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Shuvro Roy Choudhury,47 Interventional Radiologist for the NH group of hospitals in Eastern India

Your background?

Like all bright students of his time, Doctor Shuvro Roy Choudhury had given engineering and medical entrance tests. “My father was an engineer and I was quite into physics, so even though I cleared the medical entrance tests, I was pretty set on studying engineering and even did classes in Jadavpur University. On the day of the interview in Calcutta Medical College, I was cajoled into coming along by my friends because my name was in the list and they wanted company,” he remembers. He was charmed by the colonial architecture of the college. “Its beautiful columns and red brick buildings, shiny brass knobs were far cry from the JU campus. That should have given me a clue that perhaps my real love was architecture but I ended up in medicine. Having done it now I realised I probably shouldn’t have done anything else,” he laughs.

What was the turning point?

After “trundling through” Calcutta Medical College and appearing for medical science entrances, he also went to England to take entrance tests. While there, he was persuaded to take on some locum work which in turn lead to a six months appointment. “I ended up staying and went for surgical rotation and was quite a good surgical trainee,” he says. It wasn’t meant to happen that way. “I was supposed to have done my MS in Kolkata getting a hands down training, and fine tuning it in England like all other surgeons do. And then I did the unthinkable. Interventional radiology was a very nascent field then but I fell in love with it and decided to specialise in it. My then surgical boss called me a disappointment,” he says. He describes radiology as a field that was “looked upon as a bunch of weird guys who stayed in dark rooms and looked at films.” The surgeons were the real stars.

Was Radiology a good choice?

But things were slowly changing in UK. “The 90s was when hospitals were getting six to eight CT scanners and a lot of diagnosis was being done by radiologists and the concept of using radiology and imaging for intervention in surgical procedures was coming in. I had a feeling that this was the subject of the future,” he says. He went on to become a fellow in Guys and St Thomas, under interventional radiologist Andreas Adam who was then the president of the Royal College, London, the European Congress and British Society and thus Choudhury got access to the best of minds in radiology through Adam.

What made you come back to India?

Even as he lead a professionally satisfying like in UK, a part of him remained in Kolkata. “Every night before going to bed, I’d look up this blog called Kolkata Skyscrapers. I’d know more about the newest pillar added on a certain Metro connection than the then Kolkata residents. I think that was my litmus test. In these last five years in Kolkata I haven’t looked up Birmingham, my home for the seven years before that, even once,” he says. After all, home is where the heart is. But it’s not just petty sentiment. “In Birmingham there were about 28 of us Interventional radiologists serving a population of 1.5 million. Kolkata has ten times the people and not even half that many IR specialists. Irrespective of how much I may miss my UK team and practice, I can’t help but admit that I make more of a difference here,” he says.