The Smile… a moving expression by Larissa Pereira (PGDM – Healthcare Management)

Aug 08, 2012 | Posted by admin in Student's Speak   2 Comments »





The best experience according to me is the one that strikes a chord in your heart, and the tune of that chord resonates and lingers in your mind for a long time.

I went for my summer internship to Tata Memorial Hospital with the intent of learning something that would add weight to my resume. I thought I would do a project that would impress my classmates and my H.O.D. The first day that I entered this hospital, my heart received a jolt. The first week spent there, made me lose my appetite. Neither the resume nor the best project mattered anymore. I wanted to do something for these patients and I had to start from somewhere.

My friends and I volunteered to serve daily meals to almost 300 patients during lunch time. Of course we did our project alongside, but this simple act gave me peaceful sleep at night.

What I experienced at this cancer hospital is something I can never forget. I had to do justice to what I experienced here. So I chose to write about it. The best way to capture its essence was to knit it into a beautiful poem. I hope this poem has struck a chord in your heart too. I want you to share this article with your friends and make them a part of this experience. This is not just another poem rather it is the reality of what goes on in most Hospitals.


The Smile

A score of people, that peculiar smell,

Chaos is exactly what this place would spell.

I observed their deformities different from the other.

Those accustomed to this monotony wouldn’t bother.


For someone new, this was a horrific sight.

Just a day spent here can kill one’s appetite.

I watched their tired bodies move from one counter to another.

Most of them illiterate, asking, “Could you help me brother?”


A lady working at the counter wore a mask,

Expressionless and emotionless she performed her task.

However she chatted and laughed with her colleagues all the while.

Was it a herculean task to offer the patients a smile?


I moved out of the OPD and walked into the general ward.

Patients lay there awaiting their surgery, hoping they’ll be cured.

Many jobs lost, few houses sold, and loans burdened a few more.

They now feel helpless and clueless about what’s next in store.


Their files, almost an inch thick, have accumulated bills to be paid.

They count on NGOs to offer them financial aid.

Their eyes have shrunk and foreheads are filled with deep creases.

The chemo kills even normal cells making them susceptible to new diseases.


When will there be a permanent cure to these malignancies?

When will their suffering bodies finally come to ease?

Nor radiation, nor chemo and neither surgery can completely cure.

Hence patients and their relatives have to silently endure.


As I digested this bitter truth before leaving for the day,

I noticed a girl in a wheel chair who looked my way.

She smiled at me so cheerfully that in an instant my apprehensions fled.

It’s like she taught me to smile instead of worry about what lies ahead.

Larissa Pereira
Welingkar Institute of Management
PGDM-HC (2011-13)


2 Responses to “The Smile… a moving expression by Larissa Pereira (PGDM – Healthcare Management)”

  1. AR says:

    A smile is all we need to keep moving ahead in life….

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