The Patient Advocate of The Month for February 2021 is FOM Trustee and our very own “Bhidu”, Nirmesh Prakash.
The son of a doctor and a home-maker, as a child, Nirmesh was a straight-A student— always into studies, never getting known for the wrong things, not big on sports or extracurriculars. After his schooling, he obtained an Engineering degree in Production from University of Mumbai, and an MBA degree from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
Having spent his entire school, college, and MBA days in Mumbai, it is not surprising to know that when it was time for his first job, Nirmesh wanted a posting outside the city for his first job. And that is how he ended up taking a post in Varanasi. He is currently based in Chembur, Mumbai, with his wife Gita, and works together with her at a start-up firm in the Beauty segment.
Nirmesh came to know about Friends of Max through Viji Venkatesh (Amma). He found FOM’s work very interesting and that it how he got in touch with Amma and started getting involved in FOM’s activities as a volunteer.
He soon realized that he could make a difference in the lives of many cancer patients and thus became an active member of FOM. It was owing to his active participation and managerial skills that Nirmesh was made the General Secretary of FOM’s Board of Trustees. He has since then used his management background and experience to make FOM more and more professional and planning oriented in its approach.
When asked how he started the “Bhai & Bhidu Show”, he says, “Bhai & Bhidu are modelled on the dynamic between Munnabhai & Circuit. We were both inspired by the Mumbaiiya Hindi and fans of Munnabhai MBBS. Pramod is Munnabhai and I am Circuit”.
After the initial success of a few gigs at FOM’s Patient Support Group meetings and Chai for Cancer Addas, they decided to keep doing it. “The difficult message of compliance and things we want patients to adhere to was not going through to the mass. Owing to the nature of the language and the way we presented the content, it instantly became a big hit. I think the idea of two gangsters talking about cancer care was very interesting for our audience.”
He reminisces how Pramod would bring in his unique directional abilities and small props for the gigs- all of which added to the charm and popularity of Bhai & Bhidu. Even doctors started appreciating the fact that the difficult message of compliance was going through to the patients in such an easy format.
Soon “The Bhai & Bhidu Show” became a necessary item on the agenda at every patient group meeting. They even ended up performing at VCare’s annual event and other events and thus Bhai & Bhidu transitioned beyond Friends of Max.
Besides being an FOM Trustee and the co-creator of The Bhai & Bhidu show, Nirmesh has also represented FOM in several international conferences in Malaysia, China, Poland and more. “The ability to interact with global partnerships and patient groups, and share more about what our organization and bring back learnings from global leaders, has been one of the most enriching and special experiences for me as part of the Management Committee.”
When asked if he has a message for our patients, Nirmesh says, “I have always been inspired by a quote from my favourite philosopher, writer and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson- Every Wall is a door. We all face our own unique challenges in life. There are times when we all think, “Why is this happening?”. Or the dreaded “Why me?”. We can’t decide what’s happening outside us, but we can decide how we react to the situation. So, go on… Put a door knob on the wall and open that door! Cheers to Life!!!”