Maximo’s exploits had been causing ripples of excitement in
the Max community. We at Mumbai had been eagerly awaiting our turn to host the
big little bird. Where better than Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) – the oldest
cancer hospital in India?
On the morning of 19th October, our ‘mascot’
Maximo visited us with his inspirational story at TMH. Being a first time
visitor to the pediatric OPD, it was heart-wrenching to see little kids with
masks and little or no hair – some on wheelchairs and many with IV ports
bandaged to their thin little hands! But this was a fleeting emotion as these
children were just ………………. children! Innocent and brave, shy and forthright and
amazing ………………. just like Maximo!
The children happily took a copy of Maximo & the Big C in
English, Hindi, Marathi and story-telling by Nauheed Cyrusi commenced. All
present there became avid listeners – the children, the parents and caregivers,
the FOM and all of us from Max Foundation. Nauheed had us completely engrossed
in the story. At the end of the story, the children shyly opened up to what
they wanted to be when they grew up, “race – car driver (a Ferrari – nothing less!),
a doctor who treats patients for nominal fees, an athlete …..” there was no dearth
of answers! It was indeed heartening to listen to their ambitions! All the
children were thrilled with their gift of Maximo coloring book and set of
colors to fill the book with. Even the little ones who had been hesitant to
leave their parents’ arms came forward eagerly to collect their gifts.
Though reluctant to part, we had to wind up.
But Maximo’s day in the maximum city was not over yet. We met
again in the evening at Landmark – a bookstore in a mall in Vashi – in Navi
Mumbai. Ayeshah briefly introduced Max Foundation to the people gathered and
Sujeesh (trustee – FOM) introduced the Friends of Max. And then we revisited
Maximo & the Big C but this time the writer, Amma, took us through the
reading. The children were happy to get a copy of their book and listen to the
story as were the adults. Children here too, like the little ones at TMH, had
similar ambitions – to be a racer (a Lamborghini this time), a doctor, a nurse,
a dancer! Again, it was heartening to listen to the children’s ambitions! We
even had Dr. Hari Menon join us in the event. It was a wonderful evening and
ended with everyone gathered getting copies of the book signed by Amma.

And for me it was so fulfilling to hear my son (who attended
the events) on the way back home, say that he was going to learn to be like
Maximo and try to conquer his fears!    

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