From the ‘Oxford of the East’

{mosimage}– Destination Pune – FOM meet

0900 hrs: It was the 9th of May’ 09 that all of us were eagerly waiting for to come, a lot of talks had already begun, the place was booked and visits made, arrangements done to ensure every thing goes well, all credit to the team Amma, Nikhil, Shashikant & especially Rajan (leading from the front with his immense leadership qualities) The D – day had arrived…


– Destination Pune – FOM meet

 0900 hrs: It was the 9th of May’ 09 that all of us were eagerly waiting  for to come, a lot of talks had already begun, the place was booked and visits made, arrangements done to ensure every thing goes well, all credit to the team Amma, Nikhil, Shashikant & especially Rajan (leading from the front with his immense leadership qualities) The D – day had arrived. I personally could not wait to be part of this event, accompanying my wife – Shilpa . As I entered the floor we were welcomed with a nice & warm hug by Sharon first at the reception and the moment our eyes met, Amma came rushing to hold and hug – a gesture of unselfish and unconditional love.

0930 hrs: Though we started a bit late waiting for most of our friends and invitees to come, we had to start to be in the race with time scheduled for this event. I was hungry as I had not had anything since morning. It was a good mix variety of South Indian (Idli, Medu wada/ chutney) & Maharashtrian (Pohe from Aamchi Pune) with assorted biscuits, tea & coffee. I personally liked it and Amma knowing that I come from the catering background immediately asked for my opinion – so how much would you rate this from five? I was quick to respond three, not bad Amma said.

1030 hrs: The auditorium booked was beautiful and as expected from me to guide and make everyone feel at home I started with my job directing people to take up their seats who ever had not occupied. I remembered my first meet when I had no idea to what was going to happen, what needed to be done, thanks to our FOM’s who then had made me feel at home and welcomed so I decided to do my part this time for the new comers & for all my friends.

Amma started to greet all with her charming personality, mesmerizing voice adding her beautiful humor and sense of emergency to direct the event in line with the agenda for the day.   We all sang “Jana gana mana” that filled me with great sense of pride of being born an Indian and part of this family united in all its diversities.

It was now turn for Sharon to take the program forward who of course did not need much of an introduction due to her immense popularity among the FOM’s. She then shared information on MAX foundation works being done worldwide and their responses, their vision globally in her well attempted Marathi speech, which was sweet as the sweetest human being she is.

1130 hrs: How can I forget Nirmesh (Mr. Geeta) – The Bada Bhai? Who with his witty character and bhaigiri lingo made everyone’s mood light in the auditorium? Especially to the ones tensed up attending the meeting for the very first time.

It was time for the open forum – the question/ answer session and the surprise element of the event where I was to be part of the five committee members to take the chair at the dais along with Shashikant, Rahul (all of us from Pune), Manoj (Mumbai) and of course visiting Dr. Vijay Ramanan (from Ruby Hall clinic) as technical support. I was made to feel that I was graduated a level above. I was not nervous but a little excited to share my testimony and to show my gratitude to Max & Novartis for providing me with this “wonder drug” that changed my life & today am “living my life to the fullest” at this moment of time.

As I gradually began to gather courage I decided to share my thoughts to all of those who were a little worried & anxious about their life, words started to flow through my emotions that said – worry not and be grateful to the lord for providing you with this support – complain not for we are hardly being tested with our minor side effects where in our brothers who are not so lucky as us are going through those painful chemo & radio therapy treatments. With Dr. Ramanan by our side providing all technical & medical know how’s made it a lot simpler for all of us while sharing our life’s experiences with all present out there.

1300 hrs: Time for group activity and no one better than Geeta (Mrs. Bhai Nirmesh) our latest inclusion in the Max team who never runs out of creativity ideas in the company of Amma & Sharon. It was time to showcase our drawing and coloring art talent to picture our imaginations, desires we were given the most interesting topics like: HOPE, COURAGE, LOVE & STRENGTH and to our great surprise it was a huge response with so many colorful drawings coming out of least expected ones which was absolutely a contrast to their characteristic & personalities otherwise. Looking at some of the lively colored drawing it sure told me with in “Life could really be this colorful”.

Yes! We had a tough time selecting the best ones as all were equally good, finally we gave away prizes to six of the chosen ones from the shortlists. Also some inspiring words came from Amma to all of those six winners and to all in general for participating, applauding their inner creativity & talents.

1400 hrs: Though it was 2pm no body was hungry, they were all so engrossed in their activities that we literally had to chase them down for lunch and some of them only left when we said you can complete even after coming back from your lunch. It was simple and good spread, food was tasty and the place was neat & good. It did not smell as it usually does in the hospitals though I was not very hungry I managed to have a good filling of course ice cream was the most interesting part to complete the lunch with.

1500 hrs: As all good thing come to an end so did this event, before the vote of thanks was to be presented Amma introduced Nikhil to all and applauded his efforts for collecting a cheque of rupees 117000.00 (One Lac Seventeen Thousand) for FOM which we would use for our patients welfare.

Finally the meeting was concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Jude (whom I always call the cool Dude) it was indeed an effort put by him to address it in Marathi – in spite of being non Marathi, I would say he definitely did a decent job.

Summary: In all I had spent a wonderful day in a long time with my wife and FOM, they were all very special to us in a very short time. The gathering at Rajan’s home (a palace I would call) would be the moment in my life to be remembered, it was most refreshing & melodious time that we all had together. Especially singing those duets with Amma & Bindu, Sujeesh giving the beats, Manoj suggesting with new selections, Jude, Rajan, Rahul, Nikhil, Vandana, Shilpa & Sharon being the silent audiences applauding, appreciating & ever encouraging.

Rajan as usual played the perfect host to all with great hospitality through out not leaving the opportunity until dinner time with the group and that was it for the day…finally we all had to say good bye, see you all soon next in “Mumbai”. In short I made the day best for my self & my wife to keep it in our memories & cherish it for along time.

Reported by Piyush Roy