Rajeev’s Report on the event

The Big Bangalore Meet – Rajeev R

{mosimage}  Well, It all started on Oct 2nd 2006, In Delhi. A “quarter” way through that meet Param and Binu announced that the 3rd All India Meet would be in Bangalore.14 months later it happened ! on January 26th 2008..

We Bangalore guys (& girls) did a lot of running around, pooling in our expertise, time, money and other resources to make this meet a great success,with a lot of support from other FOM from different cities and of course not to forget Amma and her team.

I present you the ‘highlights’ of the 3rd ‘All India One Day Match’ held on January 26th 2008

Amma and Ayeshah came to Bangalore on the 23rd night, to give us moral and managerial support..

It had begun !!!!

On the 25thm, many more joined in – from Kolkota , Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur – Appa, Ashok & Ashok, Beena, Nirmesh, Pramod G, Sharon, Sunder, Jude, Rajat, Neel, Tushar, Stuti, Seema, Yogesh, Sailaja and her daughter Anuradha , Ratika, Pramod A , Rajan, Shaila and Seema ,Pat, Mike, Wirat the MaxStation from Thailand , Asher the MS from Pakistan . Bharat , Manoj, and of course the Bangalore team – Param, Binu, Roopa, Mahesh, Murugendra, Kiran, Dr. Shital Kiran, Rajeev (myself), Shilpa, Shylaja, Shankar, Prakash, Manjunath, Lakshmi, Sujatha, Tilaka, the Varadharajans, Vimlesh, Durjoy, Deepak, Rekha….

All the above hands worked together to unpack 250 plus boxes and re-align them into 1000 odd bags…the trademark ‘Kit’ of every All India Meet. This time the Story Book was fatter, the calendar was bigger, and the Notepad was longer! Each and every item was of superb quality, including the kit bag – thanks to Novartis (for the material), Neel (for the bags), and Somesh whose company made this year’s tee shirts of such superb quality.

In the evening Amma did a dry run of the event,delegating responsibility to every core member,and the members accepted whatever was meted out to them; after all they could not say ‘No, I cannot do this ‘ to Amma na?

26th .. Somewhere around one am (midnight) Sujeesh landed in Bangalore with his team and by 6 am was in the auditorium with his on-stage props and many other back stage stuff. He made sure each and every piece was in place before the Meet started. Of course he was there (literally) behind stage till the end of the show! Thanks Sujeesh and Bindu (we missed her this time) You are the backbone of every All India Meet..!

By 8 am or even earlier the Registration Tables were filled with ‘Men & Women in Black (T-shirts)’ waiting to welcome FOM from different cities. People at first started coming in trickles, soon however that turned into a flow of participants

Since it was Republic Day, a badge of the Indian flag was also distributed along with the kit and the T-shirt. Mr Miglani and Kiran religiously pinned one on every person present. And since it was the All India Meet, big smiles and hugs were also distributed free..

There was the usual India Map with the Bindis & Marker pens. All the participants seemed to love pasting the Bindis & signing on “that they have pasted the Bindis”.I WAS THERE ! Said all those hundreds of Bindis and Signatures!! After signing in the visitors were directed to the breakfast counter…Idli, Vada, Upma. Sweet Upma, spicy chutney, South Indian tea and South Indian coffee ! Delicious !People settled down at the St.John’s Auditorium after the breakfast,,waiting for the Event to unfold..

Viji and her team came on stage to take charge. Before they took full charge, there was an announcement to all visitors to sign the Map, collect the kit and come into the Auditorium -Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayam, Marathi, Bengali, Hindi, English… Pat, Mike, Wirat and Asher would be wondering what’s happening! Thank God people from every State had not come to the meet .Otherwise this announcement would have gone for another 30 minutes!

Since it was Republic Day, we started the Seminar with our National Anthem. With e-hoisting of the National Flag. On the Laptop..

We next had a Welcome Speech by Binu Mathew and then there was the Invocation song by Param’s daughters Sangeetha & Shwetha. The song was apt for the occasion -”Hum Honge Kamayab”in Hindi and in English…‘We shall overcome “neatly knitted together. This song ‘set the tone’ for the various Events that were to unfold.

Next was the Lighting of the Lamp ceremony. by Pat, Mr. Ranjit Shahani and the doctors present all guided by the lovely Bangalore ladies

Binu introduced Mr. Ranjit Shahani, CEO of Novartis India. He spoke about various efforts of Novartis, their costly R&D procedures, and their endeavor to deliver newer drugs into the Indian market. He also presented to the gathering Dan Vasella’s message for this meet. Dan Vasella is the CEO of Novartis AG and we were expecting his gracious presence at this meet. Unfortunately only his message arrived. Hopefully we would be lucky enough to see Dr.Dan face to face some day -the person who is chiefly responsible for giving a new lease of life to us and to our families…!

Since all these announcements were in English, the same was simultaneously summed up and translated in the local language Kannada,.by Param’s wife Rema.We stopped at one translation only as we didn’t have time to translate in Telugu, Tamil, Malayam-the other “local” languages in Bangalore !!!!

Next Param introduced Pat..& Pat in turn introduced Amma’s colleagues – Wirat from Thailand and Asher Ali from Pakistan.. Pat also introduced handsome Mike, the man behind the IT systems at The Max Foundation Global Office. Thank God none of the Bollywood producers spotted him. They would have grabbed him from our family forever!

Pat spoke about Max in the form of a presentation set to the tune of a popular English song in the background. It was a lovely collage of pictures of Max and of the friends of Max. in India and many other countries.!

Binu next introduced Amma. Of course she didn’t need an introduction, but it was a formality. She spoke in English of course because as she told us in perfect Kannada, Manne Kannada gothilla’(I don’t know Kannada.)

We next had the FOM city chapter presentation, starting with the Hosts Bangalore. Binu gave the presentation, translated by Param. Next was Delhi by Seema & Yogesh Bhasin and Ratika. This was followed by Rajan from Pune and Royam Venkatesh from Chennai. Neel and Stuti from Kolkota along with Rajat da spoke about the efforts in Kolkotta while, Sailaja from Hyderabad and Mohammed from Kerala made their presentations. Sharon made the presentation on behalf of Chandigargh. Each chapter spoke about what their city is famous for, what FOM in respective cities are doing, and what they wish to do in the future.

Neel , Rajat da and Stuti made one more important announcement after their presentation – That the next All India Meet would be hosted in Kolkota – .So people get ready..!

Mumbai’s chapter presentation was done by two bhais – Nirmesh Bhai & Pramod Bhai In true Mumbai spirit and true Mumbai ‘tapori’ language they had everyone laughing and gasping in admiration. By the way these two bhais fear no one, except the Big B (Big Boss Amma)!

Next Sunder (from Mumbai) spoke about the Friends of Max Trust, and announced the launch of our own website . Here you would get information about CML, information about FOM and the core team and what our mission is all about

Next Param introduced Beena Narayanan, who is the Max station in the south. She then called on stage FOM members to present their testimonials –

First was Param. He came on stage to speak specially about his Bone Marrow transplant experience. If you remember, he initiated the ‘item number’ at the Delhi meet and cajoled many to dance on that day-And two weeks later, he was in CMC, Vellore undergoing his BMT. So we all were expecting his BMT experience in his testimonial. What he presented was much more wonderful, much more emotional, much more tearful! He presented a touching song in Kannada, with clippings of CML patients socializing, rejoicing, dancing and the lyrics of the song running at the bottom. And by the way this creative piece was conceptualized & packaged the previous night! With help from Ashok (one more amongst us, a Glivec recipient, who’s into films). I can send you the lyrics, but the effect is just half without the visuals. So Param, please distribute the CD to all city chapters..!

Next was Shankar from Bangalore who spoke about his wife Shylaja’s experiences and their journey through the years. In fact they had also gone to Singapore to enroll for Glivec’s trial way back in 2001. So technically Shylaja is once of the first recipients of Glivec from India.. Next was me from Bangalore. I was finding it difficult to put 15 years of CML experience in 6 minutes. I somehow managed to sum up my experiences & present my future Goal – to have a Date with Amma in the 10th All India Meet. I want to see who will look younger at that point, me or Amma!

Next was Elizabeth from Cochin. She spoke about her experiences and God’s hand in lifting her spirits and helping her to sail through her journey..

With this an eventful first half came to an end and people split for lunch. Lunch was a mix of South Indian and North Indian Cuisine. South Indians ate South Indian food and North Indians settled for North Indian food. People from West and East ate a mix of both.

The 2nd half started off with vote of thanks by Sharon to the Director of St.John’s Institute for giving us the auditorium free of cost for our event , Dr.Cecil Rose from St.John’s hospital, Dr. M B Aggarwal for his efforts in putting the Q&A together, All Panel doctors, All FOM team and Bangalore team in particular. Binu thanked the participants, Dr.Janet and her team from Kidwai, Dr..Shahsidharan from BIO, Novartis stockist & Dr.Venkatesh (translator)

Amma thanked Novartis India and Mr, Tyagi and TMF for their grant, Prashant for this year’s logo and theme, Sujeesh and Bindu for their creative inputs , Donors of FOM and Dr. Shekar Patil, Deepa Venkatesh for the website design, and of course Binu Param Rema and the girls for holding the stage together .

Next Binu introduced Ayesha, and Ayesha introduced the Panel of Doctors. And then Dr. M B Aggarwal took over as the Moderator for this session. The doctors spoke about the various questions being asked, in plain simple English, without using too many technical words. First timers and new patients absorbed the information like a sponge. Old timers like me were comfortable relaxing as the questions were more or less a repeat of previous two meets. Nevertheless whatever spoken was useful material and we thank the doctors for a patient explanation of the various dimensions of CML, it’s past present and future scenarios. We hope by next All India meet some of us would get to know (and swallow) more powerful variants of Glivec.

The Doctors session ended by 5 pm and we split again for tea. It was time for all of us to chill out and get to know each other well. There was a small song and dance session (People were too exhausted after the long session) and a quick re-cap of plusses and minuses of the Meet. A post mortem of sorts by all the leaders of the various chapters.The baton was now transferred to Neel Kankani, to take charge of 4th All India Meet in Kolkota, along with his team. My wife says Kolkota is a good place to shop for dress materials (ladies dress materials), Darjeeling is close by, food is sumptuous, and it’s pretty far from Bangalore (so have to go by plane). Message is clear. Start saving…!

Finally dinner was served for whoever was leftover. Dinner per se was not leftovers though..!

We finally wound up by 10 pm, with fond memories of the event and great expectations of the 4th All India Meet. T

his was the highlights of the Bangalore Meet. But as they say, nothing can match up to seeing things live. So friends next time make sure you are at the Venue to catch the emotions and smiling faces live…

Till then let’s keep e-meeting on our very own India_gipap_group !!!