Not Another Brick In The Wall
Dr Mathews Jose is not just a cheerful oncologist, but a book-lover, avid traveller and movie buffBy krishnendu suresh
Dr Mathews Jose’s middle name could be ‘chirpy.’ Emanating a positive, congenial attitude, he is not the run-of-the-mill doctor. Conversation with him is peppered with laughter, good cheer, and occasional book tales. “For my patients to stay calm and positive, I have to be positive first,” says the busy oncologist, who works at VPS Lakeshore Hospital at Ernakulam in Kerala. Mathews credits his aptitude for social service to a glorious childhood spent with his parents. “My father was an engineer by profession, but he was actively involved in supporting a palliative care unit near our home,” he says. “Every time he visited the unit, he would take me along.
I was probably in 9th grade then, and by the time I finished class 10, I had a strong conviction about pursuing science as a way of marking my first step towards serving the sick and needy.” There is compassion in his eyes, speaking louder than his words. As the conversation moves from his professional life to the personal, Dr. Mathews cannot stop gushing about his family, especially his wife. “Had it not been for her I would not be where I am today,” he says, his tone soft with gratitude. “Had I been an engineer or any other professional, I would probably have begun earning a handsome amount by the time I turned 30. But my professional learning took a 15-year-long journey and it was my wife who kept pushing me to climb the learning ladder.”
The jovial oncologist is a self-proclaimed movie buff and squeezes in time to hit the theatres at least twice a week with his wife and daughter. “Spending time with my family makes me complete,” he says. “I do not want to be a father-figure but a father to my daughter. I make sure that the time I spend with my family is meaningful.” It goes without saying that an oncologist’s life is not easy. But Dr Mathews feels accomplished when his teenage daughter looks up to him and says, “I want to be like you!” Besides spending quality time with his family, he is a book-lover and loves most of Robin Cook’s medical thrillers. Norman Vincent Peale’s works on motivation and inspiration also give him the much-needed positive spurt. As for physical activities, there is not a single day where he does not go for a morning walk. He considers a walk to be meditative.
Having worked under eminent doctors like Dr. V P Gangadharan, Dr. Mathews trusts that his journey ahead will continue to be eventful and blessed. “The best part about my job is not treating my patients,” he says. “It is when they visit after their treatment, some of them completely healed, some of them not. But the hopeful look and smile on all their faces really lighten my mood.” Dr. Mathews is actively involved in several non-profit financial-aid and rehabilitation programmes. “It is just my way of giving back to the society,” he says, with a humble smile. An oncologist may not always be successful in healing his patient completely, but somewhere within, a sense of pride in doing what they do keeps them going