Throwback to stressful times of joy

Examinations for medical students are always a complex affair. When we study for our final MBBS exams,( we are preparing for our Double Zero licence, a la James Bond) , we are pretty much expected to know something about everything under the sun, as we go through our specialities, we are expected to study to know much more about much less, and in our Superspeciality years (Subspecialty in the Yank parlance) we end up knowing everything about nothing. …

This wonderful song takes me back to my MD Exam term. We were slogging our posteriors off working in a very busy hospital, the prestigious K E M Hospital in central Mumbai where I have never had 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep ever, nor eaten a string of meals on more than 2-3 days in a row. The volume of work was overwhelming and appeared never ending, but then that is exactly the kind of baptism by fire that taught us as Medical residents. Nothing like being thrown directly into the deep end of the pool, you learn to swim because you don’t want to sink. Our batch had pretty much taken over the entire top floor of the new RMO Quarters, with only Rajendra Joshi, Nishit Shah and Sriram Iyer as the exceptions (all three senior to me by one batch). Our batch (like most in GS/ KEM history) was a very intense but fun loving one.

This song is from Abhay Dalvi‘s cassette from the group Men At Work, and called Business As Usual, the first I had heard from the group. In fact the album had released around the time we were studying for our MD (or MS). Abhay later became Unit Head at our Alma Mater and even became the President of the Association of Surgeons of India.

The song had this amazingly infectious beat that got us all grooving and stomping in the corridor, a kind of “shed your tiredness and get recharged” call for all of us owls. The moment the first notes would sound, all doors which were closed would open and we would all come out shaking our fatigue off and dancing/ screaming/ clapping- a joyous celebration of a very stressful time. The song would usually always be played a few times before we went back into our lairs and carried on for a few hours of hard work.

Who can it be knocking at my door?
Go ‘way, don’t come ’round here no more
Can’t you see that it’s late at night?
I’m very tired and I’m not feeling right
All I wish is to be alone
Stay away, don’t you invade my home
Best off if you hang outside
Don’t come in, I’ll only run and hide

Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?

Who can it be knocking at my door?
Make no sound, tip-toe across the floor
If he hears, he’ll knock all day
I’ll be trapped and here I’ll have to stay
I’ve done no harm, I keep to myself
There’s nothing wrong with my state of mental health
I like it here with my childhood friend
Here they come, those feelings again!

Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it…

Men At Work was a band formed in Melbourne by Colin Hay, its founding member and frontman who performed on lead vocals and guitar and is the guy with the rather prominent eyes in the video clip. After playing as an acoustic duo with Ron Strykert in the late 70s, he formed the group with Strykert playing bass guitar and Jerry Speiser as the percussionist. They were soon joined by Greg Ham on an amazing range of instruments flute, saxophone, and keyboards (You see him on the Sax in the Video) and John Rees on bass guitar, with Strykert then switching to lead guitar. The band became the first Australian artists ever to have a simultaneous No. 1 album and No. 1 single on the United States’ Billboard Charts: Business as Usual (this album) was #1 in the US and Down Under the #1 Single.  

Pep up your Sunday morning, folks, to this immortal number from the album that truly saved our sanity and helped us refocus during very stressful times and also gave us so much joy that lasts four decades later…..

Stay safe, stay healthy and avoid the unwelcome present the Chinese sent across with so much malevolence.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

4 replies on “Throwback to stressful times of joy”

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