Temptations of Dr. Reggie
607895…607895 the intercom screeched – that’s me Reggie – I’m inmate 607895. “607895 report cell block 3” – I’m what you call a model inmate… I do as I’m told and they give me special privileges. It looks like we have a medical emergency in cell block 3 …. Probably a inmate having a heart attach or non responsive. You see, I’m a very well known doctor in my community so at times the prison here has me supervise or oversee a medical emergency. In exchange for my medical knowledge the prison supervisor allow me a few extra hours of outdoor activity per week and a second helping of lunch. I can see you asking yourself … how did I end up here…he’s so young and polite or he doesn’t seem violent or a menace to society.
I graduated top of my class at Columbia Medical School, I completed rotations at Sloan Kettering and had an entire village in my homeland proud of me. I come from poor, humble roots. My mother and father when born raised and married in a small village in Kerala, India. Children of hard, honest workers my parents wanted the best for us. I was there 1st born and given the name Ravi but here, in America I go by Reggie. The home I was born in and raised until my 7th birthday is still there today and brings back good memories when I am alone in my cell. After my family migrated to America, under the sponsorship of my Uncle Sabu , my mother and father continued to work hard to provide for us. Honest work for honest pay was something my parents instilled in all of us. My parents wanted us kids to study hard and get the best possible education, land a high paying job, get married and have lots of kids. That was there plan and as a first-born child I felt the obligation and pressure to succeed in all I did. From an early age I worked hard and got the best grades … I was valedictorian of my high school class. I was every parents dream.
It wasn’t until I had graduated Columbia medical school that the pressure got to me. You see, my parents didn’t like debt…everything they had is paid off.my parents took on multiply jobs just to over pay their mortgage note. They have one credit card and any balance owed they paid off immediately. We often joked that the credit card company hates my parents because they never miss a payment or let a balance carry over - so no late fees have ever been applied and they have never paid interest on balance owed.
Upon graduating from Columbia medical school – I not only left with a doctorate degree, I left with loans over $230,000. Sure my parents were proud that I had graduated with honors but right after the graduation ceremony I still can remember the my father saying, “now son, how much do you owe…are you paying interest…. when do you plan on paying off your debt?” Those words still send shivers down my spine. Funny thing that his words were only words that I remember and still replay in my head till this day.
You see, the reason my father said those word was for two reason: the first, he hate debt with a passion and believes a responsible person shouldn’t have any debt. The second reason he said this was because he found a bride for me. Her name was Premel Patel she was a beautiful sight to behold. She had just finished engineering school and her father was a local doctor in the Guajarati area of India. Though I had only spoken to her on the phone twice and have only seen a photo of her….i was taken by her natural beauty.
During my last year of medical school my father traveled to India and chose her for me, and I was fine with that – he was my father and I accepted his decisions. The father of the bride to be wrote up the marriage contract and stated that no dowry was to be exchanged but we had to have a family home in her Guajarati village along with one in California. Along with that condition both the bride and groom were to be free any large debt. This was an issue and my father knew it.