I recently read the novel "Pyramid of Virgin Dreams" by Vipul Mitra. He affectionately described the pains and pleasures of multiple transfers because of his father’s job as DSP and later himself as an IAS officer. While reading it occurred to me, I have had a similar life of changing a place many times nearly every alternate year. So why not narrate my story and the article is here!
A nomad means someone who lives by travelling from place to place - moving around all the while.I was a nomad for the initial 28 years of my life, staying and studying at more than 15 places. A year or two and change of the place again!
My father was a government officer, starting his career in 1946 at Khara Abrama (Dist. Navsari) in the Animal Husbandry Department, followed by Agricultural Department and finally retired at Chikhali in 1983 as Head of Benor Scheme for three tehsils. The job demanded frequent transfers for either promotion, mutual transfer or a legal compulsion after a certain period. So, he, being the head of the family of 10, opted to shift after every transfer.
Starting from primary school to college, I had to change places several times. Let me tell you the story with full details of my first 28 years of a nomadic life wandering and changing places at regular intervals.
Primary education began in 1957 at the age of seven in the standard I at Gujarati medium government school in Khara Abrama (Dist. Navsari). After three and a half years, we changed to the second half of the academic year of standard IV at Parujan (near Maroli, Dist. Navsari). Here I could complete the IV and first half of standard V. Well, the third school was at Mahemdavad (Dist. Kheda) where I was in the second half of standard V, VI and first half-year of VII. And again, I had to leave for Khara Abrama to complete the standard VII! Thus, the seven years of primary school education showed me four schools.
Four schools to complete standard I to VII, that too, at the mid of the academic year on three occasions! Every time not only the school changed, the neighbours and friends also changed to leave behind the old ones for new ones. Well, it was certainly a pleasant experience to have a new circle every time at school and at home.
My secondary school education began at D S & B B Model Multipurpose Govt. High school, Khara Abrama. The student joining this school had to choose one of the subjects out of Technical, Agriculture, Commerce, Drawing or Music. I opted for ‘Commerce’. But after half a year of study, I had to leave for D C O Highschool, Killa Pardi. There was no provision or requirement of special or different subjects there, all were taught the same subjects. If I had continued my study, I would have become a person with commerce skills and possibly become a Chartered Accountant. Yes, but I would never have been a doctor. Here I did my continuous study for three and a half years to complete my S S C.
Your reading this report with interest might have shown you that I had to change the schools five times half ways, without completing the academic year. You would certainly appreciate that studying half a year at one school and the second half elsewhere is a great task. With full humbleness, I must tell you that with all those inconveniences I was always the topper.
I stayed at Paria (near Udvada) for two months to prepare for SSC examinations. My father was doing a job at a newly begun Paria Block Development Office.
Later, I got college admission at N K M Science College, Valsad. Here I studied for two years to get admission at Government Medical College, Surat. I did my preparation for the F Y, B Sc examination at Koparli (near Vapi) to get the best possible result for the medical college admission on merits.
My six years (1969-1975) of my medical graduation were at Surat. After passing M B B S, my merit could set me for M S and D O M S in Ophthalmology at M & J Institute of Ophthalmology of B J Medical College, Ahmedabad. (1975-78)
After the completion of studies, I took up a job at Rotary Eye Institute, Navsari. Leaving the job not suitable for my inherited nature, I started my private practice at Desai Eye Hospital, Bilimora. That was the last stop of my nomadic life – the great nomadic journey. I have been in Bilimora for the last 42 years. I cannot accept the fact for myself that I am stable at one place for such a long duration and counting continues. Why I have not moved – changed the last place till today despite all odds is a subject of speculation and analysis.
Wife of a nomad cannot be different!
Dr Bhavana (Devyani) Desai and I got married on 04-Mar-1976 at Vapi at her residence and her nomadic period began. After completing her M B B S at Goa Medical College, she opted for an initial internship at B J Medical College, Ahmedabad and completed the terminal part in Goa again. Lately, she took up a job at Ramaben Hospital, Navsari. She started her private general practice at Pandya Street, Navsari and later at Jagvad Street, Khara Abrama. Her nomadic journey also ended in Bilimora in 1979 when she joined Mengushi Hospital, Bilimora as Honorary Medical Officer. Goa-Ahmedabad-Goa-Navsari- Abrama and finally at Bilimora. Six places in just two years!
To conclude, if I deduct the first 10 years of stay at Khara Abrama – my birthplace and native, I have seen (and lived at) 15 places in the following 18 years being a wanderer till the age of 28. Khara Abrama-Parujan-Mahemdavad was the northward first journey of Gujarat. Later travelling again to the south at Khara Abrama-Killa Pardi-Paria-Koparli and Umbergaon. Here my second round began to travel to North from South, from Valsad-Surat to Ahmedabad and the return journey again to South to Navsari-Khara Abrama and ultimately, Bilimora. I can say maybe all are not so lucky to have a wonderful nomadic first life.
All in all, staying at fifteen places in eighteen years in itself should be a record of a great nomadic event!