With a kind heart and a gifted hand, Dr Sudheep Njattumparambil is on a mission, urging residents of Oman to take up charity work within their own communities, learns Alvin Thomas.
It’s funny how things change: usually, a visit to a medical clinic would usually be a nightmare for me. Owing to a sweet tooth, I actually spent a good deal of my childhood getting root canals done. And, as a result, I’ve never actually been a fan of dentists or clinics, for that matter.
But somehow, I knew that things would be different this time around. My appointment with Dr Sudheep Njattumparambil was not for a dental check-up but for Coffee
I first heard of Dr Sudheep when a friend referred him to me. But even so, I already knew of him, when he facilitated the departure of a paralysed patient a few years back. He’s also known as one of the best periodontists in the Sultanate.
Nevertheless, it was time to catch up with the man himself. Getting hold of the doctor was something of a challenge but, graciously, he set some time aside for a little chat.
As I walked in to his clinic in Seeb, Dr Sudheep was already waiting for me, in his white lab coat – presumably after rescheduling with one of his patients – so without further ado we started the interview.
Born in the humble district of Trissur, in Kerala, Dr Sudheep has only fond memories of his hometown. “I did all my schooling in Trissur, and was essentially brought up there,” Dr Sudheep reminisces.
However, for the first time, in 1992, he left his hometown and his family to purse a degree in dental surgery from the reputable PMNM Dental College and Hospital, in Bagalkot, North Karnataka.
“This period of time gave me self-confidence, and I also became independent as I was away from home,” he says.
In 1997, he graduated from the college and joined a clinic in Kerala but after realising he had a passion for learning, he headed back to his college as a tutor. In a few months, he applied for a master’s degree in dental surgery.
“I believe that education is endless. Every day you learn new things from different people around you. It really does help you stand out from the crowd too,” he says.
Dr Sudheep’s move to Oman was unexpected.
“I came to Oman on a visit visa to meet my cousin. At that point, I was only interested in academics.
“But then in 2001, my cousin urged me to take the exam for the Ministry of Health. I did it, and I passed both the theory as well as the other examinations.
Today, Dr Sudheep runs one of the most sought-after dental clinics in Oman, with patients flooding in from areas such as Sur and Salalah, to avail of his services as a periodontist.
However, after settling down in Oman, the doctor had a change of heart regarding his lifestyle.
“I soon began realising that money is not everything, and that there are so many needy people within our own communities.
“So I began doing charity work. I don’t feel right about talking about it because I believe that charity is not something that you should promote publicly.”
In 2012, he got together with three friends and established the Kerala United Association, a non-profit organisation aimed at helping needy expatriates in Oman.
Dr Sudheep is currently on the advisory panel of the organisation, after stepping down from the role of president.
“The organisation works with a simple model. We try to handle all embassy and foreign affairs work for expatriates, alongside providing financial support for patients suffering from illnesses such as cancer.
“Every month we pay a small amount from our side. We now make up 128 members, including 20 executive members. All of us put RO2 from our side, every month, and it goes to charities around Oman.
“But if someone comes to us with an emergency, we enquire about the situation of the person and we take steps to cover for them.”
Dr Sudheep recollects one individual, who was residing in Muscat for more than a year without a valid visa.
“This man was staying in Oman without a visa and owed RO400 to the embassy in expenses. He covered it himself but was left penniless for the flight back home so we covered him,” says the doctor.
He also says the organisation has undertaken “emotional missions”.
“More recently, there was one expatriate man who had been in Oman for the past 20 years. However, he got paralysed due to a stroke and was unable to work,” says Dr Sudheep.
“So we gave his family the money to sustain themselves here, and also to send their kids to school.
“We had him sent back home but unfortunately he is no more now,” the doctor adds.
“Witnessing things like this makes me realise that money is not everything.
“Giving to those in need should be done with an open heart, and not for the publicity. If you do the former, then the money will go from your heart and not your pocket,” he says.
“Just realise this: your money or your efforts could lead to the happiness of someone else. It could perhaps result in their sustenance, and you cannot put a price on
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