Back to Back readings of Maximo in Chennai on Sunday .One in Chaste Tamil , the other in The Queen’s English . One for little patients from the interiors of Tamil Nadu , the other for the cosmopolitan readers of the huge Landmark outlook in Chennai . One with simple gestures and handheld drawings , one with a super hi tech PA system and what have you . What remained the same was the intense attention paid to every word spoken or read and the delight in the eyes of the children and their parents ; whether in the hospital or in the book store .
If at the cancer ward , Maximo’s jungle was created ( what a creative idea FOM Chennai) with little plastic animals and greenery , then the book store came alive with banners and copies of the books arranged invitingly . If at the cancer ward , the children were seated around the story teller on the floor , the young readers in the book store had a chair each to oneself . But, every child had his or mother or father right beside to share and experience the story of Maximo and the Big C as it unravelled in all its magical excitement.
The language did not matter : Maximo’s expressions were reflected in the children’s faces . Maximo’s great achievement encouraged each one to share their own dreams of becoming a dancer , a policeman, a watchman ……of wanting “My Mommy to get me a Pizza Now”
The theme of the discussions that followed was the same and so was the message that was the take away , both morning and evening : Your Fear is only as Big as you allow it to be !
They loved it, the little ones , when they realised how awesome it was the way the Big C became the Small C once he was sent away without being able to get what he wanted . And once that was achieved , the Big Fear too was no longer present !
Wise little head nodded when they saw how the Big C is so BIG when Maximo is afraid of it and how , once he has been conquered , he is nothing but a little sulking creature walking away with his tail between his legs
Your fear is big only till you are afraid , only till you allow yourself to be afraid . Their treating physicians , present on both occasions only reiterated the message : Maximo truly conquered the Big C and so did the happy children that day – even if for a few hours . But it was evident that feeling of hope stayed with them as they bid good bye to all of us.
Viji Venkatesh, MAXIndia