Kolkata!!! The city of joy, capital of West Bengal is fairly well known to all of us. But for me Kolkata is a city of addiction! Addiction of love, food, music, theatre, architecture and of course “Rasogolla” and “football”. While visualizing Kolkata first thing that comes to mind are Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Princep Ghat, Kalighat, Dakshineswar, and Eden Gardens and so on!! On the other hand, to know Kolkata, one has to come and explore her favours by oneself.
The 12th FOM Patient Support Group Meet at Kolkata was scheduled on 13th April 2018 at Premashraya, a home away from home, Tata Medical Centre – a CSR initiative of Coal India Ltd at Rajarhat, Kolkata. The preparation started almost months before with calling/contacting patients, caregivers for the Meet from the Head Office at Mumbai.
Ammu (as I call her) arrived at Kolkata on 12th April in the morning. We went to Tata Medical Centre. There Dr Reena Nair (Senior Consultant, Clinical Haematology Tata Medical Center) arranged Chai for Cancer Adda from 3 pm to 5 pm. We all volunteers met along with the doctors, discussed about the next day’s program and schedule.
13th April was a bright sunny day and we all met the venue, Premashraya, sharp at 9 am. I was welcomed to the venue by a warm hug from Amma followed by other volunteers namely Poonam Di, Swati Di. Other members of Kolkata team were also present (Naren Da, Neel Da, Nitin Da and Sabir) not to be missed by dearest one Anshika! With whom I had spent best of the times during the meeting and Addas, from sharing worry to clicking photos to laughter and giggles with each other.
Soon registration table was set up. Banners were placed. Cadrik da, Arindam had taken the charge of registration, while Amma, Neel Da, Naren Da were busy greeting all the patients and caregivers. There was a gathering of 100 plus people. After the registration. We all had sandwiches as breakfast and tea/coffee. Then we were asked to take our seats at auditorium a big panel of doctors were present from Tata Medical Centre.
The Doctors who were present included:
Dr Reena Nair: Senior Consultant – Clinical Hematology
Dr S.S. Dutta: Consultant Psycho-Oncology
Dr. Neeraj Arora: Consultant Hematopathology
Dr Tanuj Chawla: Consultant, G.I Oncology
Tiash Sinha: Clinical Nutritionist
Sayantan Chattopadhyay: Physiotherapist
Ananya Mukherjee: Medical Social Worker
The meeting started with greeting from Dr Ramanan, followed by a beautiful dance performance by little girl, Rama, Dr Bhave’s 8-year old daughter.
Dr Jeevan addressed the gathering and the meeting got set. Anshika gave beautiful insights on The Max Foundation and its activities. The doctors, patients, volunteers, audiences were touched and overwhelmed after seeing the presentation.
This was followed by a brief information on Friends of Max a Kolkata FOM Leader Neel da (Neel Kankani). The most interesting and the awaited session of question and answer with the medical experts which was chaired by Dr. Reena Nair, Dr. S.S.Dutta, Dr. Neeraj Arora, Dr. Tarun Chawla, Tiash Sinha, Ananya Mukherjee, Sayantan Chattopadhay.
The patients & caregivers gathered in the auditorium took very active participation. Doctors fielded questions one after another and the doctors diligently over their long time experience explained and answered all the questions and doubts in very simple and easy language that anyone can understand. At the end of the session a sign of confidence & hope along with satisfaction could be found on the faces of the participants. ‘Cancer’ the word which makes life unbearable and traumatized was reduced to a mere disease that needed special medical treatment and timely check up with medicine doses.
Vote of thanks then given by Swati di, Poonam di and me (Satadipa). A special thanks to Dr. Reena Nair and her team was given as the arrangements made was perfect. The gathering then broke up for lunch with a promise of meeting after the lunch for the further session that was to be taken by Amma.
After the lunch the most happening session of clicking group photos, Group ties, selfies, continued. I will not forget to mention that Amma even climbed the wall to take the grouptie!! (I salute her enthusiasm).
After all the fun, we returned to the auditorium for further continuing the program at around 2:15 pm. The program started with a lovely Clarrie dance by Dr. Jeevan’s team. With a twist on the song of “Shape of You” followed by a song by another young girl from Dr. Jeevan’s team which she played in guitar. A mind blowing song was sung by our favourite Akshat with volunteer Tushar da, “Tere Liye” from Veer-Zara and Navin da on “Yeh Hausla”! respectively. Truly both the songs touched our hearts.
After this short cultural program, Dr. S.S. Roy joined me and Amma started with the compliance workshop. Where we were divided into 4 groups. Orange, Blue, yellow and green. One leader was selected to represent each group. Each group was given a chart paper and asked to pen down 5 points which encourage them to take medicine regularly and another 5 points due to which they don’t take medicines regularly. The whole gathering participated in the activity and come up with interesting points.
The workshop ended with a melodious song, sung by Amma “Ajeeb dastan hai yeh”. The program ended on a very true note, which depicts that Life is very uncertain, we never know what we are destined for, and neither me nor you can understand the true game of life. Hence one should live life in the best possible way.