Hope all of you are safe and sound and in high spirits! The new Rotary year has commenced most unusually. Never in our wildest dreams had we imagined that we would be confned to our homes for more than fve months at a stretch. Never did we think that the Mumbai local trains would come to a complete standstill for more than 24 hours. Now it has been over 150 days. Flights cancelled; holidays cancelled; dining out is forbidden; and staying at home is the new mantra.
But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and so does this cloud I am sure. Due to our confnement, we have learnt to leverage technology like never before. Those who could barely send an email earlier are now communicating effortlessly through the Zoom app. Earlier, people would plan for weeks in advance to attend an event; now they can do so in a few hours over virtual media, reaching out to a much larger audience. We’ve had more time to introspect, count our blessings and reset our lives in many ways. And as families, we have become closer and our hearts warmer.
It’s been 17 years since I joined the Rotary Club of Bombay Mid-Town but I fnd that hard to believe—it feels only a few years since my installation into our prestigious club! Surrounded by the warmth and friendship of our club members the time has just fown. I have bonded with members across the board and taken up various roles over the years. But as the saying goes, one does not understand Rotary fully until one becomes the Club President. So here I am as the President of the Rotary Club of Bombay Mid-Town…. It’s been two months and rocking!
Every year our club does several projects and this year too we shall continue to do so. Armed with our Vision for the year—‘To build self-reliant communities by nurturing talent and providing equal opportunity’—we hope to align our projects enabling people and communities to become self-reliant, leading to a sustainable future.
We have already commenced with our fagship project of Free Cataract Surgeries. The Little Hearts Project has also taken off. The thrust area project of Promoting Nutrition in adolescents at Utavali village has got off to a good start. Through our Hand Pump Project, we are providing clean drinking water to hundreds of village households in Potkal, Karjat, Panvel and Jalna, while our Kitchen Garden Project at Utavali will enable villagers to grow and consume nutritious vegetables.
Not to forget our COVID-19 Relief initiatives that have helped feed hundreds of afficted families in Mumbai and provide protective gear to several hospitals and schools. Our new project on Creating Diabetes Awareness through social media has also been gaining popularity. Many more projects—NASEOH, Anugraha School Rehabilitation, Mid-day Meals and E-learning—are all in the pipeline and will take off soon.
Rotary is synonymous with service and fellowships. Though we all miss the bonhomie at our weekly meetings and fellowships, we have kept members engaged through virtual meetings with interesting speakers such as Manjeet Kripalani of Gateway House and Dr. Sanjay Mukherjee, Secretary, Medical Education, Food & Drugs Administration and Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra; a virtual tour of Jerusalem; our Musical Quiz fellowship; and many more.
The newly formed Rotaract Club of Bombay Mid-Town has become active and has commenced its projects. Incorporation of two more Interact clubs, decided last year, viz. Interact club of St. Anne’s High School, Colaba, and Interact Club of Rakesh Jain Madhyamik Vidyamandir, Panvel, are on the anvil. Sister BK Shivani, who recently addressed us in a joint Rotary meeting, said, “Let us all be ‘givers’ instead of ‘takers’.” Rotary too believes in ‘service above self’. In the same spirit, I urge every club member to come forward and contribute generously in terms of their time, energy and resources.
Let all of us, as members, embrace the club, participate whole-heartedly and make this year like no other Rotary year. The Rotary Club of Bombay Mid-Town loves you all!
With warm regards,
Rtn. Vicky Punjabi
Club President (2020-21)