I was born in the pink City in the lush green and serene setting of Kasliwal Villa. Growing up there was a dream and studying at St. Xavier’s School: a dream sequence. Under the guidance of Xavier teachers, Dr. R M Kasliwal (who adopted me), Dr. Ram R Kasliwal (who was my biological father) life could not have been better. I was taught only one thing: “Integrity”. Dr. R M Kasliwal, founder and longest reigning principal of S.M.S. Medical College, Personal physician to the great Netaji Bose with scores of scientific papers and loving students was a doyen of internal medicine. People still love him and cherish his memory. Dr. Ram R Kasliwal, a PhD in Political Science from the London School of Economics was a teacher and great human being. These incredible and other influences of childhood have stayed in my chest as a beacon.
As a graduate and post graduate medical student in the S.M.S. College, life was smooth and purposeful. I did not get a gold medal but was not a back bencher either. I was saving the energy for the further countdown. But a friend’s sister, who had Rheumatic Heart Disease and had repeated hospital admissions showed me what I had to take up and this would eventually become my life. Cardiology a little known specialty in those times (early seventies). Dr. K C Kotia, a student of the first batch of SMS and my mentor, did what every good mentor does, showed me the way. From one capital to the very heart of India- to do DM Cardiology at the AIIMS, New Delhi was the turning point. There was no looking back now. Jaipur was behind and the entire globe was the playing field.
After the DM in Cardiology, I was restless to move on and joined and helped, build up the National Heart Institute (1982) under the legendary Dr. S Padmawati. Again I met a person with strong beliefs, a good teacher and a good clinician. It was great kick- start to my life in the big, bad world. I was the first cardiologist at NHI and it was a great experience in Institute building, man- management and life as a young consultant. But having trodden, the path less traveled I was ready to go and do it again (in 1987) at the Escorts Heart Institute with Dr. Naresh Trehan. Thus, it was to be the golden period of my life. Setting up the first Cardiology Department, starting a DNB course, PGDCC and academia in the private arena was more than a challenge. But it happened and we created an iconic Institute.
At the pinnacle of success, I felt very strongly that I had to give back to society, so in 1994, I started the concept of Community Outreach Program (COP) which is still continuing wherein I along with a team of doctors would see the lesser privileged people of the society for cardiac disease, conduct free echocardiographic examinations and talk to the community about prevention of heart attacks. Eventually my wife played an important role in this. My team and I literally did hundreds of heart camps. Based on these experiences I lectured at the Harvard University USA, “Bridging Hearts: A Road to Better Health from New Delhi to Kabul” and later at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK. The program is still very robust. The camps at Kabul and Kathmandu resulted in heart centers being set up there.
Among the many scientific papers that I published during this period, the more important contributions were on endothelial dysfunction and preclinical atherosclerosis. The papers are now quoted world over and are in sync with the growing epidemic of cardiovascular disease particularly atherosclerotic vascular disease and myocardial infarctions younger Indians and South Asians in Particular. Around this period (2004) I received the Dr. B. C. Roy National Award which was a proud moment not forgetting that my father too got this award a while back. (Two members of a nuclear family getting a National Award is quite rarity).