“The true teachers are those who help us think for ourselves.”
My teachers taught me to question, to think and to reason out. I have equal respect and admiration for all my teachers. This post is about a MBBS and MD teacher of mine.
He was very popular among MBBS students. We used to celebrate hostel days, girls’ hostel day known as Curie day and boys LOHA day (Lister, Osler, Harvey and Aschoff). During these hostel day celebrations, we conduct polls for the best teacher and he was always the best teacher amongst second MBBS students. I liked his classes and never had missed any of his class.
I am, further, sharing my experiences during my MD days of this teacher who inspired me then and keeps inspiring me.
I joined MD Pathology in JIPMER in 2012. We had rotation postings for 3 months each in histopathology, hematopathology and cytopathology. I was posted in hematopathology in October, November and December,2012. We also had one month compulsory casualty postings and I got posted there in October. Thus, November 1, 2012 was my first day in hematopathology posting and the initial few days went in getting oriented to what happens in the lab.
We had slide seminars every Monday 8 am to 9 am. So on November 5, we had hematology slides given by him for discussion. There was a slide of thalassemia which had many nucleated RBCs (nRBCs) and I didn’t know that when nucleated RBCs are there we have to correct the total leucocyte count (TLC) as given by the automated cell counter. I also had no clue on how to calculate the corrected TLC. I got ticked off nicely from this sir, he told one month is over and still you do not know the basics also. Of course, I felt bad, not knowing the basics and although I wanted to say that its only five days that I have been to the section, I could not say anything at that moment.
Then around 12 noon, he called me and asked if I could sit with him for writing reports on peripheral smear forms. He could not write as his right shoulder was injured and he was on a cast. That time he told me Sorry, I forgot that you were posted in casualty last month and this is your first week of posting. He further said, you could have told me that, couldn’t you? He had one tray of peripheral smear (20 slides) for reporting and he taught me each and every slide. I still remember, there was a slide of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, and he taught me how to identify myelocytes and metamyelocytes in that slide.
Till that point, I had great fear with him. But that moment, when he called me and told sorry and most importantly he taught me the slides and it was like compensating for missing my one month reporting with him, my respect for him grew immensely.
This incident also motivated me to learn faster and work more to compensate for loss of my one month hematopathology posting.
Another incident happened during my second year.
This professor is a quiz master and I was also interested in quizzing. So,we (this professor and I ) conducted a notice board quiz which was open to all every week. We would put up a few questions on the notice board of our department and the person who gave the correct answers the earliest was given a gift. One day, I put a quiz on the notice board outside our lecture theatre, called Pasteur Theatre. It was a notice board with glass doors and a wooden frame (something like the picture shown). I had pinned the questions more towards the right end of the notice board as there were other notices also, and after closing the door, the right side of the page was not visible.
This professor had noticed it. He walked up to the lab and asked me what is the point in putting the quiz if it is not seen clearly. He told me go and change it immediately. He told me whatever you do, try to do it perfectly. These words got imprinted in my mind so much, that after that episode whatever I do, even the smallest of works, I try to do it the maximum perfectness I can. Thank you sir for inculcating this in me.
He was quite strict but also a friendly and caring teacher.
He is Dr.Debdatta Basu, we call him affectionately Basu sir. He did his MBBS, then his MD Pathology and Senior Residency from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Delhi. He joined as Assistant Professor in JIPMER in 1995 and now he is the Professor and Head of department of pathology.
One of the reasons for my interest in hematopathogy is Basu sir.
This was Basu sir’s comment on my becoming an Assistant Professor. Thank you so much for your lovely comment sir. But I want to say here, that whatever heights I reach, I will always be your student sir and I feel happy about that.
Whatever we become and even as we are old, our parents see us like kids only. I feel it’s the same with teachers also, however you grow in career, I am still the same student whom you taught all the nuances of seeing a slide during my MD days sir.
You will be remembered by all your students for inspiring us.
I end with one of my favourite quotes by Dr.Abdul Kalam,
“Learning needs freedom to think and freedom to imagine, and both have to be facilitated by the teacher.”
I thank all my teachers for giving me the freedom to think, to question, to imagine and for facilitating my learning. One most important reason for where I am in my carrier now is all my teachers and I thank them wholeheartedly. I am always happy and proud to be their student.
Written by Dr.Priyavadhana