With the very thought of this word, I sway away into a galore of various unforgettable memories, carefully collected over a period of a year, to last a lifetime. Nose bursting, pungent smell of formalin amidst withered, thin cadavers with rigid limbs and weird faces, lying on the dissection tables… this happens to be the typical picture I visualize, whenever I think of the “dissection hall”, informally known in the college as DH.
Similar to most of the other people when I went for my first dissection session, my mind was full of fret and concern, with all sorts of thoughts racing my mind. Will I survive through this hardship, or will I also succumb to it as forecasted by many of my experienced colleagues? Fortunately, things went well and I came out with pride. At least I wasn’t the one to fall prey to the abilities of the seemingly hostile environment of the DH. Luck doesn’t favor every one, a few of my contemporaries surrendered and felt better after spending few minutes in the posture of ‘Shavasana’(probably they were highly inspired by the quietly lying cadavers!).
Dissection sessions used to take place after lectures. Those 3 hours were life savers during those long mind-numbing lectures. We had the time and space to use our hands, cut, tie, pull, talk question and of course gossip! It was the time of the day I looked forward to.
Each one of my professors and colleagues had some or the other peculiar and interesting feature which stamped permanent memories in my neurons. AIIMS Bhopal dissection hall will always victim wonderful anatomy teachers with their own habits and qualities. Bertha mam’s jokes which always used to put us in dilemma, whether laughing is appropriate at this moment or not? Sunita mam’s splendid teaching with a blend of discipline. She made sure that we were always afraid of anatomy especially during her vivas when the fear of failing became reality! Patel Sir’s dissecting abilities, with his surplus ability to pull out the limbs from cadavers always takes me by awe and wonder even today. Prashant Sir’s ability to explain concepts in an easy way, creating 3D imaginary images is superb but maybe using 3D glasses by students could be helpful to understand those images in a better way. With Bina ma'am, sometimes her speed surpassed ours in thought processing but our attention wouldn’t sway owing to her beauty. Ahmad sir’s important questions are memorable which always assisted to confuse us before every exam.
This was about teachers, now coming to my colleagues. All of them had some or the other interesting quality which became increasingly manifest in the DH. Some of them were very good dissectors, while some were good doubt-creators; some were professional gossip machines and others had their own more specific qualities.
I still remember how once, one of my lady batch mate was very keen on pulling out and chopping off the cadaver’s testicles. She would focus hard as if she wanted to carve something out of the poor things. Finally, one day when we saw what she had made, our table teacher as well as all the boys of the group were pretty shocked. She did succeed in her intentions and she managed to make something closely resembling a very fine mutton chop out of those innocent testicles!
Many incidences always put a smile on my face, like once when a teacher asked us in wonder “Where did the eye lens of this cadaver disappear?” One of my colleagues sheepishly replied… “it’s in my room sir, I took it yesterday!” I still wonder whether he wanted to do a cataract surgery with it or gift it to his girlfriend instead of buying her contact lenses!? God only knows.
There are perhaps many other things that I haven’t included in here. Dissection hall memories occupy a special corner of my brain and will always be relished. I do not intend to mock or humiliate anyone and all content is meant for a good laugh! Perhaps you might also remember a few things and pen them down and smile while doing it.