In the fall of 2004, my last year of medical school, I spent nearly 3 months in South Asia.
India, the country where my parents were born and raised and where nearly all my relatives still live, had historically been a regular destination for me. The fall of 2004 was an opportunity to visit my grandparents, uncles and aunts, and cousins, experience Diwali and a host of other festivals in India for the first time, explore the city of Mumbai independently, and travel through historic cities of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu state in Southern India.
The technical reason I was in India, however, was to complete two month-long elective rotations as part of my medical education. I spent a month in Surat (Gujarat State’s second city, a few hours north of Mumbai) at a private pediatrics hospital seeing burgeoning services for the rising middle class, with some additional time at an aunt’s homeopathic clinic. I also spent a month at KEM Hospital in Mumbai, a government hospital for Mumbai’s indigent population.