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Ever since the tender age of seven, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. From the first time I accompanied my uncle, a skilled oncologist, to the hospital where he worked, I was hooked. I loved everything about his profession: The pristine, white coat with his name embroidered on the front. The authoritative stethoscope around his neck. The crisp, sterile smell of the hospital floor.The power and respect he commanded from his colleagues. The ability to assist individuals battling against their cancer. It was amazing.
That experience indubitably made a lasting impression, and to this day I strive to become a doctor in the distant future. At the moment, I’m a mere undergraduate with a dream.
But in spite of the fact that a career in medicine has always been my number one, there were times when I briefly wavered from the aesculpian path.
I remember when I was in the fourth-grade, probably ten-years-old, my teacher had read us all a short book on the typical life of a hippopotamus. While I initially didn’t expect much, I found myself becoming increasingly engrossed with each word that Ms. Kassier uttered.
Graceful in the water, solid swimmers, and capable of staying underwater for up to five minutes, hippopotamuses would be the absolute kings of pool parties. Weighing between 5,000 to 8,000 pounds and a sporting a maximum length of 14 feet, they were also gargantuan beasts that could strike fear in the hearts of even the toughest individuals. The only terrestrial mammal larger than the hippo is the elephant (“Hippopotamus”).
Still doubtful of the hippopotamus’s frightening strength? Hippopotamuses can kill adult crocodiles, establishing themselves as the veritable kings of the aquatic food chain. But in spite of the great capacity for destruction, hippos are voracious omnivores, consuming 80 pounds of grass on a daily basis.
Toward the end of the book, Miss Kassier began discussing hippos’ lives in captivity, claiming that they could survive up to forty years if given all the basic necessities.
Forty years. Wow. That’s pretty long, I thought to myself. Even as I got on the bus, my mind was plagued by the thought of hippopotamuses.
They’re large, strong, have no natural predators when they stick together. In spite of their size, they’re skilled swimmers and fighters when it comes to defending their territory. When they’re not indulging in hearty meals of grass, their dousing themselves in the cool waters of East Africa.
What’s more, they can lead perfectly happy lives without studying for numerous infernal tests, spending hours on their homework, carrying a backpack that feels as if it’s made of cement. They have no difficult decisions ahead of them: their career, what college they want to go to, their prospective major, student organizations. No, hippopotamuses were happy to do as they pleased. Their lives were simple and beautiful, driven only by the need for essential commodities, such as food, safety, and water.
And in terms of lifespan, they could live up to forty fantastic years! Forty years of hippopotamus bliss!
By the time I stepped off the bus, I was burning with envy. Seeing my perplexed expression, my mum immediately knew something was swirling around in my little head.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, placing a hand on my shoulder. My father stepped beside her, sensing that something truly was up.
I knew it was silly, but someone had to know what I was thinking or else I would burst into a million hippopotamus-obsessed fragments. I took a deep breath.
“I want to be a hippopotamus.”
What will Anusha’s parents say at her startling change of career choice? How will Anusha react to their potential opposition? Find out tomorrow! To be continued…