The Conquest of Bengaluru – by You Know Who
Viji and yours truly descended on poor unsuspecting Bengaluru like “the wolf on the fold”.
The fateful day was a Friday, but not the 13th, being 19th August, 2011.
But no one is scared of us “Assyrians” any more, it seems. The traffic wound interminably on (yawn), and we reached our respective adjoining rooms, finally, at slightly different times. We met up at Kidwai hospital – a) to have a look at the meet venue and b) to catch up with the coordinators in the hospital.
It was a pleasure to meet Dr Janet Parameshwaran, the Head, Social Welfare, who had arranged for the venue free of cost. (Seems I have a distinct preference for meeting heads rather than other part(ie)s during interactions.)
After a fruitful (Thoughts of food coursing through my head all the time!) meeting with the coordinators and Dr Janet P, we left to meet the stockists – whom I had never met earlier, but Viji had – and spent an encouraging hour there before leaving for our guest house. Somebody, please tell me, do people praise you for your looks when they find you otherwise challenged?
We caught up with some pre-meeting work for an hour or so, as Param , Kiran and Vimlesh were at the Terrace Gardens to discuss the next day’s plans. After the discussion we decided to have a peaceful (indeed!) dinner at Hard Rock Cafe – the place was so crowded that we decided to move to another wonderful eatery that Bengaluru had on standby.
Next morning, reached the auditorium at 8, feeling like an early bird, only to find all the worms taken. The volunteers were already there, raring to go.
Once the auditorium was open, it took no time at all for the ever efficient team to put up the posters and banners, to open the registration counters and to (wo)man the signature campaign counter.
Registration started sharp at 8.30 and people started pouring in. Why couldn’t they just walk in, like in everybody else’s report or blog?
Volunteers thrust in to every arrival’s hand a Kit with letter pad and pen, FAQs (English and Kanada) and a pill box.
All were asked to sign the “Signature Campaign” after registration.
Doctors too signed
Breakfast was served in packets. Please rest assured, there was no drop in taste as a result.
Shankar ( recipient Shailaja’s husband and FOM core group member) welcomed the gathering, followed by the National Anthem (yes, at the beginning). Param then called upon Viji to
Viji’s compliance workshop followed – sheets were distributed – everyone asked to fill in the form – and participation was great.
In the Panel Discussion which ensued, Dr Lokanatha fielded the questions. There were lively interactions with patients during this session.
A second Panel Discussion on Patient Advocacy was also held, panel members being Dr Janet, Shital Kiran, Shailaja and myself. I put forward the guidelines of GIPAP/NOA, the details about the letters, collection of supply, and requested patients to adhere to the rules, in order to get the best results quickly.
The formal part of the Meeting ended with a lunch at 2 pm. Post lunch, FOM put up a proposal according to which they will raise finance to support expenses of tests at KMIO for patients who are below the poverty line. It was agreed that such requests would be submitted to Dr Janet who would get the permission from The HOD who would get the patients in need identified by The HOD and the FOM Trustees would approve the request after confirmation. Isn’t this a glorious instance of partnership between an FOM chapter (Bengaluru) and a hospital (KMIO), coming together for such a noble cause?
We could not leave the venue until 4 pm, such was the exchange of affection which went on and on.
At the personal level, I was so happy to be able to stand there and see the recipients face to face – many for the first time. At the end of the day, we all went back with broad smiles and fortified spirits. We, at Max India, don’t need vitamins; we just attend FOM meets. Ciao.