Moulding me from Clay to an Orthopaedic Surgeon - Dr. Manoj Singrakhia

This Sunday, it was Daddy's Day out and I was playing with my 3y old daughter. While observing her play with her Play-Dough and creating various objects and animals from the dough and asking me on and on what she has made, a nostalgic feeling ran through my body like lightening spark about the way I was a bag of clay in 1999 moulded into a confident, elegant, communicable, skilled Orthopaedic Surgeon in 2002.

This was somewhere mid 1999 when I entered The Prestigious Department of Orthopaedics as a first year resident. I was Dr MLS student and was posted under Terror Dr Dussa along with Roshan in the guidance of Alaric and Manish Agarwal. The initial 15-20days were torturous as both Roshan and me were not use to grilling from 4.30 am to 1am the next day. Counting and recounting cortical screws and plates and making boxes and autoclaving so that we don't miss anything on table and get a verbal diarrhoea from Kumar. Alaric was a solace in the highly typical KEM unit of ours. He was the one who kept on encouraging both of us with his one liners and pun intended criticisms. Manish Agarwal was a walking talking encyclopaedia and use to always asks questions which no book till date have any answers. The only problem was if we don't answer the questions we don't get any cutting. So for the first few months we were FRCS. Gradually we got into the groove of residency and I remember after the initial 2m all our blood collections were done by the sisters in the ward, the blood was arranged by giving few pain killers and gel to the blood bank officers, special chai was offered anytime of the day by the wardboys. This made us feel like that we belong here. The last few days of the first post was when we should try our best to impress MMD as he decides the posting. Best two residents will be selected for VJL unit, the next two or three goes to Cooper.

Second post started with VJL unit and I was glad to find a friend for life Shantanu Deshpande as my co-houseman. Shantya and me were headed by two 4th posters Nandan and Surya. Both personalities moving in opposite directions, where Nandan is happy go lucky ( was still in euphoria of getting KEM Ortho after 2y) and Surya was by the books, if this is written or if Amit Bibra says that this is what VJL Sir wants that's how it should be. I remember my second post beginning by a distinct memory, VJL Sir doing C1-2 transarticular screws and after putting guide wires, I was asked to take check- X-rays. Sir in his usual style told me Dost acha X-ray aana chahiye. I was so thrilled that Sir called me dost, my happiness was ruined as I walked outside the OT when one of the OT attendant whispered in my ears that if he says Dost, it's a warning that if you don't get the X-rays right, you are screwed. And as my luck had, the X-rays was overexposed and I had a bad thrashing which I feel both VJL Sir and me remember till date. I always have that sense of guilt whenever I face Sir. But today me being a Spine Surgeon is only because of the dedication and determination that I saw in Sirs surgical acumen and clinical judgement towards his patients. I saw Sir sitting in the ward next to his operated Deformity cases. This commitment from HOD is not heard of or not seen before. As a Eklavya, I picked many many pearls of surgical and clinical wisdom from my second post. So for one whole year I was NBM on the surgical front. Impressed MMD so much that he sent me to Cooper under Dr RNK with Dr Prabhu as the lecturer.

Cooper was a posting which gave me wings, under Katre Sir and Prabhu Sir with a surgical well equipped Registrar in the form of Ashish Ranade, I started gaining confidence in my surgical skills. Had Shantanu as a person to go to for all the ups and downs of residency and to learn sophistication we both had Ashutosh Chaudhari. After enjoying a gala time in the heart of the city- Juhu, I returned as a confident 4th post registrar with PBB Sir.

It was with PBB sir having Sanjay and Ashish Agarwal as our resident I found the best friend of Orthopaedics in my Co-registrar Nitin Modi. The six months that we had along with Vaijyanath and Yogesh Vaidya still gives me a laugh. The chhi chhi calling of Vaijyanath to the staff nurses and the anaesthetist. The strong face of Yogesh and dedication toward his work. The confidence PBB Sir had on us during the entire post. Sanjay Lala assisting us for Spine and complex trauma. It was post which I never wanted to end. Time of our lives which whenever I meet Nitin, Vaiju or Yogesh we cherish.

Home coming was when both Roshan and myself were made registrars with MLS unit and Naushad Sir and Khandelwal Sir were our lecturers. Had a great relationship of a true guide and student with Naushad Sir. In few months both Roshan and I were capable enough to handle the nuances between RCHK and the superior authorities. We remember a incident in our 5th post that we all registrars- Swapnil, Phadu, Makya, Aanchal, Sanjay, LK, Tarang, Sujith gelled so well with each other that if someone has not done a particular fracture for e.g. Fracture Talus, the registrar will call the other friend and make him complete his list before the exam Post begins. The other thing about our batch was whenever anyone needed holidays or a vacation the other registrar will handle his unit so well that the bosses never complained. We went to everyone's houses during Diwali and Christmas. 

Today after 2002, my entire residency feels like a dream where I entered as a boy and The Prestigious Alma mater of mine made me a Man who is ready to confront the gruelling demands of the society. What KEM has done to me comes next to only what my Mother has made of me. 

Koti Koti Pranaam 

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