“You move like an old person.” The doctor sitting opposite me in a fancy Devonshire Place clinic has just delivered his diagnosis. There’s nothing wrong with me specifically, nothing that two weeks’ rest and relaxation couldn’t cure at least, but when Dr Mathai speaks; I listen. Visiting from his home – a holistic retreat in Bangalore, southern India – to treat some of his prestigious London patients, (Camilla Parker Bowles is said to be a fan) Dr Mathai speaks almost as quickly as he makes his diagnosis. He reads my pulse. “Your liver is sluggish. Your entire system is drained.” He looks me up and down. “You neck is wrong. And you’re not breathing.”

Book me in. Preferably to Soukya, his holistic centre with an organic farm, where just 25 guests stay at any one time, some arriving with long-term medical conditions, others there just because, I guess – like me – they’re moving like an old person. The weather is apparently beautiful all year round. Frankly, it sounds so idyllic, I don’t know how he can bear to visit London. The private patients at the Soukya centre help to fund the Soukya foundation, which is a free charitable holistic and integrative medicine centre focusing on ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy, yoga and western medicine when necessary. It takes care of the health of a community of over 30,000 people in 46 villages.

When he comes here, what are the main differences that he notices between his patients here and in India – medically speaking?

“There are too many things going on, and keeping the balance between family, work and the rest of your lives, just isn’t working,” he says. “A lot of people have emotional issues but they have no one to talk to.”

This surprises me, because I know if ever I have a problem that needs talking through with a professional, I can call any one of my more affluent friends and they’ll have at least two great therapists they can recommend at any given time. And I’m pretty sure most of Dr Mathai’s private patients would be among that same affluent demographic.

“That’s not what I mean,” he says. “It’s not working because all these people just treat you in parts. They provide solutions to individual problems but you have to look at everything – mind, body and spirit and then figure out how to change and improve that situation. A lot of chronic syndromes – things like fever, tonsilitis, arthritis, athsma, arthritis, IBS- Western medicine has no solution for these. It only has painkillers, steroids and antibiotics.” In short: “No one’s talking together.”

Dr Mathai works a lot with homoeopathy, which I remind him is often perceived in a very negative way here in the UK. “It’s to do with the NHS and the way there’s no funding for it here. And frankly, there aren’t so many good homeopaths here, but at our clinic we treat thousands of people very successfully with it.”

I put Soukya on my wish-list of places I’d like to visit one day, and we say goodbye.

A quick post-script. Later this week, after a stressful morning, I get up from my desk and my neck pings, the aches I’ve been ignoring in my shoulders have been working up to this, and now I’m about to get a full on cricked neck. Amazingly, I get a last minute appointment with the local osteopath, who gives me a full examination before announcing, “Your neck is wrong. And you’re not breathing.”



Tuberose is always associated in my mind with the late Isabella Blow, whose favourite fragrance was Fracas. While it worked for her, on me the fragrance was overpowering, and I’ve been sceptical about the creamy, carnal flower ever since. I’ll have to get over that, as suddenly it’s everywhere, as a key player in the middle notes of Chantecaille’s new Le Wild Eau de Parfum (£180), dusted on top with gardenia leaves, anchored with musk and ambergris, it’s fresh rather than weighty, but heady enough to make an impact, (although you won’t be making that impact until October as that’s when it’s launching).
Diptyque’s new Do Son fragrance (from £32) is perhaps more majestic in tone, with an Indian variation of tuberose coupled with orange blossom and red peppercorns – and it’s out now.
And then there’s Herrera Tuberose, (£185) one of six new fragrances from the new Herrera Confidential Collection by Carolina Herrera de Baez, the Creative Director of World Fragrances, which takes this queen of white flowers and infuses it with orange flowers and vanilla, coming soon.


Tory Stroud says: November 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm

I thought you would like to know Rose Evansky died this morning. I will miss her dreadful.
She spoke very highly of you.


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