Browse By

FOM Chennai meet

{mosimage} Date: 19th July 2009
Venue: Adayar Centre, Chennai

The walk inside the Adyar cancer institute was nostalgic in more ways than one. Memories of that unforgettable Diwali 5 years back swayed in front of me even as I stood there waiting for my friend to arrive.  It was the most colourful evening painted sprightly by that bunch of kids wielding unalloyed smiles of joy that would’ve put even the sparklers to shame. The nurses had strictly warned the children…

{mosimage} Date: 19th July 2009
Venue: Adayar Centre, Chennai

The walk inside the Adyar cancer institute was nostalgic in more ways than one.  Memories of that unforgettable Diwali 5 years back swayed in front of me even as I stood there waiting for my friend to arrive.  It was the most colourful evening painted sprightly by that bunch of kids wielding unalloyed smiles of joy that would’ve put even the sparklers to shame.   The nurses had strictly warned the children not to take their masks off during the celebration, lest their next chemo sessions turned more painful.  The Max volunteers were busy supervising the kids, some of whom exuded much dare so as to make a point to their milder comrades. I was particularly drawn towards that shy girl holding those tender fingers to her amma’s saree.  Her intense yet cautious eyes stood out despite those fast disappearing brows.  As I saw Indu reaching the hospital gate, I cut the flashback and brought myself back to the present.
 
When I read Sriram’s reminder SMS the evening before, my expectation was more of a Chennai get together to plan for the big 2010 Chennai meet. I had been absconding from this group for quite a long time, thanks to my onsite assignment.  But the familiar reception put me to ease at once.  Sriram’s amma, Ayeshah and Krithika were all smiles as they received us, even as Supraja gave me some good heads-up that Sriram had already planned for me some assignment for the big meet.  Sasi looked brighter than usual (I learnt the secret later ;)… he got married recently) and lead us to the breakfast hall.  The auditorium was not new to me.. this was the venue where the first Chennai chapter meet happened in 2002.   Viji amma was waiting with both her arms stretched and suddenly made me realize that I had missed that very special ‘jadu ki jhappi’ for such a long time.  The 250 capacity hall was already half full much to my realization – the core team had put in much effort to bring every family member in Tamil Nadu.
 
‘Maa tujhe salaam’ – for the wealth of resources and people she has given us, we started off with Rehman’s version of ‘Jana Gana Mana’.  ‘Remembering Rakesh’ – the gathering stood in silence to pray God so that Rakesh’s soul rests in peace.  Rakesh, I knew, was one who stood for strength and courage, someone who gave his maximum back to FOM and the society with such verve – a perfect warrior! Sriram’s succinct presentation on The Max foundation’s roots and the GIPAP/NOA was aimed at providing a good background to all those new champions who’ve joined the program recently.  Beena, I have to confess, uttered more Tamil words in her presentation on FOM than Sriram who could but not avoid much of English even in his new job as translator :).  Photos of care, contentment, commitment, courage – Viji amma’s presentation had it all.  From smiling faces to amazing artwork to unforgettable milestones, it was a joy to watch.  Vedamuthu was just half way into his speech when I felt like running and hugging him..  I’ve heard few such speeches, straight from the heart.  There was that honesty in his speech, yet without any compromise on the assertiveness of his points.  Everyone in the auditorium felt touched and rejuvenated after listening to his words.  Thanks Vedamuthu!  Sriram, Krithika and Deepak spoke with an air of authority, one of confidence that kings will have after conquering the world – ‘yes we can’!
 
Hear it from the best – I’ve always loved listening to the doctors.  Dr. Rajiv and Dr.David ensured that every question/concern was answered in the best possible manner.  Special thanks to Krithika for compiling and segregating the many similar questions on the fly.  Dr.Ramnath’s thoughts on how patient groups can make a difference, provided much strength to go out and do more.  Lunchtime was time to get acquainted with more such wonderful people, many of whom I met for the first time.  The volunteers in red were full of energy, ensuring everything was in perfect order.
 
Bollywood guest appearances are special in many ways.  One appears for 10 minutes in a 150 minute movie and yet steals much of glory – such is the potency of personalities.   Dr.Ramanan was our special guest for the day, sharing his views on the core idea of the meet.  He talked about the importance of discipline in taking Glivec, in his own inimitable witty way. Thanks doctor!
 
‘Chalo Chennai!’ – the mantra for 2010 emerged out of the positivity that vibrated across the auditorium.  The core group of volunteers and departments were identified and I turned around to see such enthusiasm in the group, each wanting to give their 5 cents.  Viji amma then shared
a presentation on art as a form of expression.   I was awestruck with the way multitudinous expressions have, over the years, emerged out of gargantuan challenges that each patient faced and overcame, only to emerge victorious against all odds… expressions of faith, courage, strength, love… This presentation was a prelude to the art workshop that was arranged next.  Teams were formed based on the colour of the badge and a topic of expression was assigned to each team.  Strength, courage, love, peace… Colours splashed all over even as the auditorium was painted with every colour from the pallette.  The best expression would adorn the banner for the 2010 meet.  I remembered a quote “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” I couldn’t but agree to this as I saw the hearts speak in the form of pencils and crayons, painting the white canvas that is life.
 
As the evening shadows advanced, it was time for some coffee and… yes music!  The core group was at the peak of energy and enthusiasm, letting out the happiness of the achievement.  As Viji amma rightly pointed out, the planning, commitment and oneness of purpose helped in making the event such a success.  And what better way to celebrate the taste of success than touch C-Major and D-Minor :).  Max would’ve heard the hum from every heart that evening – a hum that signified an achievement of purpose.
 
Max – each of us, from the bottom of our hearts, will sing the tunes of your dreams for a long time to come!


Reported by Venky.

Leave a Reply