The sun rose on February the 1st

{mosimage}Subroto & Sabyasachi talk about the All India Meet '09

So the sun rose on February the 1st, 2009, sending its mellow rays on the City of Joy, as always. But quite visibly, it was a very different sunrise at the Nazrul Manch, where some very special people gathered for a very special occasion. After months of meetings and tonnes of thinking, re-thinking and deliberations and lots of 'fights' among ourselves and with authorities, it was time to raise the curtain and get on with the 'show'. 

7:30 AM : The smiling and ever-so charming FOM from Kolkata and all over the country were seen welcoming guests at the Nazrul Manch. The Registration followed at the five separate counters– East, North, South and West and a dedicated counter for Kolkata participants. Volunteers like true 'professionals' were efficient and cordial, and were looking vibrant and exciting in their Red FOM T-shirts. Our lovely ladies for a change had to keep aside their suits, jeans and tops and were seen coming in wearing saris— whites with red borders. Smiling like angels, didn't they look just, well, fabulous?! And there was our omni-present Amma, running about with a word here and a smile there…!! And then, there was Ayesha, Beena, and the rest of our 'gang'..! 

8:30 AM : It was Breakfast time. Some of us folks were justifiably looking 'hungry' after the initial 'dust' (of registration) began to settle and we, along with our lovely guests, ran to have our share of the snakes..sorry..snacks, that were getting distributed at the rear end of the stadium. Talking of 'dusts', we had a fair share of it too as we were having our food in the wide open garden of the stadium….!!!!! 

10:00 AM : Showtime: The gala show began with a Ganesh Aaarati, followed by words of welcome from Viji and Ayesha. By turn, our wonderful friends, Pat and Lucy, who had come all the way from America and Singapore (respectively) to be with us, and Mr Shahani of Novartis from Bombay came on to the dais to share their experiences and thoughts. And the essence of what they said was always: Hope and Belief in ourselves, the desire to conquer the odds, can actually conquer everything there is. 

11:00 AM : Who can think of our City of Joy without its share of cultural programs??!! Two different musical dance drama programs were then performed by the artists from Shantiniketan and a local professional group. All of us thoroughly enjoyed it… 

12:00 NOON: It was time for the Kolkata Volunteers to show their mettle as budding 'Actors"..!! And they really had everyone floored with their acting talents… Navin, Stuti, Neel, Sheshadari, Prof Koner , the Sen family and young Pooja came together for small drama where the emphasis was again on loving and caring for a patient. Indeed, with a little kindness and love, you can 'Touch the Skies…!" 

Touch the Skies we did indeed on February 1st …..didn't we?! 

Over to you now Sabya. 


Sabyasachi reporting now 

12:30 PM – After the vote of thanks by Rajat Dada and Beena and some “house keeping announcements” by Amma the 1000 plus strong gathering at Nazrul Manch broke for lunch. A huge Shamiana at the rear of the Stadium serving out sumptuous hot lunch to all. It was actually a slice of real total India there. Kerala sharing a joke with J&K, and Maharashtra standing side by side with Assam and sharing the sweets from the same plate. A state of Utopia for many politicians but a simple reality for all of us FOMs. It was meals less and meetings more with making new friends, exchanging thoughts, gaining strength and for us new comers a New Dawn. 

2:00 PM – There was Amma announcing the beginning of the Part-2 which would comprise of the Medical Session and Interactions. Neel took to stage and introduced the Elite panel of Doctors who took their time out to be present on that day amongst all of us. Legendary Doctors like Dr. Mukherjee, Dr. Ghosh & Dr.Chandra from Kolkata, Dr. Advani and Dr. Tapan Saikia from Mumbai, Dr Raghunadharao and Dr. Senthil from Hyderabad and Dr. Pankaj Malhotra from Chandigarh.

Dr. Malhotra took the podium to co-ordinate the medical session and he did it absolutely wonderfully. Case studies formed a part of the knowledge impartation which was followed by questions from the audiences also. Such a lively session it was! Participants from all over the country poured their hearts out and asked questions to this erudite panel and they answered the same with so much confidence, love & dignity. This session definitely left us with the feeling that with Glivec alongside we still have a lot to expect from Life! The magic of Glivec was deeply sowed into every-body's mind.

It was actually impossible to stop such a lively session. But all Good things also have to come to an end. So at 4.30 we had to close the session. Then all FOMs gathered at the stage to sing Hum Honge Kamyaab-and that we actually were on that day, the first of February'09!! Kamyaab – successful in all we set out to do.

4:30 PM– Amma announced that it was Tea-time now! Hot tea was served with sandwiches, pakoras and other side dishes. The Stadium was now a witness to happy and fulfilled participants exchanging pleasantries with each other before parting. Exchanging of addresses, mobile numbers, e-mail ids, doctors’ names and contacts was a common sight. Not uncommon also was hugging good-bye to the new found friends. Amma-this hugging habit of yours is so epidemic in nature that it spares nobody! And then the loud tearful Aschi, Bye,Tata ,Abar Dekha Hobe bandhus.

5:00 PM-The stadium barren and the core group of Kolkata sitting with Amma and others reminiscising on what a great day it was. But it was only the beginning. We promised to raise the bar to the next level on the next meet. The saga continues………and the Chennai team has taken the baton from us fully confident and eager to do so 

It was great writing this report. I was literally going through and re-living the moments once more.