South Asian Heritage Month: Read Shaji Sukumaran's story | Our blog

  1. Text Size:
  2. Contrast:

Trust Blog

The Maudsley Blog

South Asian Heritage Month: Read Shaji Sukumaran's story

Hearing the voices of those of South Asian heritage recount their unique experiences, talk about parts of their culture they love, and share their stories is a privilege. We can gain a great insight into what being of South Asian descent in the UK is like and commemorate family histories.

We would love to hear your story.

Consultant Psychiatrist Shaji Sukumaran shared with us his experiences of growing up in South Asia and relocating to the UK.

Where were you born?

I was born in Kerala in South India, known to the world as ‘God’s own Country.’ I was educated in a boarding school In the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains), as my parents were employed in the Middle East. I then went to medical school in Bangalore, and later worked at the Christian Medical College, Vellore as a Paediatrician before I came to the UK. Throughout my education and training, I have been with people from all over the world, growing up with a mixture of cultures, races, religions, languages, food, and habits.

person on a lake

Which cultural traditions do you follow?

Although we are both Hindus, my wife is a Bengali from the East of India and so we follow culture and traditions which are very different and diverse to both regions, including festivals such as Onam, Diwali, Holi, and Durga Puja. Our family life here is a blend of cultures and traditions we have experienced. Living here for 25 years has given us the experience of a rich mixture of the East and the West.

What's your favourite south Asian restaurant in London?

The food from the region is much more than just curry as it is known here. There is a very diverse variety of food from the region which has influenced the UK. The oldest Indian restaurant in the UK is Veeraswamy, whilst others like 'Quilon' at the Taj, Tamarind, Chutney Mary, Gymkhana and Benares are some of the bests in London. I have to mention Tayyab’s in Whitechapel and Dishoom which are great experiences. 

Any favourite recipes?

Being from the Indian sub-continent gives one a wide variety of recipes, yet a mixed pot of Southern and Northern Indian cuisine generally makes our food; however, my favourite is a biryani! Living in London certainly has enhanced this as we can enjoy cuisines from around the world at its best. A typical Kerala meal is pictured below.

kerala meal

Any specific challenges you have faced?

I have experienced all of the challenges of migration to a new country, its landscape, people, and its culture. It has been enduring to retrain professionally, and to readjust and make changes in personal lives which has ultimately brought great benefits into our lives.

We strive to maintain a perfect work life balance reminiscing our past and embracing the new whilst living here. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey to the UK and living in London for a quarter century in its rich multi-cultural society. I do feel privileged to live in London and to work at SLaM for its diversity and people culture, and that I can pass on these benefits to the patients I treat and the Institution.


Global Banner