Hyderabad, January 2020: 'I’M POSSIBLE’ - the story of a lad, who shone as bright as a star... Yet fate showed him down the narrowest lanes of life... And... Yet, he came out... UNSCATHED, authored by Dr K Hari Prasad, President, Apollo Group-Hospitals; was released by Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Chaiman, Apollo Hospitals Group and Shri Md. Mahmood Ali, Dy. Chief Minister, Telangana; today, at Taj Deccan. Also present were Dr KVR Prasad, author's father; Former Chief Minister of combined Andhra Pradesh, Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy; Mr Mahendar Reddy, IPS, DGP, Telangana; Mr Gautam Sawang, IPS, DGP, AP; Mr CV Anand, IG, CISF; Dr Sangita Reddy, Jt. Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group; Former India captain & President, HCA, Mr Md. Azharuddin; World Badminton Champion PV Sindhu; Mr Ramachandru T., Special Representative, Telangana Govt.; Mr Sudheer Babu, IPS, ACP, Rachakonda; Actress Sanjana and Ananya Sharma, Publisher of the book from Kitabaan publishing house, amongst others.
Dr Hari Prasad is a popular figure in the city, not just because he helms one of the largest healthcare organizations of the country, but also because he is an extremely popular erstwhile cricketing star. He made his debut with Mohammed Azharuddin, and played alongside stalwarts including M. V. Narsimha Rao and Saad bin Jung.
I’M Possible captures the unbelievable life story of Dr Hari Prasad, who has seen it all—from being an average performer in school to becoming a cricketing star; from fighting a legal battle to get into a medical college to giving up cricket overnight; from falling in love to tying the knot at a barely-marriageable age; from excelling as a doctor to giving up practising completely; from being a fit sportsman to falling prey to tobacco addiction…and eventually combating cancer…taking up a nearly impossible health challenge and emerging as an inspiration to many.
Speaking on the occasion PV Sindhu said, Dr Hari Prasad life is all about expecting the unexpected, no matter how difficult or complicated situation he faces, he dealt with it in the most poised and resilient way. He is passionate about everything he takes on, be it cricket, education, work, family. His dedication and commitment is supreme. He is for living life to the fullest and pursue to learn new things. He was the most promising cricketer of his time and played it at various levels, alongside cricketing greats like Md. Azharuddin, Arshad Ayub, Narsimha Rao. Overnight he gave up cricket, when he was at the peak, to pursue his education. Again specialising and practicing as an anaesthetist, he stopped that practice suddenly. At one point, his journey almost ended with a major health shock. All his life when things seem to be settled, the earth beneath seem to cave in. Change has been the only constant in his journey. The grace and poise with which he handled all these challenges has a lesson for everyone, irrespective of age and profession.
Dr Prathap C. Reddy said, everybody I met here has a good word for Hari, I met him 23 years ago, he is instrumental in creating an emergency system like nowhere in the world. He created a model emergency care for the Indian Healthcare. But what really impressed me was his ability to bring a change and make this huge difference for healthcare in our country. He has many more thing to do, to transform a good institution into a great institution.
Shri Md. Mahmood Ali said, Dr Hari Prasad faced several challenges to reach the stature he has attained. The biggest of the challenges his way was cancer, but he did not give up, he fought the cancer and made it known to the world that cancer is curable. He also reduced his weight from 120 kgs to 70 kgs with his signature determination and proved its possible through lifestyle changes.
Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy said, Hari is an old friend and a much junior to me. There are two things in common to us, one is HPS and the other is, I left cricket to pursue a career in politics and I was very happy that he succeeded me and became a wicket keeper for the state, but unfortunately he too left it for his career.
Mr Md. Azharuddin said, I have known him from the days we played under 22 cricket tournaments together for the state. Since he became a doctor, I have stopped calling him Hari and address him only as Doc. He was a very talented cricketer and a talented wicket keeper, though he was quite stocky. He never let any byes, whenever there was scope for byes his body would cover. We made our debut together at Kothagudam and we managed to be in the 4 games, at that time Ranji season had only four games. It's not we, but you are the true hero, you have come out of tough times, worked very hard, you had determination to fight and come out of any situation. I have the highest respect for you as a human being.
Mr Mahendar Reddy said, for any health problem the policemen face, he is always there to come to our rescue. The relationship of the police with him is more than two decades, when the city was expanding and the need for emergency care was felt, it was Hari who trained the policemen in first aid care and laid the foundation for it.
Mr Gautam Sawang said, for over two and half decades I have known Hari, he was the go to man, every time somebody fell ill in the family, friends or in the police department, it was he who would give the strength to us.
Dr Sangita Reddy said, Hari spent the last 23 years at Apollo making my life easy. His is a tremendous example of a life well run, well used, above all the impact he made. If there is one person who can match the pace of Chairman Dr Prathap C. Reddy's vision and give the commitment to keep on doing things for humanity and society, that person is Hari, who has translated so much of our vision into reality. In every situation, he has a sense of calm, a sense of yes we can and above all he is grounded in the human values. An individual is defined by the way they face the problems, professional problems are one thing but personal and physical, especially being faced with cancer is something different and god gave you that special hand and guidance to cure you, because there is a lot more to be done. I congratulate you for the way you faced it, I never saw even for a fraction of a second, a sense of fear or hopelessness in that state.
Mr CV Anand said, I am connected to him through cricket and HPS, he is four years senior to me in the school and as an aspiring cricketer always took him as a role model. In his 11th standard he took the state and the zone by storm, he was one of the most hard hitting batsman you could ever-ever see, I have seen him play, so did Azzu bhai. If there was a T20 league or one dayer cricket in those days, he wouldn't have become a doctor. He made his Ranji Trophy debut in his 12th standard, which is quite a record and one year later we were shocked to learn that he left cricket. He was such a talented cricketer and were shocked as to why he took such a decision. His life has been of service, he was ever ready to help our constables and staff and train them in emergency services. When I was in traffic police, he was caring to the constables whose lungs were affected being exposed to pollution.
Dr K Hari Prasad said, like everyone I too had my peaks and valleys, as the saying goes, one learns from mistakes I too learned many lessons from mistakes, this book is a compilation of all the mistakes I made and the lessons I learnt. There are many twists and turns in my life, I have been honest and captured my journey factually. It is more aimed at helping readers to avoid what is avoidable. It's a celebration of all those who impacted my life and what I am today is because of them. I have started a charitable institution for helping the needy in education, health and sports and all the proceeds of this book will go towards these causes.
Actress Sanjana said, inspiring books are the need of the hour, let's face it, we are in a world full of challenges and all we need is inspiring people, positive people. Here he is not limiting himself to success stories, but about his failures too in the most transparent way and that takes lots of guts.
The Delhi-based publisher Ananya Sharma said that the book has become a sensation even before being launched and has gone into a third reprint on the day of the launch. The book is available on Amazon and would be made available in stores starting 25 January.
Talking about the challenges associated with the book, Ananya said, ‘Anyone who knows Dr Hari would know that he is a private person and a man of very few words. Thus, developing the story was a major challenge. His responses were mostly syllabic! Our team kept interacting with him, determined to tell this larger-than-life story in the simplest of words that vividly bring out the emotional side of an otherwise stern and reserved individual—one who underplays his achievements and often does revolutionary things from behind the curtain. And I daresay the product is a masterpiece! I have done books all my life but this one altered my DNA. The leaves of I’M Possible hold magic between them! It would leave the readers intrigued, enchanted and motivated. This book could be the sacred text for all those who have bullish ambitions and want to achieve something extraordinary in life.’
Blurb of the book:
Dr Hari Prasad has seen it all—from being an average performer in school to becoming a cricketing star; from fighting a legal battle to get into a medical college to giving up cricket overnight; from falling in love to tying the knot at a barely-marriageable age; from excelling as a doctor to giving up practising completely; from being a fit sportsman to falling prey to tobacco addiction... and eventually combating cancer.
This book, I'M Possible, is the journey of a young Hari, who becomes an overnight sensation in the world of cricket. His bails fell when he fell for a Hyderabadi lass, who remained oblivious to his feelings for quite some time... But an ardent Hari finally succeeded in wooing her.
From 'Hari' to 'Dr Hari' to 'Daddy, hurry!' he did well at each stage in his life; he took many a difficult decision, even in the face of bitter opposition... Throughout his life, whenever things would seem settled, the earth beneath his feet would move, shattering everything around him.
This is the story of a visionary... the man behind the evolution and revolution of Emergency Medical Services in India... This book captures Dr Hari's meteoric rise to being the Group President of one of India's leading hospital chains—Apollo Group of Hospitals.
He was extremely successful, but had a weakness—addiction to tobacco. With considerable effort, he overcame it, but the damage had been done. Soon after giving it up, he was diagnosed with leukaemia—a type of cancer. He fought the deadly disease and came out unscathed. Once cured, he decided to do something about his health.
This led to a radical shift in his life; he became a new Hari! He has lost almost 50 kilos in twenty-five months and all of this was done through dietary changes and exercises. I'M Possible is his unbelievable journey of transformation from weighing 115 kilos to less than 68 kilos!
In this magnificent book, Dr Hari captures his larger-than-life story in the simplest of words that vividly bring out the emotional side of an otherwise stern and reserved individual—one who underplays his achievements and often does revolutionary things from behind the curtain.
I'M Possible is an astounding page-turner that possesses the charm of a bygone era and holds the promise of a beautiful tomorrow. It is a tale of love, hope, grit, determination, courage and triumph. I'M Possible is a treat for everyone, irrespective of age, gender, geography and profession.
Book at a Glance:
Story of a young boy, Hari, aspiring to be a cricketer.
Hari's father is a popular doctor and his career is a foregone conclusion.
As Hari grows up, he excels on the field and becomes a cricket celebrity.
His performance paves way for his education in medicine. However, it is not that easy. The lone sports quota seat in the government medical college is given to someone else. Hari and his father are forced to knock the doors of the district court, the high court and even the Supreme Court to win it back.
Young Hari, who is by now even more of a celebrity now, falls in love with his batchmate but his absence from the class and presence on the field keep him from appearing for the year-end examinations.
For the fear of losing his love, he proposes marriage to her and then talks about the same to his family. His father offers to get them engaged but not married as they were too young to be thinking about tying the knot.
Unhappy with the bargain, Hari leaves home. A lot of drama follows after which Hari and his beloved tie the knot with the blessings of both the families.
The unconditional love of their families brings about a 360 degree change in Hari's life. He realizes that in order to reciprocate the love they had showered on them, he needs to build a strong career for himself. He gives up cricket when he is at the top of his game in regional and state cricket.
Hari goes on to become a well-known name in the medical fraternity. He is regarded as the Father of Emergency Medicine in India, as he is the one who introduced the concept here.
His exemplary skills see him becoming the President of Apollo Group of Hospitals.
But the phase post his marriage saw him becoming careless towards his health, despite being/training to be a doctor. Not only did he quit playing cricket, he did not engage in any form of workout. His love for food and sweets led to him putting on a lot of weight, and his long-standing addiction to tobacco also took its toll. He was diagnosed with Leukaemia—a type of blood cancer. This happened soon after he had become the President of Apollo Group. In addition to this, he had other ailments like diabetes and hypertension to manage...
In addition to all the above, this book is also his story of not only battling cancer but exhibiting unparalleled work ethic by working throughout his treatment phase which spanned three quarters of a year.
Post recovery, he undertook a health challenge and lost about 50 kilos of weight in about 25 months; and his waistline came down from 48" to 30".
Dr Hari Prasad did all this the natural way and his weight loss journey would help people who have been trying to lose weight, give up any form of addiction, and to get to a healthier and happier version of themselves.
Excerpts from the Book
On the Pitch
"When you are lucky in life and get a chance to keep falling in love with someone or something, it is difficult to understand what you truly love the most. But as they say, one can never forget one's first love.
For me, it was cricket... When I was in Grade 11, I played for Hyderabad in the Under 22 and scored a double century in the finals of the inter-state tournament, which we won. This was a major win for us, and especially for me. I had become the hero that I wanted to be... The victory became a stepping stone for me and I was immediately picked to play the Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad. Former cricketer M. V. Narasimha Rao was our captain when I played the Ranji Trophy for the state and many other illustrious cricketers were part of the team, including Mohammad Azharuddin and Shivlal Yaday."
The Admission Debacle
"The admissions day arrived. I was pretty certain of securing a seat through the sports quota. To my utter disbelief, the lone seat in the sports quota was given to a friend of mine, who had played much less of a sport in my comparison...
In due course, the Supreme Court of India ruled in my favour, too. Finally, I got a seat in the government medical college, and no one could topple me from it."
Being a Doctor
"I remember an incident from a cold December night in 1996 when my parents had gone to the USA to visit my sister. My wife and I were running the hospital that time. At about 2 am, I got a call that one of my dad's friends had been brought to the hospital in a serious condition. I was told that he had no pulse and was hardly breathing. I did not even look at what I was wearing and ran down the stairs.
I went straight to the vehicle he was brought in, and examined him. I started resuscitating him in the auto-rickshaw itself. I intubated him and gave him artificial respiration. This went on for about ten minutes. Finally, the resuscitative efforts yielded result and his pulse returned; he started breathing again. We shifted him to the ICU, where we diagnosed it to be a massive heart attack. He underwent bypass surgery and by God's grace, he is still alive. Even today, he comes to my dad's house almost every day, and spends time with him."
Evolution of Emergency Medical Services as a Concept
"In those days, we used to have casualty departments, which were manned by MBBS doctors. These departments functioned like post offices! If an emergency patient came in, the doctors working in the casualty would call the concerned specialist to take care of the patient. The patient, once stabilized, would be handed over to the concerned specialist for better care...
Today, emergency medicine is an established speciality in the country and is recognized as an important department in hospitals. It gives me immense satisfaction to see the speciality emerge and become a prime medical service in the country."
Putting Method into Madness
"Being a doctor, I could understand the medical requirements, but there were gaps on all other fronts— finance, administration, marketing, procurement, etc... Many departments were new to me and I understood very little of them. The senior-most and most respected medical professionals in the hospital—Dr Sangita Reddy, Mr Surender Reddy and Dr S. S. Reddy—were my pillars of support during this period. And it was Dr Sangita Reddy who taught me how to convert a difficult situation into an opportunity. She sent me to training programmes at IIM-Bengaluru and Singapore Management University and, more importantly, she supported me in all my efforts."
"Consuming tobacco is the worst type of addiction and the most difficult to get rid of. Giving up any form of addiction takes a lot of courage, determination and, most importantly, a drastic shift in the mindset. People often use self-pity as an excuse to continue with various forms of addiction. We hear them say that they smoke or drink because they feel stressed and indulging in these helps them let off steam and relax. Some people drink or smoke when they celebrate. Looking at the trends, it seems that the ability to indulge in certain addictions is an indicator of one's happiness. Addictions have become part of the lifestyle of our youth, and many can't imagine living without them..."
Managing the Unmanageable: Blood pressure and Sugar
'Apart from medications, lifestyle plays a critical role in the control of these conditions. These conditions are often referred to as 'lifestyle diseases. Physical activity, eating habits and stress management are as important in keeping these conditions under control as medications are, if not more. Alcohol and tobacco accentuate the damage done by these conditions. All that I have said about hypertension and diabetes is taught extensively in medical colleges. My doctor had put me on high dosage medications for hypertension and diabetes; my blood pressure and blood-sugar levels did not come down until I started making significant changes to my lifestyle. Doctors can only diagnose a health condition, prescribe medications and advise on the required lifestyle changes. It is up to the patient to comply with the advice or else, be prepared to suffer from the complications of these conditions. Life has a way of teaching us certain things. I had learnt my lesson. I did my best to make use of the opportunity I had got—a chance to go back to my fitter self.
Many of us are so lost in our day-to-day affairs that we do not pay heed to good advice and tend to ignore an issue till the problem becomes severe. This attitude is dangerous and could lead to disastrous situations. Following doctors' advice is a golden principle, and I learnt it the hard way. After this experience, despite being a doctor myself, I made it a point to follow my physicians' advice and benefitted immensely from this change in attitude."
'They explained that there were some abnormal cells in the blood and that they would only be able to confirm my diagnosis after additional tests. What diagnosis?' I asked I was doing absolutely fine, and had just come back from a long holiday. I did not have any health-related problems. After a minute of silence, they said that the blood smear was suggestive of leukaemia—blood cancer. I stood there in denial, and said, 'I am absolutely fine! How could I have leukaemia?
By now, I was mentally prepared for dealing with the side- effects of chemotherapy, including loss of hair, loss of appetite, and becoming weak and frail.
I have not heard of any organization allowing one of its key employees to work from an isolation room so that the person could work and simultaneously undergo treatment for cancer. I am blessed to be part of Apollo Group of Hospitals. I am indebted to all my friends and colleagues, who helped me stay strong and be productive in such a difficult, personal situation."
Weight loss and transformation
"From a whopping 115kgs, I reached my goal of 75 kg on 23 March 2019, and was thrilled about it. I had lost 40 kg in 20 months. When I had started, many thought that this would not be possible. Many people asked me if I had undergone bariatric surgery. Those who knew I had leukaemia in the past, wondered if the weight loss was due to the deadly disease... Now, as the September of 2019 starts, my weight is maintained below 70 kg and my waistline has come down from 48 inches to 32 inches."
Dr K. Hari Prasad concludes, "A number of people have impacted my life and life has given me a lot. It is time to do my bit for what I have received. The proceeds of this book and some other initiatives which I will take up in the future will go towards helping the needy in education, sports and health."
The book is published by Kitabaan Publications, New Delhi and Socialight a communication company based out of Hyderabad has made significant contributions in the design and execution.
About the Author:
Born in 1964, Dr K. Hari Prasad has had a long and successful career as a cricketer, clinician and administrator. He was one of the youngest Ranji Trophy players, having represented Hyderabad while he was still at school.
After completing his post-graduation in anaesthesiology—which helped him in many ways as a practising anesthesiologist, intensivist and emergency physician during his dinical career—he joined his father at their family-run hospital, Sridevi Nursing Home, in Hyderabad. But then, when no one expected him to, Dr Hari joined Apollo Hospitals.
At Apollo, he transitioned to a full-time administrator while setting up Emergency Services across Apollo units in the country. He is often regarded as the pioneer of Emergency Medicine in India. His journey from being the Vice-president of Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad, to CEO-Central Region, and finally, the Group President, has been phenomenal!
On the personal front, he faced several difficulties, some self-inflicted and some beyond his control. He faced each of these challenges and overcame them with grit and determination. I'M Possible is his first foray into writing.
Apart from what he does at work, Dr Hari is now trying to make a difference to the lives of those around him. He plans to spend his post-retirement years working for a cause that has been on his mind for quite some time now.