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Dr. Nachiket Vyas’s Medicos-A battle for survival is a coming-of-age story that chronicles friendship, heartbreak, loss, and exceptional courage in the face of adversity. It offers an insider’s perspective into the life of an MBBS student. The book kicks off with the euphoria students feel when they secure admission into a Medical college. The stress, the pressures, the relationships, and the emotional aspects of a career in medicine are highlighted in this story.

Five medical students, from five different backgrounds, begin their journey at SN Medical College, Agra. They form a camaraderie binds them through their difficult college years. The initial chapters take the reader on a path of nostalgia; all-nighters, note cramming, and last-minute preparation for the dreaded exams. There are moments of subtle humor infused as well. During a written examination, ‘artificial respiration’ is misunderstood as ‘artificial insemination,’ eliciting a chuckle from the reader.

Prokhar is the narrator, who also provides comic relief but is loyal to a fault. Sunil is rather blunt and brusque but later proves to be the glue that holds the gang together. Sanjay is blessed with a loving family, also his weakness. Nikhil is a rich kid whose millionaire father has no time for him. 

Nikhil’s subsequent battle with cancer and his evolving relationship with his father, is an emotional subplot. It takes a deadly diagnosis to awaken Nikhil’s father, and he steps up to the challenge. This character arc evolution is remarkable and has the reader tearing up. It reminds you that life is short and to make the most of it by spending time with your loved ones.

Ashwin begins a clandestine romance with another doctor; their love is doomed as they belong to different faiths, and there is opposition from the families. Several tragedies occur in the course of the book. An additional threat arises in the form of the privatization of the medical college and the potential impact on the cost of care.

The book is not for the faint-hearted; the author does not shy away from mentions of drug abuse, ragging, and a graphic description of a surgery gone wrong. The language and narration are lucid, though medical terminology is used liberally. The book showcases the human nature of doctors; they have their fair share of meltdowns. By the end of the book, the reader develops a newfound respect for the men in white coats whose mission is to save lives.

This story is a ‘Grey’s Anatomy meets Three Idiots’ and would make for an excellent screen adaptation. It is an intriguing account for readers who are either planning or pursuing a career in medicine or are interested in medical dramas. Raw, intense, and poignant, Medicos is a riveting read.

I received this book in a Penmancy giveaway.

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