Thulasidharan V.N is tuning up for his next gig at the Japan Music Club, where amateur singers gather once a week and perform for each other.
Make no mistake, the club has no connection to Japan, whatsoever. Thulasidharan, its founder, just called it by the name of his workshop, Japan Automobiles, which is situated less than a kilometer away from downtown Kottayam. So, at the modest and snug auditorium, it’s a musical gala every Friday.
Thulasidharan, or Thulasi Asan, as he is lovingly called, was not a great singer, nor was he an avid music enthusiast. But his battle against cancer made him one. Wondering how? Read on.
A nagging cough started it all. As he was then running a workshop, he thought it’s because of breathing too much of smoke. So, he changed his workshop into a used car showroom.
His new venture did well but his cough persisted. As it worsened, he consulted a well-known chest specialist in Kottayam. The doctor prescribed medicines for asthma. But there was no respite.
It was then that he consulted an eminent physician at Kottayam Medical College Hospital – Dr Venugopal. He diagnosed that Thulasidharan was suffering from lung cancer.
Though he was referred to Regional Cancer Center (RCC), Thiruvananthapuram, he chose a prominent hospital in Kottayam for the treatment. The oncology department of the hospital prescribed him six rounds of chemotherapy. In a span of 21 days, he underwent two rounds of the therapy.
The side effects were visible after the third chemotherapy. He suffered massive hair loss and became too weak. Hence, he decided to do away with chemotherapy once and for all.
Around the same time, an old business partner and an acquaintance suggested him to try nature cure. Interestingly, both of them suggested the same nature cure center - Nature Life International run by Dr. Jacob Vadakkanchery. Although Thulasidharan was initially skeptical, he decided to give it a try.
The doctor of the nature cure center based in Kozhikode used to visit Changanassery, a small town close to Kottayam, on the 10th of every month. So, Thulasidharan fixed an appointment with the doctor in Changanassery.
"The doctor told me that if I were brave enough, I should go to Kozhikode and get admitted at the center. He promised that I would be cured of my illness completely,” he said.
At Nature Life International, Kozhikode
That was a new beginning for Thulasidharan. He went to Nature Life International, Dr. Joseph Vadakkanchery’s nature cure center in Kozhikode.
“On my first day at the center, I was offered fruits for my supper. Initially, I refused the same citing my high diabetic level. But they insisted saying it was part of the diet in the natural treatment and assured me of no ill effects. Surprisingly, my sugar level went down to 380 from 440 the next day. That gave me the confidence to continue with the new system. A fortnight later, my sugar level was down to 88.8,” said Thulasidharan.
The treatments included diet therapy, mud therapy, sun therapy, yoga and so on. There was no intake of medicine.
It was during those days that Thulasidharan identified the singer in him. As a routine, the staff and inmates at the center would gather in the main hall every evening and sing songs. “Everyone had to perform. I tried my best to give the slip, but I was forced to sing a few lines of an old song on the first day. From then on, I sang a song or two every evening at the hospital. Eventually, I became the lead singer in the group. During daytime, I practiced film songs, gradually becoming quite oblivious to my illness,” he said.
Back to normal
After spending 32 days there, Thulasidharan felt better and healthier. Resolving to continue the same diet and lifestyle, he returned to Kottayam. He also made arrangements to meet the center's doctor once every month at Changnassery.
Months later, the symptoms of his cancer started waning. However, he had to consult his previous doctors in Kottayam when a small lump developed under his armpit. The doctors invariably asked why he discontinued the treatment after the third chemotherapy. They all ruefully dumped him when he narrated the story of nature cure.
However, a doctor at RCC, Sreejith G. Nair, listened to him patiently and advised him to undergo some tests. He was dumbfounded by the test results, which said Thulasidharan was 99 percent cured of cancer. Soon, the lump under his armpit too disappeared. "That was one of the breathtaking moments in my life," Thulasidharan said.
Three months later, he consulted Dr Nair once more and the tests were done yet again. "The doctor told me that I was 100 percent free of the disease and that I could follow a normal life like others,” he said.
Thulasidharan thus started his life afresh. But he didn’t give up the new lifestyle he adopted as part of the medical routine.
Japan Music Cub
He set up a cozy auditorium on the upper floor of the building where his used car showroom existed. That was the birth of Japan Music Club. Every Friday, a musical orchestra is held here at 6 pm. Apart from the ones who play instruments, all performers are amateurs who are into various other professions. And for them, it is a means of relaxation.
"For me, it is highly refreshing indeed. Every week, I wait for Friday to have the musical program," said Vinodkumar A.C, one of the members.
"People waste time and money on petty things. But this is a very productive recreation, which gives us positive energy and refreshment," Sathish M.B, another member of the club, said.
Thulasidharan's music club is fast burgeoning ever since its inception. It now has close to 90 members. Some of them are marvelous singers too.
Thulasidharan sings a song or two every week. However, his favorite song is, 'Venchandralekayorapsara Sthree...' - the first track he sang at the nature cure center’s evening music session.