On the 5th of April, 2009, Ayeshah Dadachanji of Max India, Mumbai, landed at Kochi. And she was promptly whisked away to my home by me. What followed surprised even the die hard fans of Viji, our country head for India, that we both are.
Viji had phoned me two weeks earlier, telling me she was sending Ayeshah over to train me on NOA, Novartis’ modified GIPAP programme for India. As is usual with Viji, there were bound to be layers of meanings which were left unsaid, but would come alive through experience.
I had always known Ayeshah as the chirpy, super-intelligent, super-efficient, slim stunner of Max India Mumbai. During the week she spent with me at my home and office, I saw deeper- in to the fine, simple, warm and forthright young lady that she also is.
We slogged together during the first few days of NOA in Southern India. We also managed to visit the Kochi stockist of Novartis, where she met the employees and interacted with them . And most importantly, I could take her to the place where I first got in touch with Max, Lakeshore Hospital. There she met Dr. Gangadharan, Dr. Sreedharan and Dr. Anupama, and the Co-ordinators. A lot of useful information was exchanged there. I marveled at Ayeshah’s skills and clarity in explaining the new programme to all she came across.
And on the only holiday we got, I could take her on a whirl-wind tour of Kochi. We visited Old Kochi with its heritage charm, the Chinese fishing nets, and the church where Vasco da Gama was originally buried.
At the end of a tiring day of non-stop phone calls and unending e-mails, we unwound with a long walk and a bit of window shopping, followed by dinner at a food court in some mall or the other. And we talked and talked. O’ how we talked up a riot! And learned so much about one another.