I am Dr Swapna Patker. I bring smiles to people’s faces through my foundation Dream & Happiness on a regular basis. This time, my foundation had arranged a screening of the film Tanhaji for cancer striken patient kids of the Tata Hospital on January 13.
For this, I booked the Hindamata cinema on call and later sent my office boy to collect 120 tickets. This screening was for Tata cancer hospital volunteers and patients with a guardian each. After collecting the tickets, my office boy kept the tickets in a packet and duly sealed them. The bundle was so well-packed that I let it be that way in order to not lose the tickets.
On the appointed day, I left for the theatre with the ticket bundle. And you won’t believe, when I opened the bundle I found that the theatre people had given us tickets for the 10.30 pm show and not the 2.30 pm show. This shocked me to no extent.
I was worried because two buses full of patients had left the Tata Hospital with volunteers. My first instinct was to speak to the people at the theatre. After some time, it led to an argument. Clearly it was an act of miscommunication. But arguments did not solve the problem. The people at the Hindmata cinema tried their best to help me in this situation by stopping the counter booking immediately but that was not enough.
Nothing was happening. Only 10 minutes were remaining for the film to start. Patients were all standing in the lobby. Finally, I left the booking counter and entered the theatre at 2.20 pm with my volunteers. Santosh Engolla my foundation volunteer was all along with me when I was in this mess. I stood in the middle and asked the people standing to sit down.
I told them that at this stage, I needed their help because we had cancer patients waiting outside. Due to some mishap in ticket time punching, the patients wouldn’t be able to watch the movie, but if you help and accept to watch the next show, my people can watch the movie at 2.30 pm. If not, then it’s ok. But if yes, then they can really help me.” I also suggested a refund from my side to the people.
Two young Marathi boys got up and said, “We can watch the film later” they said and started leaving the premises. Many other young people got up and started leaving the theatre following them. Families too followed. Slowly the theatre looked empty. Every on in the audience began clapping as the audience came out. Because, it was not just me doing a kind deed, but they too joined me in my misson.
I was in tears to see that people are so caring and they are so humane. After everyone came outside the theatre, my patients entered. And the people in fact guided them in. My patients saw the movie. And the people who left had a very big smile on their faces because they were happy they did something nice. The Tata representative Santosh Sherwade was shocked to see all this unfold and was so happy about it. An old couple of 70’s came and thanked me. The lady said I am glad we got to do something good today. This was an experience to remember.
–Dr Swapna Patker
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)