifteen when the incident happened and I remember everything about that day. I was flying to New Delhi from my hometown Hyderabad, a city in the southern part of India to visit my grandparents for the summer. As I settled down and looked at the other passengers trickle down the aisle, I hoped for a beautiful teen girl to occupy the vacant seat beside my window seat. But, an old lady who looked to be in her fifties huffed and puffed her way along the aisle and stopped at my row, checked the seat number and dropped herself into the seat. I gave an invisible sigh and looked out of the window after reciprocating her welcoming smile with a nod. After the initial take off and reaching the cruising altitude, the lady looked at me and started a conversation with a bright smile, “kaha ja rahe ho beta?” which means, “where are you going son?” in Hindi. I put my comics aside and curtly replied that I was going to New Delhi to meet my grandparents. She seemed so happy with the prospect that I was travelling alone that she continued the conversation. Initially, I wanted to show her my disappointment that she replaced the position of my imaginary future girlfriend, but then her warm smile caught onto me. Pretty soon, I learned a great deal about her life, her family, her neighbors and her five year old dog. But, the moment I learnt that her son served the Indian Army and had perished in the line of fire during a conflict with Pakistan, I gained a new respect for her. An hour into the flight, the plane caught some turbulence. The turbulence grew stronger for a brief moment of time and it shook the...
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