Encounter with Pune Warriors – 11th January, 2015

“ENCOUNTER” ….here indicates a friendly convergence rather than any hostile or adversarial confrontation with the Pune warriors.

They had already created history during Pune Leadership Summit in April 2013. After that I had no chance to go to Pune as I was a volunteer till recently. When Amma asked me whether I would accompany her and Priyanka for the 11th January 2015 FOM Pune meet, I readily grabbed the offer.

The history of India is full of stories of countless heroes and gallants. Their deeds of bravery, gallantry, chivalry and heroism have left indelible marks. Shivaji is one of those Indian heroes who have been acknowledged as the most worthy and remarkable personalities. He was born in 1627. His father Shahaji was a small Jagirdar. His mother Jija Bai was a very pious and intelligent woman. She moulded the early life of Shivaji in a way that it dazzled like a star. Right from beginning, Shivaji had been a fearless, brave and kind soldier.

The poster given below shows the courageous Shivaji Maharaj on horseback.

His boyhood proved the saying of Wordsworth, who wrote “Child is the father of man.” He was very promising, shrewd, intelligent and patriotic right from his childhood. As a matter of fact, his mother was his first teacher who directed the early life and living of Shivaji in a manner that he came to be known as a fearless fighter, a brave solider and great patriot of India.

There was a lot of excitement while leaving for Pune as I was to meet the Pune warriors and leading the clan was Shashikant and other stalwarts like Abhishek, Harshad, Nikhil and many more.

We left for Pune well in advance, that is, on 10th Jan to make sure that everything falls in place as planned. We met Shashikant and we had recee of the next day’s meet.

The D day dawned and saw all of us ready by 8 am. We had stayed in the guest house at the venue itself. When we came down we were taken by surprise as two of our patients who had travelled overnight from their place of residence were already there. Soon we were joined by the lively Pune FOM members. Each of us shared responsibility and saw to it that all were given a warm welcome along with a kit bag which comprised of educational material. We were taken aback to see most patients fish out the reading material and start reading then and there.

The day’s agenda was as follows:

9:00 am – Registration & Tea

10:30 am – Call meeting to attention

  • National Anthem
  • Welcome by Shashikant ji (FOM)

11:00 am – Introduction to Max and Friends of Max – Viji Venkatesh

11.30 am – Q & A Session with Medical Experts

1:00 pm – Vote of Thanks – Priyanka (Max)

1:05 pm – LUNCH

2:00 pm – Drama Therapy Workshop – Viji Venkatesh

4:00 pm – Closing and Tea

The meeting was well attended by over a hundred participants, which included patients and caregivers.

The day’s meeting went on meticulously as per the agenda. The highlight of the meet was the question and answers session with the panel and the drama session. It came to our notice that most of the patients had some query or the other which was patiently and elaborately answered by the panel. The enthusiasm among the participants was visible as when they go to meet their physician for normal routine visits, they do not have that much time to spend with them. The ability by the panel to answer in local language really pepped them up. Then we dispersed for lunch.

Post lunch we had Drama Therapy workshop. We were divided into four groups as per color name tags at the registration counter. We gave the various groups, different scenes to be enacted as follows:

1. Birthday Party scene at the Patil Residence: the wife is sharing a serious fear with best friend. Advice from best friend results in visiting the family physician.

2. Consultation Room of City Oncologist: Follow up visit of long term CML survivor. Encounter with Mr and Mrs Patil. Chance meeting with survivor.

3. Office, where patient gets fired due to misinformation on part of his senior boss but subsequently on advice of a colleague is duly reinstated.

4. Organizing FOM Meet from the scratch to actual meeting.

The workshop helped the participants share their issues and come up with options of resolving the same. I was a part of the drama session but I closely followed each and every act, as well as the roles played by the participants. All of them got under the skin of the role so perfectly that it seemed real and not an act. The fighting spirit in each of them was palpable. They had risen above their sorrows and worries and were trying to live normal lives like each one of us.

After a cup of tea the audience dispersed bidding adieu but with a promise to meet again soon.

By –
Vidya Tahilramani, Max Station, The Max Foundation