CHENNAI: Step into Christudas Orthopaedic Speciality Hospital (COSH) in Tambaram and you will find an array of paintings lining the walls, quite unlike any other hospital. Lush landscapes, exotic birds and quaint buildings — the intricate strokes indicate a professional touch, but little would you expect the head doctor to be the hand behind it.
For Dr Sudhan Christudas, the founder and head doctor of the hospital, painting is the source of energy and positivity to face his hectic schedule at work. Sudhan started painting when he was three years old. Every day, his grandmother used to mop the floor at 11 am, before which he was allowed to draw on the floor with pencil and chalk. And every time she cooked fish, Sudhan drew different shapes of fish, and she would teach him what variety the fish belonged to.
This began his interest in painting. The time spent with his grandmother shaped Sudhan’s values and beliefs. She often uttered two key words to him — Chitramum kaipazhakam, which means you have to keep doing something to get good at it. This became his life mantra. “Everyone has talents, but you need to nurture it.”
“If I could just sit in my house during the rains, then that’s all I need. I don’t have to go to Switzerland, he says, pointing at the huge garden in his balcony, indicating that gardening is also one of his passions. But that’s not all — singing, cooking, and photography also delight him. Being at the helm of running a hospital, and with 500 paintings to his credit, ‘how does he find the time?’ “There are so many things happening all around the world. But if you know your purpose and fulfill that, then that’s good enough. I live in a bubble and I prefer to be that way because I need to keep my mind focused. And once I do that, I have plenty of time.
I have an OP today, I have a surgery, a wedding to attend and choir practice. It’s a long day, but after everything’s done, I feel happy and satisfied. I want to give my 100 per cent to everything,” he says. Sudhan encourages his staff to be themselves. “Individuality needs to come through in your profession. You can be yourself and be proud of your qualities. That’s when they will be most productive.” But, attending to his patients will always be on the top of his list.
“My patients will always come first. I can actually stop singing, stop gardening, stop painting, but I don’t think I can ever stop my morning and evening rounds, visiting every patient. All my other hobbies help me become a better doctor and a better person,” he shares. (Alter Ego is a series on the lesser- known facet of Chennai’s influencers)
Nature and greenery
Nature, rain and wildlife are some of his favourite themes to paint. He wants his paintings to be natural and unrestricted. He plans to make about 40 paintings for the hospital under the theme of nature and greenery.