About the Author:
Afshan Qamar is a dentist by profession. This is the voice of a disheartened doctor, demanding for nothing but a peaceful living!
Hope this letter finds you in happiness and health. It is funny how in the age of emails we still write letters, but I figured it was easier to write, than to speak, about what this letter has to offer.
As you very well know, my medicine practice has started, Alhamdulillah. I consider myself lucky because very few people get to do what they love and make it a profession too. Medicine has always been my passion and the way you have supported me in my decision of pursuing it as a career is something I will always be grateful for. Now that I am finally a doctor, I find it very much satisfying to be able to serve my patients. The friends I have made on the way are supportive and kind. Work does not tire you out if it is something that you love and you have good friends around.
If you ask me, I am happy and content. However, I cannot shrug off the constant feeling of guilt inside me. Guilt was something I never expected out of this whole exercise. What reason is left for guilt if what you love doing is serving others? I have sat alone with myself countless evenings trying to find where this feeling is stemming from and I think I have found the answer.
Baba, maybe I always saw this world as a place where one can afford to dream big and have them fulfilled. It is true that when I chose to be a doctor, I essentially wanted to serve others and earn their love and respect. I also wanted to serve you and Ammi. All these years you both have toiled for our education. I have seen you give up on so many things you loved just so that we got what we loved. Do you think we never noticed? Of course we did. As for me, I pretended to look the other way because I did not know how to react. How to react when you see your parents grind themselves with labor and you yourself are the reason? Baba, every single time that happened, I vowed to myself that one day I would make all your efforts worth it.
Sometimes, the feeling of not coming up to your expectations eats me up from the inside. I know you never think of it in this way, but I do. My failures stand like a mirror in front of me and I cannot escape them. I have been honest and hardworking. My grades were always excellent, as my teachers used to put it. I always thought hard work, dedication and honesty were all you needed to be successful. I was wrong Baba.
I forgot how a big part of this world worked with money in your pocket and big, fat references in your bag. This is the time when I should have been able to support you and Ammi but couldn’t. The people who sit on big designations in the industry think it appropriate to cut down on our meager pays while they themselves enjoy benefits. I have no regret in choosing this field, but the people who have made it difficult for a doctor to survive decently in this society wear me out. People with luxurious cars, earning handsome amounts, living luxurious lives ask me not to run after money. I am surprised to hear this because contrary to them, I am not running after money. I am just asking for a decent way to live my life where I can support my parents and myself in a moderate way. Isn’t it everybody’s right?
I tried to reason with my seniors on this but they say I need to work twice as hard to earn a peaceful life for myself. Tell me Baba, where do I make the time for twice as much the hard work if I am already working 14 hours a day? I am clueless. Even after graduating from a well reputed institute, all I get to hear is that you need to have experience in order to get some better paid job, and that too, not more than Rs. 20,000 a month. Is it fair to a doctor? Is this the worth of a person who is considered a savior in society? Are we really asking for a lot?
This world has worn me down, Baba. Every now and then, I succumb to despair and think myself worthless. You and Ammi are understanding and kind; you would never imagine burdening us. However, before you tell me to relax and not worry about you, let me make it clear that I do worry about you. I want to give you back the immense love and care you both have always showered us with.
I meant for this letter to be a bridge between your heart and mine, so that you know your daughter loves you and cares for you. Life is not easy and dreams are hard to achieve, but not impossible. One day, I will make you proud. Until then, please find it in your heart to forgive me, if ever a thought of my failure should ever come to you.
Your ever-loving daughter.