FOM Meet – Mumbai

{mosimage} FOM Meeting on 11th May 2008 held at the SP Jain Auditorium at Bombay Hospital from 10:30am through 5p.m.

Life in Mumbai can be hectic.  One can get so caught up in problem solving in their lives that it brings about a sense of indifference to the very general nature of five topics discussed.  Today’s workshop is an eye-opener in a sense that it’s really up to us to decide whether we have the will to make a change in the society that we live in. 

Friends of Max Meeting – Mumbai
Date: 11th May 2008 
Time:  10:30am thru 5pm
Venue:  S P Jain Auditorium at Bombay Hospital

Morning activities

Once again, the Friends of Max Mumbai meeting was organized at the S P Jain Auditorium at Bombay Hospital on 11th Mary ‘08. Our grateful thanks to Dr M B Agarwal for facilitating access to the venue and the wonderful hospitality of Bombay Hospital .

Around 200 members of FOM participated which included GIPAP recepients and their relatives and caregivers.  People started trickling in from 9:30am onwards

The diligent staff of The Max Foundation India namely, Viji-Amma & Appa, Sharon, Vidya, Ayeshah, and Ashok & Ashok were at the venue as early as 9:30am to prepare for Registration.  All the Friends of Max who registered themselves at the front desk were given five different coloured name tags.  The idea was to have five groups each who would undertake a group activity. 
As the FOM arrived, they signed in at the registration desk, mingled with one another having tea,m coffee and breakfast. 

The Day begins

By 10:45am, it was a full-house.  Almost 200 FOM had arrived.
The day began with Amma giving a brief introduction to all the members.  This was followed up with a few questions which were answered by FOM seated by show of hand.  It was terrific to see that almost 90% of the FOM who had converged to the meeting were new i.e. they’d been on the program for a year or less.  Right there, before the day even started; I gave it a success stamp.  One of the reasons we Friends of Max meet is to mingle with other new members who are sailing in the same boat.  Such a meeting gives an instant sense of brotherhood, & assurance by others both new and veterans that they’re not alone on a life raft.  This is one big party cruise-liner. 

Amma then went on to give a brief introduction about FOM meetings by way of a presentation.  The song in the back drop had such an impact that it brought the desired 100% attention; & all of it from the heart.  Everyone was left nostalgic.  The presentation went through pictures from the first 5th June 2005 meet to the last meeting held at Bangalore on 26th January 2008. 

The special one with the song “Oh Mind do not Crumble” was the presentation that Param , our FOM from Bangalore had shared at the AIM Meet in January. This will definitely be our anthem from now on.  


Right after Amma’s presentation, was Nirmish-bhai and Dr. Jude’s turn to give their presentation.  This one was with a variation that brought laughter from the crowd.  To summarise, the presentation informed members of the various projects the FOM volunteers have taken up. 

1. Adopt a Friend (fellow patient). 
2. Donate clothes, toys, stationery/educational material for children.
3 Monetary supports for building a corpus of FOM to help the others in need.

WORKSHOP – 5 Scenarios

Right after this, Ayeshah introduced the core volunteers who would lead the day’s group activity to the FOM audience.  The core volunteers were divided into five groups according to the colour of the name tags and were asked to choose a topic to conduct group activity.  All the FOM were them asked to go to their respective core-volunteer that matched the name-tag colour. 
The groups leaders were given pre-determined scenarios and were asked to come up with solutions.  It surely looked like this Mumbai meet was going to be different.  The groups were going to enact the given scenarios along with the solution by way of a skit/play involving as many members as possible within ten minutes.  Indeed a novel idea.  All the pre-determined scenarios were realistic pragmatic problems that one faced living in Mumbai. 

5 Scenarios:
1. Group 1:  One Day Outside Sai Krupa Co-operative Housing Society…

Trees in front of a residential complex have been cut down to make place for hoardings/billboards.

In the 10 minutes of play, the group enacted the situation, and dealt with it by lodging a complaint with the civic authority.  Further more, the residential complex members along with the general public got the civic authority to face the person responsible of cutting the tree and installing the bill-board.  They all together then explain the ramifications of the act and convince him to face the consequences

2. Group 2:  One day in a Mumbai local…

A family of five is  returning from a day at Chowpatty Beach ,traveling in a local train. It is late, the train is empty except for two young women chatting with each other . At one stop, two young men get in to the compartment and begin teasing and harassing the two women.

The group enacts the situation and deal with the problem by contacting the local railway police.  They have the culprits arrested by lodging a complaint. 

3. Group 3:  One day outside the Bal Vidhya Mandir Senior Secondary School…

Despite strict laws a paanwala has set up shop outside the school and is soliciting the business of the school children encouraging them to buy gutka.Parents who pass by to drop and pick up their children are shocked.
This group deals with the situation by first confronting the paanwala.  When he doesn’t relent, they contact the police and along with the school’s Principal, they have the paanwala evicted from the school premises and promise not to sell gutka to the school children any more.


4. Group 4:  One day at home…

When you step into garbage dump just outside your apartment complex or when the neighbours upstairs throws the onion peel and egg shells out the window into your balcony.

This group’s skit  was indeed full of humor.  The person throwing the garbage out from his balcony thinks he’s doing the right thing by disposing off the garbage out of his house.  All the apartment complex residents cannot seem to convince the person to stop throwing garbage out from his balcony.  It takes the charm and innocence of the children of the houses as they plead saying that they are affected to convince the culprit to realize his mistake and amend his ways.  

5. Group 5:  One day at the MTNL Office -Mera Telephone Nahi Lagta…

You call to check on your child and hear an unfamiliar voice-"Sorry wrong number”. You redial-"Sorry wrong number" says the same voice, You state the number you are dialing and the voice says” Yes this is my number!! MTNL has given away your number to someone else.   

This group deals with the situation by lodging a complaint with MTNL and then subsequently following it up aggressively until action is taken and the telephone lines are sorted out.  


For all the problem scenarios, the groups dealt with the situation in a legitimate & logically sound manner.  They all decided to form a union against the issue, contacted the local administrative authority and faced the problem head on. 

For all of us it was an hour plus of unadulterated fun as we saw lots of hidden and amazing talent amongst each other – the impromptu dialogues and acting prowess on display , with tongue in cheek humour would have done Bollywood proud indeed !!! 


At 1:30pm; lunch break was declared.  The sumptuous lunch provided by Bombay Hospital was followed by the much awaited Q & A session with Dr. M. B.Agarwal, a leading Hematologist and  Hemato-oncologist and a most important and well loved  friend of Max,

Dr. M. B. Agarwal answered queries on wide range of subjects concerning CML, Glivec, various treatment options and new cytogenetic techniques for diagnosis and prognosis of CML.  Dr. Agarwal answered all the queries in simple to follow, layman’s terms. A transcript of the same will be made available on line as well.

No meeting is certified a success without a little song and dance.  At 4pm, a young energetic singer called Saagar kicked off the evening with the latest foot-tapping songs.  His voice was extremely versatile as he sang songs of various genre with ease.  A lot of FOM joined in the party mood , going up the stage to shake a leg.  Saagar is an up and coming singer and it was wonderful of him to give us those two hours of joy with his energetic performance.

End of the day

The programme was precisely organized and executed by Viji, Ayeshah, Sharon, Vidya, and Ashok & Ashok.  The programme had served its objectives:

1. It had provided a common platform for the members linked through GIPAP
2. It provided familiarization with the GIPAP members, networking and experience sharing.
3. Members had their doubts cleared on wide range of subjects by Dr. M. B. Agarwal.
4. Most important, they carried back with them, renewed hope and a sense of security from the experiences of the struggles of CML veterans who today lead a near normal life, with the access to Glivec.   


Life in Mumbai can be hectic.  One can get so caught up in problem solving in their lives that it brings about a sense of indifference to the very general nature of five topics discussed.  Today’s workshop is an eye-opener in a sense that it’s really up to us to decide whether we have the will to make a change in the society that we live in.  I’m sure everyone wants a change.  However, the hectic pace of life in Mumbai sometimes brings about the assumption that someone else will take up the issue.   Inadvertently these issues never gain prominence and we all end up blaming the system & living with it.  The objective of this workshop was two pronged. 

On the one hand, it involved almost all FOM as they all had to contribute, discuss and decide on the issue and finally give a ten minute presentation.  This enabled FOM both new and old to bond together and get to know each other. 

On the other hand, there was an underlying message in the topics that were selected.  They threw light on day to day problems everyone faced and how one might deal with them head on. 

Reported by Kerul Patel