Posted by Viji Venkatesh on October 25, 2011
There are times when one’s own expectations are exceeded beyond belief. One sets out to do good, provide service, offer solace and support and knows that these are much needed and will be appreciated. That is reward in itself. And then one plans a simple, straightforward entertainment programme for children battling cancer and come away with rewards that can rival all the gold in Fort Knox.
It all started with a hesitant suggestion from Ayeshah, one of our MaxStations in Mumbai: “Amma can you ask Salman Khan (the famous Bollywood film star) if we can screen his Chillar Party for the children during this year’s Maximize Life event”? This was a charming film that had won the Box Office as well as the little hearts of its target audience a couple of months ago.
What did we have to lose I thought and not for nothing was I one of the Trustees of Salman’s Foundation "Being Human". Surely I could get this taken care of? And the response to my request was so awesome and wholehearted. Being Human went out of their way to arrange for the print of the film and other logistics. And then Team India and volunteers from Friends of Max Mumbai & Pune went to work: on permissions from the hospital, getting the goodies for the children and a hundred other things that would ensure a perfect day– for both the children and Friends of Max, the local patient association.
Two cars were booked, snacks packed for the two hour trip to the ACTREC campus of the Tata Memorial Hospital and we were on the road. While we were all in the Friends of Max colour of the year Apple Green, a special treat and surprise gift awaited the little patients – Salman’s special gift, "Being Human" T-Shirts for all of them.
Though the screening was for a special group of outstation patients housed in St Jude’s, a lodge facility, patients and caregivers from all over the hospital began pouring into the auditorium. No one had the heart to say no please and soon the auditorium was packed.
We did a brief intro and welcome, talking about young Max and the Friends of Max and the concept of Maximizing Life. To be honest, everyone in that hall , patient and parent were indeed doing just that : ) Friends of Max volunteers Kerul and Manoj spoke and shared their thoughts and positive attitudes and when Kerul said it was all in the mind, where the battle for self worth and self control began everyone cheered loudly.
The film began and it was truly a party – the protagonists of this brilliantly made film are a group of children who believe in themselves and their strength and powers as a unified force and surmount all challenges in their way. Oh how our sweet champs identified themselves immediately and cheered every time the Chillar Party hit bull’s eye.
You know what? I don’t have to be saying anything more – the pictures will tell all.