KOCHI: Dr. Jose Chacko Periappuram and his wife Jaimy were standing outside the Colosseum in Rome. They were looking at a map. Suddenly, a 10-year-old boy, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, came up. The boy showed a newspaper to Jose and said something in Italian. Jose was wearing a jacket, with a pocket on his sleeves, where he kept his wallet and credit cards.
While they were talking, the boy tried to open the zip of the pocket. Thankfully, the doctor noticed it, pushed his hand away, and shouted, “Police police.” The boy fled. “It was a close escape,” says Jaimy. “Otherwise, we would have lost all our money. For a while we felt shocked. And I have never forgotten the incident.”
Both husband and wife were on a tour of Europe in the early 1990s. “We went on a boat on the River Seine in Paris, and it was beautiful,” says Jaimy. “We also saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa and travelled to Switzerland.”
At that time, Jose was working at the University Hospital of Wales at Cardiff and had sat for the examination for being a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
“I loved Cardiff,” says Jaimy. “The people were very friendly. The city centre was very nice. There were a lot of shops. On weekends, we would meet up with other Malayali friends and spend time with each other. There would be card games and parties.”
For Jaimy she was living as if in a dream. She grew up in Muvattupuzha, and had done her B.Com from Nirmala College. Suddenly, this marriage proposal came. She saw Jose for the first time in early December, 1989. “My first impression was that he is a soft person,” says Jaimy. “I liked him.” Because of a limited leave, for Jose, the marriage took place on December 17 at the Christ The King church at Ettumanoor. Jose’s father, Prof. P.M. Chacko, was the principal of St. Thomas College, Pala, and lived in Ettumanoor at that time.
However, there was no time to go for a honeymoon. The very next day, the couple came to Kochi to file the documents to get the passport and visa. Jose left within a week. Eventually, Jaimy went in April, 1990. They spent six years in Wales before they returned to Kochi, where, today, Jose, a Padma Shri Award winner, is the Head of Cardiac Surgery at Lisie Hospital.
Asked to list her husband’s plus points, Jaimy says, “Jose is hard-working and dedicated to his profession. He goes to work at 8 a.m., and returns at 11 p.m. During the day, he does five surgeries. He is positive-minded, and remains calm most of the time.”
Jaimy says that when Jose is at home he gives a helping hand in the kitchen, or with the studies of his sons, Joseph, 17, and John, 6. “Sometimes, he gives John a bath,” she says. The couple have one other son, Jacob, 22, a mechanical engineer. “As a father, Jose is soft with the children,” says Jaimy. “He buys them whatever they want.”
But the one drawback for Jaimy and the children is that Jose is not at home for long periods. In the earlier years she would feel upset, because he would not be able to attend many family functions. “But now I have become mature, and got used to it,” she says.
Another drawback is that, on the road, Jose can get angry with other drivers, because they don’t follow the rules. “Having driven in many foreign countries, Jose knows that we have to observe discipline on the streets,” she says.
To feel relaxed, Jose goes to his farm near the UC College in Aluva. He has a helper and they grow bananas, jackfruit and vegetables. “Jose feels peaceful when he is in nature,” says Jaimy. “He also feels happy when he is working for the Heart Care Foundation [a trust which offers financial assistance to poor heart patients. This was started by Jose and a few others].”
For Jaimy, her happiest moment occurred when the couple, along with their children, went to Delhi to participate in the Padma Shri award ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2011. However, only their eldest son could enter the hall, because nobody below 18 was allowed. So the other boys remained in the hotel and watched the proceedings on TV.
“When President Pratibha Patil pinned the medal on Jose’s chest, I felt so proud,” says Jaimy. “I realised that all the dedication and hard work by my husband had been rewarded.” She also had the chance to meet fellow awardees like the actors Jayaram and Tabu, cricketer VVS Laxman, poet ONV Kurup and health care specialist Dr. Azad Moopen.
Finally, when asked to give tips for a successful marriage, Jaimy says, “Both spouses should learn to adjust to each other. Usually, it is the wife who does the adjustment, but the husband should also do so. Spouses should be loving, loyal, and respectful of each other. Even though there may be fights and quarrels, you should be forgiving and move ahead.”