I was having lunch in the hospital cafeteria in Palmerston North in New Zealand, with one of the indian doctors on my team. His name was Aquil. We had just started to work together, and he asked me where I was from. I told him I was from London.
“ Are you from London as well?” I asked.
“Why would you think I was from London?” he responded, “ I have an indian accent”
The thing is, I wasn’t actually joking. In my mind, people with indian accents come from London. That’s just what’s normal for me.
How is everyone?
Again, it’s been ages since my last update-more exams, a medical conference in Ireland, 2 weddings in London, the last of which I’m just returning from now. Thankfully, each trip gave me an opportunity to see my family. Mum hs been having really bad back pain, so I’ve been giving her massages, which she says have really helped her. She must have been in a lot of discomfort, as she didn’t once complain about me not being married, nor did she try to get me to go to church.
Looking after her meant that I didn’t get to see my friends much, but I have awesome friends, and whenever we meet, it’s like we’ve never been apart.
I’m starting a new contract in Melbourne next week, with a view to doing my final practical exam before relocating back to London. I can be closer to family and my schoolfriend, and also the music scene there actually exists, and you generally don’t have grovel like at an Oliver Twist audition to get a gig.
Tanya is one of my surgical colleagues. She’s australian of indian origin. We get on really well, partly because I make all my referrals to her in an indian accent. If she was an actual indian migrant with an indian accent herself, I’d never do that, as she might take it as an insult.
“You do a good indian accent!” she told me.
“I grew up in England” I replied.
[everyone in England can do at least a reasonable indian accent, irrespective of their ethnicity or cultural background]
After having dinner with Simon and Amit in London one year after graduating, I thought to myself that a lot of my good friends are indian, now. Not that that’s a problem. If it was problem, they wouldn’t be my friends. It was just an observation. I had a rampaging crush on an indian girl at medical school. If you go to medical school and leave with no indian friends [25% of UK medical graduates are from the indian subcontinent], then you almost certainly have a problem.
Some people had a problem.
Sadly, the law of averages dictates that there will always be some that do. Even though we live in what I used to believe to be liberal times, every so often I’d come across someone whose attitude leaves a lot to be desired to say the least.
I went to a catholic primary school, and a jewish secondary school, and then medical school [which is basically a hindu school], so I’ve always been in environments that promote tolerance and acceptance, which, obviously, is awesome. However, when you live in that bubble, you forget that not everyone has the opportunity to live among so many other different cultures [or if they do, they don’t wilfully interact] and appreciate that, in essence, we’re all just human beings at the end of the day.
You will certainly have heard of the UKs recent vote to leave the European Union [which still leaves me physically nauseous to this day] which was basically based on xenophobic propaganda and lies, revealing to me quite how many people in the place where I grew up don’t see us all as human beings.
It’s truly saddening. But not yet finalised. I’m hoping that common sense will prevail.
Until the next time.