On a typical weekday, the expedition to college starts with an hour-long commute in the suburban train and pushing yourself out of the crowded coach onto the Chetpet Railway station. A few hurried steps and you land on the medical street of Chennai. The Poonamallee high road, is one of the busiest roads in the city with a never-ending stream of speeding vehicles at any time of the day.
As you trail along the pavement, you can catch a glimpse of the hospital to your right and the college to your left. Stepping into the gates of the college situated in the heart of the city is like teleporting yourself from chaos and commotion to utter serenity. One might encounter a pack of over-friendly dogs, a dray of inquisitive squirrels, and witness a musical jam by chirping birds as the college flaunts its myriad varieties of flora and fauna. The mighty Banyan tree stands tall and majestic, speaking a ton, of the royalty of this age-old institution. This is the favourite hang-out spot for one and all at the centre, with the buildings forming boundaries. This is the Government Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital.
Government Kilpauk Medical College is a state-run institute located in the city of Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. The College offers courses in nursing, diplomas in paramedical sciences and undergraduate, postgraduate and superspeciality courses in Medicine. It is one of the top colleges in the state and takes in 150 medical students every year.
The history of its existence dates back to the year 1925, when Dr. Srinivasamurthi, a royal physician to the Maharaja of Panagal, suggested the commencement of a School of Indian Medicine. Years later, in 1960, the Integrated Medicine Course (M.B.B.S) came into being.
In 1965, the college started functioning as a Women's Medical College exclusively for female students. But later on, in 1967, after being petitioned by the female students, it became a co-educational institution.
The college is now affiliated with the Tamilnadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University and offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and super speciality courses in medicine, along with nursing and diplomas in other paramedical courses.
Other than the main hospital, 4 other hospitals are attached to this institution: Government Royapettah Hospital, Government Thiruvotteeswarar Hospital of Thoracic Medicine, Government Peripheral Hospital, K.K. Nagar, and Government Peripheral Hospital, Anna Nagar. The Department of Burns and Plastic Surgery here is supposedly one of the country's largest exclusively for burns. The college is ranked as one of the most reputed medical education institutions in the state.
The senior students invite their juniors every year with a freshers' party, 'Vidhaigal' (in Tamil: Seeds). Apart from academics, the college also supports the students to pursue their hobbies. The college celebrates an annual intra-collegiate cultural fest, "the Vaanavil," and a Tamil cultural event, "Zhagaram," during the summer. The institution's hostel is nothing less than a home to the striving medicos as they gear themselves for the demanding profession. This rejuvenating abode has its own festive day, 'Wisteria'. These events ignite the flame of a life-long friendship between the seniors and juniors.
A national-level academic convention, 'Medrenaline', sees the footfall of medicos from across the country to participate in its senior quiz, competitions, and workshops. 'Aadukalam', a yearly inter-medical college sports championship, is hosted by the college's home teams across various games. "Pradharshini", one of the biggest cultural fests in the state, is hosted by this college and has been a tradition since 1986.
Today, the alumni of the college are spread across the globe, serving the masses and upholding the pride of the institution. Every year, at the end of July, the alumni from across the batches meet together to celebrate their reunion, aptly called "Vizhuthugal", symbolising the roots of the banyan. The alumni also lend a helping hand in guiding the current students through mentorship and hold welfare activities to aid society.
My journey here has been quite a ride. For an unaware student from a non-medical background, this prestigious institution with its esteemed faculty has instilled not only knowledge but also the necessary determination and exposure to pursue a career in the field of medicine.