Medicon 2009: The Beginning

Self-help books are currently topping the best-seller charts across the globe. From “How to win friends and influence people” to “The complete worst-case scenario survival handbook” and “A 101 things to do before you die”, seems like they have the answers to any problem in your life dished out in a ready-to-eat format. But theory is VERY different from practice isn’t it?

When INFORMER began, a little more than two years ago, it was nothing more than a bunch of enthusiastic students and an encouraging and patient mentor, Dr M.G Deo. A group slowly became a forum; it got a name and its own identity. Like any newborn, at first there were extended sleep cycles broken by a sudden bustle of discussion. There were teething issues. Ego clashes, confusion and indecision. Slowly from chaos emerged a certain order. The newborn identified a bright object and purposefully started crawling towards it. INFOMER’s main objective was to provide a platform for undergraduate research and the need of the hour was a conference idealistically based on the fundamentals of democracy…”Of the students, by the students, for the students” – Medicon 2009.

The story of Medicon – 2009 is perfect Bollywood flick. It has drama (tears, threats and theatrics) , action (including fight sequences), romance ( love lost and gained) and most importantly as all, a giant element of humor. A dozen organizers and 70 plus volunteers went through a series of comic capers before the grand inauguration. The behind the scenes story will be unveiled elsewhere, along with tales of blistered feet and silent screams. But even though Murphy’s laws governed every aspect of the conference, every member of the Medicon team (even those still undergoing treatment for PTSD) will tell you how much they loved they entire experience. All it took was a push to get us uphill and once we reached the top, the momentum carried us through.

Medicon 2010 at Coimbatore saw a new generation carry the torch forward successfully and pass it down to the Medicon 2011 team from Grant Medical College and Sir J.J Group of colleges, Mumbai. Our informant takes you behind the scenes to give you a sneak peek into the lives of the organizers.

Shivika and Manu Mathew  

THE FIRST DAY: All hell breaks loose

The Convention Centre A famous landmark of Mangalore, the T M A Pai International Convention Centre is a dream venue for a conference. Despite the many roadblocks we faced along the way, including financial scares and last minute setbacks, our perseverence paid off. Till date we are told that this is the best venue for any Medicon so far - the pictures show you why :)  
The Diner The Diner was proportioned into two parts so that people could literally 'walk and talk'. While one portion housed boards for a hundred odd posters, the other portion catered some food for thought.
The atrium outside the Conference Halls The calm before the storm - the intricately designed Rangoli lies undisturbed as a volunteer sashays past the conference halls. Within an hour, the place was abuzz with activity.
The Grand Inauguration Our Chief guest and other dignitaries on the dias assemble for the lighting of the lamp ceremony. A special mention of gratitude to Dr. Raj P Warrier (then the Vice chancellor, Manipal University) for being a strong voice for our cause. Without his motivation and support, we would not have had the conference at the convention Centre. PS: You wont see most us here.. ;-) . Most of the organizers were outside the hall tackling last minute issues. Ashwini and Dr. Animesh are there, both on the right.
Different Beats Chetana is a philanthropic organization run by one of our professors from the pediatric department. Chetana helps developmentally challenged children, in terms of education, physical and mental training. We decided to do away with the bouquets and donated the money to Chetana instead. Ornate mementos to the dignitaries were replaced by colorful diaries and artwork made by the children. The gesture was appreciated by all. We had two of the little ones from Chetana as our special guest - while one invoked the blessings of the Almighty upon the gathering, the other cherub put up a lively folk dance.
Launch of the Souvenir Designed just a day before the conference, and printed hours before it was released.. the tale of how the Souvenir was put together is an story in itself. The delay was due to last minute advertisements and funding - but like it is said, better late than never! At the designers : Manu: "hey teal blue better.... or electric blue?" Shivi: "Ehmm... aren't they both blue??"
National Anthem This picture shows the dignitaries off the dais as they stand for the national anthem
Registrations - day 1 Participant: "Hello.. my friend's abstract was selected.. can I get a bag for him too." Volunteer: "Oh, sure!.. whats your friends name?" Participant: "XYZ" Volunteer: "Okay. heres the registration form, fill it out, and you see that guy sitting there in a suit? Go to him and pay 2000Rs as reg fee." Participant: POP! *disappears* Volunteer: "hey... where did that guy go with the bag??"
The Mess that served Chaos and confusion Dont be mistaken by the name Cafeteria. We didn't serve food there!!! This was our "Control room" (where we hardly had any control over anything!). Numerous problems found their solutions here.
The Control room discussions The Control room was always a hive of activity. The man in blue is Shabin who was in charge of looking after and transporting our guest faculty. The cheeky fellow sitting to his left is Gowda, who chipped in to help us deal with the last minute hitches To his left is Ghayoor, standing, most probably asking Manu "You sure you are right?? Dont say otherwise after 10mins". In the background, you can see Neil - one of our three first year volunteers and ergo the baby of the lot. He became the President of the KMC Students' Council two years down the line, so we'd like to thing the Mad-i-con experience helped hone those organizational skills :)  
The Volunteers These were the people who got most out of the conference. They were the people to be approached first, they got the inside look into everything, enjoyed the whole thing without any major responsibilities, and at the end had a party thrown specially for them!! In short, the volunteers were the lifeline of the conference. Amidst all the chaos that reigned around us, these kids helped us retain our sense of humor and often our sanity
The Delegate ID Table Degate: "Hello, i dont have the delegate ID"; Volunteer: "No, problem, whats your name?"; Delegate: "X"; Volunteer: Your Delegate ID is 12313" Degate: "Hello, i dont have the delegate ID"; Volunteer: "No, problem, whats your name?"; Delegate: "y"; Volunteer: Your Delegate ID is 12343" Degate: "Hello, i dont have the delegate ID"; Volunteer: "No, problem, whats your name?"; Delegate: "z"; Volunteer: Your Delegate ID is 19873" Degate: "Hello, i dont have the delegate ID"; Volunteer: "No, problem, whats your name?"; Delegate: "T"; Volunteer: Your Delegate ID is 17653" ............ ........... This was the thing that went on and on and on.. for the first two days.....
FOOD!! "MUNCH, Gobble, Gobble. Munch" Announcement: "Presenter of Poster no. 145 please report to your station for your poster evaluation by the judges". "MUNCH, GOBBLE" --- A bystander- "Hey!.. isnt that your poster number" "Gobble" ??? "huh?" shakes head and Shows 1... 4.. 5 using his fingers with a questioning look.. Runs to the poster with food in mouth and plate in hand.
Becoming a Zombie... Manu: "This was the second day of the conference. I had slept for less than 4 hrs in 48. Walking up and down a thousand times, my legs were blistered.. as were those of the other organizers".  
The Computer Geeks we were From the inception of Medicon in 08, all our work was concentrated on the computer and net. Communication, advertisement, Website, maintaining a database of participants details, answering queries and what not. We couldn't afford an abstract book .. we decided to give it on CDs with some promotional material. The laptops shown left were used for burning the 800 CDs that we bought. But in the end hardly anyone took them.
The Control Room Mess: The control room was always a mess. People coming in and out, certificates being written, last minute preparations, announcements, decisions, presentation previews.. all packed into a small hub of activity.
The Organizing Committee They made it happen!!. From left to right Shivi, Rakesh (rocky), Ravi, Manu, Prashant(agal), Ashwini (pandey), Jayakrishnan (JK), Sharath, Ghayoor, Shabin. Where's the OS.. you cant see him here.. he is on the podium :-).

The Vinay Kumar Effect!!

History of Robbins Pathology - Dr. Vinay Kumar was the star attraction of the conference. From the dinner table to the toilet, his fans left no stone unturned to get his time and attention
Mobbing to get an Autograph Autographs were in great demand. Students' lugged around their bulky textbooks of Robbins pathology akin to starry -eyed groupies at a rock concert - Dr Kumar sat down for almost three hours and signed autographs and took pictures with his fans. He always had a nugget of wisdom and a few words of encouragement to offer to his students.
Dinner with a dozen Dr Vinay Kumar deep in discussion with participants
He posed with everyone! Sir a photo with me please!!.. He didnt deny anyone the oppurtunity. The expressions captured in this photo need a second look :)
Autographs, Autographs, and more autographs, and even more autographs: From signing pathology books to autographing certificates, Dr VK was kept busy till the end of the conference.

Knowledge Sharing :Scientific Presentations and competitions

Pre conference workshops This is the Life support workshop, conducted by the Dept. of Anaesthesia. There was a huge rush to get into this one.
Poster Presentation Q: Dear Sir, I have been assigned a poster presentation, But I asked for an Oral one! A: Dear delegate, In an oral session you get only 7 mins of presentation time and your mic will be switched off and your score will be deducted for exceeding time. In poster there is no time limit and your poster will be on display for about 6hrs. If you still want oral, we shall inform you if slots are available.
The genius who predicted the Tsunami You think no one knew the tsunami was coming. This maverick scientist did ! Not joking, its true!. He had come to this conclusion from studying the changes in Migratory pattern of Whales. An eternal crowd puller and a witty speaker - Dr. Arunachalam Kumar..
The endless queries "The double sided tape isnt working, you should have bought better quality!!" , "Sir, my presentation was yesterday, but I came only today". "Sir, I cant find my poster board",-- "ehmm okay whats your number??"--"21"-- "whats before 21??"-- "22,sir" -- ??--"Sorry sir 20"-- "yeah and whats before 20"-- "ehmm. 19!"-- "yeah!!!!.. you can subtract!!"--- "?? laugh, I guess so".-- "Great, lets see if you can add"........... We had to literally spell out details and simplify explanations for many delegates for whom the nervousness of speaking in front of an audience for the first time blunted their other senses.  
Time Keeping " In my study..........." RINNNGGG.. "delegate your time is over" "... i found that the prevalence of MRSA was ..." RINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.." delegate your time is OVER!!.. please vacate the podium for the next presenter!!!!!" "... 45%, but we found no significant...." "Volunteers please escort the presenter of the stage!!!"
Quizzzzz Choose the best answer. Which among the following is not related to Surgery? 1. Bailey and love 2. Carbuncle 3. Clandestonian Syndrome 4. Hernioplasty. The Quiz masters were probably preparing the candidates for AIPG.. Try it, can you answer the above question?  
Writing Certificates: A laborious job Day 1 morning: Participant: "Can i get my certificate today?" Organizer: "We will be distributing the certificates on the last day" Participant: "But ma'am my train is leaving today" Organizer: "okay.. let me see what i can do" Day 1 evening Participant: "ma'm my cert.. ?" Organizer: "oh!, yeah.. i'll just it is!" Participant: "Thank you very much ma'm" Day 4 at the Beach: The participant is busy clicking photos while frolicking on the sand Organizer: "Hey!!! YOU!!"
Presentation Winners These fellows got a full publication for free.. What more can you ask for? Congratulations!
Mementos 1 month before the conference in the OS's room -- "Sir, this one looks good it has gold writing on glass"--"No!!.. this one does, it has a clock with it" -- "No!! its this one which looks best.. After a while turning to the memento guy. "How much is the first one" -- "900Rs"-- " Too much"-- How much is the glass one" -- "1200" -- !@#Choking sound heard-- "Okay, how much is this one with plastic.. ?, surely it must be cheap!!.. " --"You are very correct sir, only 5000Rs!!" Finally after exploring the dusty by lanes of Mangalore, we came across these Yakshagana statues which reminder the guest faculty of their sojourn in the coastal city of Mangalore.  

A bit of work lots of play: Visit to Manipal and beach :-)

Visitors from IRAN You would think Indian participants would register for a conference in India first, right?? But in Medicon 09 This group of students from IRAN submitted abstracts and registered first!  

Beach!! It was like no one saw water before..
The organizers checking to see if anyone is breathing anything that they werent supposed to...

Ah well!!

The Red Medicon Bags The bags were a bit unconventional. I guess people liked them.. They even bought it to the beach! ;-)
  Manipal Lib: Free Pass Our VC had given a free pass to all the delegates to visit the New Manipal Central Lib. Otherwise if we needed to visit there. We needed an "Activated Combo Card".. and a written letter from our dean. Go figure!
The Photographer! Dont get scared by this photo. This is Suri. The man to go to for any kind of pics. You must have seen him around showing off his huge Cannon SLR.. He took the poster presentation videos, which got us the 1st position in the JYI Poster Presentation Competition.
A week before the conference:- "Hello ma'm I hope the hostel rooms are ready to be occupied" -- " yes. yes." -- "just arrange for 400 pillows, 800 bedsheets and 150 buckets and mugs!"-- Dhud!!, Dhud!!!- It was one organizer fainting. The second one had 9 other things being processed in his head so there was a momentary delay in reception followed by the predicted response. Adios!: Picture taken after the Manipal trip when everyone started leaving.
A Very Late night conversation: Gyaan session ;-) In the pic from the right you can see. Dr. Kiran, Dr. Yasmin, Dr. Fathema Jawad, Vasu and us..  All sitting and chatting away at 2am in the morning on the last day...Kiran ma'm sweetly offered us a few Mangoes she had purchased earlier in the morning, and since we hadn't eaten much during the day, we devoured the entire lot! By that day we had become insomniacs, walking around like zombies. It didnt make much difference whether we slept or not at that point. It would never be enough.
Post Medicon Treat for Volunteers Cake from Crumbs.... for the Volunteer party. I just remember that i had got the chance of taking this photo of the cake.. The next thing i see is just the cardboard minus the cake lying on the table. The cake was gone!
Volunteer party Ahh...they deserved it!!
Shivi and Ghayoor "SmileShivi do this, this this this and this .. oh i forgot this too.. " ---- "Yell " ---- "Innocent pleaasee...   Morning 9:00am @Medicon heights(Commed dept): -- "Ctrl +C , Ctrl+V, click click" - Sounds of Ghayoor sitting and working Night 9:00pm @Medicon heights - "Ctrl +C , Ctrl+V, click click" - Sounds of Ghayoor sitting and working
Rocky Random person: Hey rocky X and Y are at it again.. We dont know what to do. Rocky: Hmph - "I just took care of that yesterday, they found something new already!" He was the glue that held us all together!!.
Party by the OS You can see our dear Org Sec. here.. Dr. Animesh Jain, (fourth from the left).
THE TEAM !! This was the dream Team folks.. You can see just about everyone here!. JK missed the photo.... I would like to name everyone here, but for the limitations in space.. Also the list would never be complete. Three Cheers for THE TEAM!!!!!