The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor at 40, salaam Ganesh
- ‘Failure’ till 35th birthday, Calcutta man performs miracle

Calcutta, Sept. 13: Until nearly his 35th birthday, Ganesh Chandra, son of Durga Dey, of Lake Gardens had no work but would tell his friends at the evening adda that given some luck, he would have made it big.

At 40, Ganesh is a doctor and not because he struck luck.

“My dreams have been realised and I won a personal battle when I passed the MBBS exam this year,” said Ganesh, who has begun his internship.

In 1984, he passed his Higher Secondary examination, faring well enough to secure admission in chemistry honours at City College in Amherst Street in north Calcutta.

Ganesh could not complete his honours degree and finished as a pass course graduate, possibly because of too much play and too little study.

“I could not hold on to my honours,” he recalled.

After graduation, the job hunting started. Persuaded by friends, Ganesh wrote a number of competitive exams to make something of himself, but for one reason or another could never land a job even after clearing the interview.

“Every evening, he would come back frustrated to our regular haunt for our usual adda,” said childhood friend Samik Jana.

Right through the 1980s and much of the 1990s, Ganesh would tell his friends at Jadavpur and Lake Gardens and, most important, himself that if a few things went his way, he could also have been a successful man.

“Don’t forget that I came up with excellent results in both Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations. I can do wonders if I want to,” he would say, possibly to keep himself from falling apart under pressure ' social and personal ' of not having work.

One day before his 35th birthday, his friends asked him: “Can you accomplish anything in life, or do you want to rot the rest of your days'”

Could he prove them wrong'

“I told them that I had determination and I could do anything,” Ganesh recounted.

That was in the summer of 1999. One morning, his friends Samik, Lakshmikanta and Milan dragged him to A.K. Maiti, who runs a joint entrance coaching centre. “I was quite stunned to see that a 35-year-old man had the courage to go through the rigours a teenager finds backbreaking,” said Maiti.

Ganesh started taking tutorials under Maiti and in 2000 sat for the joint entrance exam. He cleared it with a rank of 400 plus, finding a seat at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital.

“But age had definitely caught up with him and he told me that at times he would forget the lessons. He worked harder than the others and the fact that he was 35 years old was a closely guarded secret, known only to his friends,” Maiti added.

Ganesh tasted success at last, completing the semester exams with ease.

Jayshree Mitra, the director of medical education, was elated when she heard about Ganesh’s exploits. “He has proved to the world that nothing is impossible even if you may seem to be too old for it,” she said.

Ganesh will return to the city to start the house staff’s tenure in eight-nine months.

Dr Ganesh Chandra Dey, MBBS, may not be the true measure of his achievement.

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