I first came to Imphal in 2014 for school when I got admission into Maria Montessori. My father had heard about the school from his friends and so, he decided to get me an entrance form. Luckily, I was able to secure a spot in the school and hence my senior secondary days were spent in Imphal. Coming from Mao, I did not know how to speak Manipuri at the slightest. The only Manipuri word I knew, so ironically, was “Khangde,” and thankfully, this was enough to get me through living life in a totally different school, place and setting surrounded by new people who spoke languages I could not understand. It was a very tough journey for me given that I am also introverted. The first few months of trying to fit in was a struggle for me but I started enjoying the company of my new friends and we communicated in English, trying to close whatever gap languages, culture and demography brought between us. Slowly, I began to become one of the many pieces of a puzzle inside the small classroom in my then newly-adopted city. But as life is, we all parted ways sooner than I fathomed we would. In just 2 years time, my friends and I were all walking away on different paths, choosing for ourselves road to greatness and success.
For me, that road was towards the medical field. I was met with a very new journey of struggle, loss, failure, competition and the torment of having to choose between two roads.
My first attempt at the medical entrance test proved to be unsuccessful for me but because I was, at least, content with the marks I got, I decided I would give it another shot. At the same time, to avoid having nothing to fall back on, I sat for a college entrance and a medical coaching entrance test. This period of my life was the most confusing because I was left in a new city, just 2 years in, having thrown at me a cluster of choices and options that I needed to take to shape my life and I did not have any idea of what the outcome of any of these choices would be like. It was like playing with life itself. However, I soon found out that I had got into both the college entrance and the coaching entrance I gave the test for.
Presented with two roads to choose from, I pondered over it for some time. After I took some time to think, I decided to receive coaching classes instead and enrolled for my second attempt for my medical entrance test. There were times I felt hopeless and times that I wanted to just give up and return home, but realizing that I will not be fortunate enough to receive another phase of coaching if I did not get through the 2nd attempt, I held on and prepared for whatever was to come. I am now glad I held on and was consistent in my preparation because I got through the second attempt.
My first year in medical school at JNIMS in Imphal, my father was with me. He was with me in school as a parent as well as a patient. He came down with a chronic illness and had to run from hospital to hospital, from one doctor to the other. As any parent, he expected me to understand what was wrong with him because I was finally in medical school but as a first-year student just newly introduced to the medical field and human anatomy, I did not have the slightest idea of what ailed him. This phase of my life was another phase that was the hardest for me. My father had to undergo dialysis and a lot of operations as well. Sadly, he passed while I was still in school.
My elder brother bore all his hospital expenditures. The year I entered medical school, he also got a job in the engineering field. He still bears my medical school expenses and living expenses and I am always grateful for him, through and through.
In the face of loss and personal tragedy, it has come to my understanding, to great sorrow, that in life, we can never have everything good at once. Good things take time to come and with it, the bad things come along as well.
I experienced all sorts of happiness, success, joy, misery, sorrow and grief in a short span of time.
Yet, in all of the troupe of fortunate and unfortunate events life has shown me, I remain undaunted in my journey. I am determined to take what God has given me to the finish line. I am determined to walk, with grace, the path God has laid out for me. I have remained standing and will continue towards achieving my goals.
All at the mercy and grace of God.
Sani Phikow Kadena is from Mao and a final year MBBS student at JNIMS, Imphal
Iwui Story is a segment aimed to add tremendous life’s values and richness of human compassion through intimate stories of other people’s life experiences, adjoining a ‘reflective piece’ for each readers as the story present themselves with its richness of wisdom, of failures, achievements, tears, of joy, love and affection. A wholesome piece of life lessons and reflections. Look out for this space.