Meet 68-year-old Dr Shantha Joseph, whose passion for learning and trying out new things–be it sports or language–is in abundance. “I’ve seen from a very close quarter how life changes within no time, therefore, don’t ignore the opportunities that are on your way,” she said.
Friends call her the ‘global citizen’. She hikes, plays badminton and learns new things with the same zeal and enthusiasm as a 16-year-old girl.
She learnt to play badminton at the age of 50 but her favourite sport is skiing. “In my family, I was never considered as a sporty person due to my weight. But when I was 38, a friend of mine introduced me to skiing, since then, I’ve never looked back,” said Shantha, who returned from Canada a few weeks back after skiing in Whistler, BC.
Over the years, she’s honed her skiing techniques and, has “grabbed” every opportunity to ski in different parts of the world: Switzerland,France, Austria, South America and the US. “Seeing old people skiing gives me the impetus to go that extra mile,” she added with a sparkle in her eyes.
Dr Shantha, who originally hails from Trivandrum, Kerala, came to the UK in 1974 from Christian Medical Colege ( CMC), Vellore for her post -graduation in Haematology College with an intention to return back to CMC, India. “But I’ve made England my home, and I’ve no regrets. This country has given me several opportunities in the field of work, education and health, and I’ve made lots of good friends as well,” said Dr Shantha who worked at Tameside General Hospital till 2002.
Another hat she wears is that of a philanthropist. After her retirement in 2002, Dr Shantha got involved in voluntary works. “I used to make and serve coffee at Drop-in Centre at Tameside. Later, I also got involved with the Refugee Doctors’ Centre at Hope Hospital, both in Manchester.
“I got an opportunity to do some voluntary work in Bolivia and Nicaragua where I was involved in construction projects for orphanages. I’ve really been fortunate enough to have a good life and this is one way of giving back to the society,” said Dr Shantha who mesmerized children of these two countries by playing the recorder — a flute-like woodwind musical instrument. “I didn’t know their languages, so I used to play the recorder to the children. Music brought me closer to them,” said the retired haematologist who firmly believes in the saying ‘it’s never too late to learn new things in life’.