In 8th standard, I was given 44 out of 100 in English Grammar but was told that in any other school I would have got a 78. Back then distinction (>75) used to be a big deal. This same teacher was responsible for me getting best of six canes on my butt, for simply smiling in class. Yes, you read that right. For smiling.
It was my biology teacher in 11th standard who gave me 11 grace even though only 10 marks were allowed in all subjects put together. I needed more than that in one single subject alone. She mocked me when I told her that I might be interested in doing medicine. It wasn't that I didn't like Biology. I loved Biology because I have always been intrigued by this magic called LIFE. I just didn't like how she treated me. I simply wasn't a big fan of hers. I started disliking whatever she had to 'teach' even more than before.
I really don't remember much of medical college because I want it just fast forward as I was just not fitting in. I somehow landed up in Sports Medicine with the teacher who changed it all for me. It took me a decade to get my confidence back in Biology / Medicine and more importantly in myself, after not so nice treatment from my biology teacher in school. She had shaken my confidence from their very foundation. I didn't have the courage in my medical school to ever take any decent initiative. She had managed to drill in me that I wasn't good enough. Dr Peter L Gregory was far more than my course director while I was doing my masters in Sports Medicine. He has been my role model, my mentor. Such an amazing human being. Thank you for being there. You totally turned it around for me. My rock.
Besides everything else, it was that one line he said when I was to present 'our' selected research paper in front of ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board). I was nervous like hell. I had stage fright but more than that here were folks whose work I had read during my masters or had heard about them in Sports Medicine journals.
He just came up to me and said, "they might only know a thing or two about what you have spent your whole year on. Just teach them what you have learnt over this time. If they still have any questions, I'll be at the back, I'll manage them." And I was good to go. No questions ended up being addressed to Peter.
About 12 years back, I was invited by one of the best hospitals in Bangalore to create and head a Sports Medicine department. Dr Nagra, my dean from medical college, Dr K J Shetty, HoD Medicine and Dr Karunbhaiah, Professor in Medicine, were instrumental in helping me settle down by having the confidence to refer patients to me. But then there were a couple of others who had been my teachers in medical school but clearly weren't happy with my success. There were other seniors who told me if I was getting my salary, why was I so vocal. I was vocal because I always wanted perfection. I wanted to deliver to my patients what I had come down for from London. It wasn't about the money. It never was.
Mrs Rai and Mrs Dimri, you might not believe it but I have been writing for Mint, unarguably the best Indian newspaper, for almost a decade now, besides having been invited to author a book on Pain by Penguin Publications. Today I take head-on the so called experts in my chosen specialties (Pain & Sports-medicine) because I am very passionate about what I do and none of it is work to me. It's pure fun. Now I tell the world to not only keep miling but smiling too.
I also put together a race, La Ultra - The High, which has been recommended by Red Bull as one of the 12 ultra races in the world to run in 2018. For that I have to thank Mr Champa Dhakpa for having hit me on my butt some 33 years ago. You having introduced me to running changed my whole life.
It's the minority that end up shaping you, not the majority. And we still keep talking about the majority. Always remember that it's the minority that lead and its the majority that follow. Ignore all the quick-sand around, even if they fall in the teacher category. You need to find your Peter, your rock. And you will.
Thanks a million miles. We need a lot more of you out there.
Keep miling and smiling.