"Would you mind if you were treated by a Quota Doctor." Ten days back, this was the question that a TV journo asked me when I was out for my morning jog.
And I cursed to myself. Just my luck. My 30 seconds of fame should when I am sweating profusely and in an unflattering outfit. But though I may not look my best, and look far worse when next to the journo who had time for makeup, I wanted the maximum time on TV, and that meant neither a Yes nor a No as an answer. So replied.
"You mean you wouldnt mind being treated by a Quota Doctor?" (I guess the journo would have thanked his stars. After all there could be claims of bias from the proquota guys, saying how come you never come up with an non-political intellectuals (Citizens who can speak English, even if they dont vote) who agrees with quota. And now the journo would be able to fill that quota of quotes and say their channel truly reflects society and all views.)
I replied "Well a doctor is a doctor. Just because a doctor got admission due to a quota doesnt mean the doctor wont pass out. Rather than worry about just the admission basis, shouldnt I also worry about how the doctor passed, whether there was any copying involved or some leaked question papers or big donation or some bigee's influence etc? Anyway right now I dont ask my doctor, did you pass out on top of the class or where you at the bottom of the class or if you cheated during exams ."
(Right now I judge my doctor by :
1.The ability to speak English
2.The car (bigger the car, more successful the doctor and more successful the doctor, better probably was the treatment).
3.And the skin color. (somehow fair skin means smarter people, as the fairness cream ads point out.))
Journo with an earnest expression "So you think merit isnt important in a holy profession?"
"Holy profession! Most of the doctors treat for fees. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing holy about it either. Why does the holiness disapper when One Crore girls are aborted in just twenty years due to ultrasound scans, making it tough for perhaps one crore guys to get dates. Why does the holiness disappear when I have to wait for couple of hours to see my doctor , though I have an appointment, but allows the medical representatives to walk in almost immediately. If the doctor got the admission by merit, then why cant they see the patients by merit? Why do they need medical representatives? And do they let me know on what basis they decide the merit of the medicine they prescribe to me? The price, the effectiveness or the presentation of the rep? And what about the doctor-lab nexus or kidney .."
Just when I paused to breath, I get the next question
"So you think after so many decades reservation is still required"
When millions still cant think "Caste no bar" when it comes to marriage, how can caste be irrelevant? And when will caste become no bar in a marriage? When the "lower caste" is a doctor or an engineer? Not when the other person is a scavenger? Why do we worry about quotas imposed by politicians and not about quotas imposed by society. Why do we not ask why after Tsunami only one caste handled the dead bodies without any protective gear in Tamilnadu? Why dont we care about these reservations and say hey its not fair? Because our children wont be affected by this, right? Forget caste, we wouldnt want our maid's daughter to become a doctor, if our daughter is just a nurse."
"So you think the economic criteria is important?"
Yes. The underpriveileged are not from just one caste. But lets not pretend to care for the poor in the "forward castes" just when there is a talk about reservations."
"So you agree with Arjun Singh and VP Singh in principle?"
I hate Arjun Singh, just like I hated the Joshi before him. They indulge in gimmicks and have "ideas" for IIMs and IITs etc, just so that they would get more coverage, instead of worrying about the datas like 50% of Indian children aged 6-18 do not go to school" or "In India, only 20% of habitation has a secondary school And VP Singh, he can talk about reservations at home, but goes abroad for his own medical treatment, because the water is cleaner there. Instead of reservations let there be a rule that all MPs and MLAs should get treatment from a government hospital in his/her constituency. And then ask these MPs and MLAs, do you mind a lot because you are treated in your constituency?"
"So you are for quota or against quota"
"I am against this hypocrisy of all things are right except the quota system. And I am against the hypocrisy of pretending that because doctors in some cities go back to work, all will be fine with our nation. Instead of talking about the doctors who are not working, why doesnt the media talk about the people who dont have a doctor. Why doesnt the media talk about sterlization camps where more than 100s are operated when the government norm is not more than 20 or the bicycle pumps used for putting air into the women's abdomen before laparoscopic operations or the lack of sterlization or that 63% of injections are unsafe in India?
Instead of talking about doctors from a majority community and the quota for them, why not talk about the lack of healthcare to the majorityIndians? Quota might be an issue and just because the medicos are striking it could become an urgent issue. But lets not forget the important issues, just because majority of Indians dont go on strikes.
I got a curt "Thank you" and I am still waiting for it to be aired. I have told all my friends and relatives have made the biggest sacrifice in life for me. They have stayed away from the remote and watched just that channel. I had even worked out a smooth shift schedule. And I had planned to transfer the tape and make it into a video blog. And they havent still aired my opinion.
Well if it was aired, maybe I would have been ostracized by my community and my doctor wouldnt be pleased, so perhaps it was for the best. I will just continue to jog everyday with designer clothes and make up and hope a TV crew asks me for my opinion on Rakhi Sawant.
Aargh Diaries is a fictional series.