FOM Regional Meeting held in Kerala on 22nd April, 2007

May 10 2007

{mosimage} The meeting was on Sunday at Alakapuri Auditorium in Calicut which is in the North of Kerala. From morning at 8.30 am onwards we started the registration of participants for the meeting and it went on up to 9.30 am. Around 170 participants from all over Kerala registered their names for the meeting .After the registration we all of us had our tea and we came in to the hall as the day’s programme began.

My Dear Friends Of Max,

I am writing this mail to share with you all the great moments that we had in Calicut , the Friends of Max meeting on 22nd April. It was really a magical day for all of us. First of all I would like to thank each and every one who took the initiative for conducting this wonderful meeting in Calicut.

The meeting was on Sunday at Alakapuri Auditorium in Calicut which is in the North of Kerala. From morning at 8.30 am onwards we started the registration of participants for the meeting and it went on up to 9.30 am. Around 170 participants from all over Kerala registered their names for the meeting .After the registration we all of us had our tea and we came in to the hall as the day’s programme began.

We started our meeting with National Anthem. Beena Madam gave us brief introduction of the meeting and also introduced Dr and Mrs. Narayanan Kutty Warrier to all of us. After that our Amma gave us a power point presentation on our Max foundation and the GIPAP programme and Novartis.In the morning session some of our friends also shared their experience that they had after taking Glivec (wonder medicine) and that gave us more energy and confidence. After that two of our senior doctors (Dr. Narayanan Kutty Warrier and Dr. Gangadharan) came up to the stage and we had a great question answer section in which some of our friends asked lots of valuable questions which all present had in their minds and doctors gave us brilliant answers with a smile on their face. That was for the morning session.

Around 1 o'clock we had our delicious lunch with all kinds of Kerala dishes. During our lunch break we met each other personally and shared our experience and we all became thick friends. Around 2o'clock we started our after noon sections with some more testimonials from our senior friends and they shared their experience and they didn't even forget to say the benefits that they had after becoming CML Patients. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by our friend Shajahan around 3.30 pm .Shajahan was the one who took the great pain of conducting this meeting in Calicut.It was his dream that became reality on 22nd April in Calicut.So I would like to thank him once more.

After the meeting some of our friends including me had gone for an outing with our beloved Amma.She had a great bike riding with our superstar Shajhan.We went to Kappad Beach which is a historical place and it is also blessed with plenty of natural beauty. We took lots of photographs from there and we had a great time there with Amma.Hope Amma will share those photographs soon in our group. Around 7pm we left the beach and went to Sanjeevan's House for the dinner. On the way we had a great joke that will be shared by Amma later. We reached his home by 8pm.We met his whole family and shared our love. They gave us spicy homely food (ie, Kappa and Fish curry).We enjoyed our dinner. His family is so loving and caring. After that we wished good night to everyone and dispersed.

This is only a brief of the Magical Day.

With Lots of Love and Prayer, JIJO JACOB M

Viji Venkatesh adds :
That was a lovely report Jijo –

Truly this Kerala Meeting was wonderful – the bonding and networking and interactions that have begun as a result of this are proof of the Power of FOM!!! Let me share the best after effect of this meeting – Mohammad Moideen from Trivandrum, that tireless volunteer you saw in all the pictures who went around taking everyone's contact details , has fixed the next Kerala FOM Meeting in Trivandrum – mark the date -17th November 2007 -Way to Go indeed !! He just called me yesterday .Beena, you have an able Volunteer now to help you make those calls now.

What can I add to Jijo's e mail? You would have all seen the photographs which tell the story much better than a thousand words would!!

It was very heartening to see families come as far away south as Trivandrum just for that one day and make new friends. Friends have now been made for life .The presence of Drs Gangadharan and Warrier was simply wonderful and they interacted with everyone both formally and informally – the Q and A session as well as answering all questions we all asked them throughout the day.

The food was awesome – pure Kerala cuisine topped off with mouth watering Payasam and Ice Cream too!!

There was a panic situation when till the previous night the bags that Neel had sent did not turn up – truck walon ne ditch mara !!! So we had a "situation" – how do we give all the stuff we have for the participants?? The only solution I could think of was to go to the bazaar and see if some shop would let us have their bags; a Saree shop or Jeweler shop or some thing like that. So off we went armed with smiles and a sob story of how Kerala Roadways had let us down. A couple of shopkeepers said sorry not possible but finally a jewelers' shop succumbed to my appeal and without any further ado asked for 150 nice strong plastic bags to be given to us !!!!

Actually I think he was smart for though he helped us out in our time of need at the end of the day he had people from all parts of Kerala carrying his store's bags and doing great publicity for him and for free !!! But he was nice enough to let us in even though the store had closed and listen to my request – not only that he gave us all refreshments too.

Now for the evening at the beach..By the time we got there in various modes of transport it was almost sunset – Yes, Shajahan let me ride pillion on his motorcycle and it was a great fun ride. I have a soft spot for motorcycles and at the least excuse will try and ride pillion – ask Abhishek in Pune or Rajeev in Bangalore who have both indulged me this passion . When we were newly married Venky had a Bullet and has taken me all over Bombay on it , : )

So we sat on the rocks at Kappad Beach – this is such a historical location, the spot where in 1498 Vasco da Gama landed and as we sat looking at the setting sun colour the sea and sky in hues of orange and pink such a feeling of awe and peace came upon us . The swaying palms and the sound of the waves -nothing can be more soothing and actually the ambience took us back all those years and we could well have been the sea farers who came for the first time to the shores of the Arabian Sea all the way from Europe!!! After a hectic day at the Meeting Venue this was definitely what the doctor ordered .

Soon of course, in spite of the feast we had partaken earlier and the beauty of the evening our stomachs began to demand something more substantial than a beautiful sunset and animated conversations . Sanjeevan came up with a wonderful idea – we were all to go to his home which was just a few miles away form the beach and his Mother and sister would be only too happy to prepare a true Kerala coastal Meen (Fish) Curry for us. No body wanted to say no so once again we all were back on the road – before we knew it dark clouds came rolling down from the still red horizon and big, fat , cool drops of rain fell upon us , bringing such relief from the oppressive heat and really cooling the atmosphere – soon the drops became quite a torrent and we had to stop for a while under the awning of a roadside shop.

Now comes the funny story Jijo wanted me to share …so there we were, some of us in the car, and the others on motorcycles – and once the rain stopped and it was time to go the pillion riders moved to their respective motorcycles only dear Jinto coolly went and was all set to sit on a total stranger's motorcycle calmly thinking it was Sharafudin's .and the funniest thing was even the guy who was riding that other machine was even more calmly all set to rev up his bike and zoom off WITH A TOTAL STRANGER .

But we did not want to lose our Jinto so windows were rolled down, heads put out and all of us were screaming -JINTO JINTO HEY !!!!!

We were still laughing hysterically as we reached Sanjeevan's house – picture this , the earth all soft and wet, the coconut fronds still dripping cool water on the ground, the banana leaves swaying with the cool breeze , children's happy voices and all of a sudden – poof !! the lights go off ..but the bright smiles on Sanjeevan's family's faces was enough to light up the beautiful night for us and as we all trooped into his warm and cosy house it was really as though all of us had come home – to warmth and love and food and shelter , shelter from the storm as Bob Dylan would say .

Once we had washed our face, feet and hands in the aangan or front yard, platefuls of spicy, red Meen Curry on beds of hot steaming Kappa (Tapioca – steamed and mouth watering) were brought out of the kitchen where it was apparent the women folk of the household had begun preparations on a war footing to feed this battalion of hungry Friends of Max . The smell of the wet earth fought for predominance with the aroma of the steaming food and soon the only sounds one could hear was that of the rain drops that kept falling on the thatched roofs .

This was one sumptuous end to a super day …thank you all , thank you