Thursday, 29 March 2018


[Address Delivered by Vivek S Patwardhan, President, Rotary Club of Thane Metro at OCV on March 28, 2018]

Dist Governor Sivarraj, dignitaries on the dais, my fellow Rotarians and Friends,

I welcome you to this gathering on the occasion of the official club visit of the District Governor.

The last time you came to our Club, Mr Dist Governor, it was on June 23, 2017; it was my installation day. And you are here today. This intervening time period is of 9 months and 6 days! It has given birth to many projects to serve the Society and further the cause of Rotary.

On the installation day, Mr Dist Governor, I had explained our plans and made one commitment to you. The commitment was that we will give our best; we will do whatever it takes to make things happen.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that we have delivered on the promise. Here is a list of projects we have done:
1.    We have built two check dams in Bhiwandi Taluka. This will touch the lives of over 5000 persons.
2.    We have drilled two bore wells. Mr Vikas Jadhav who is also President of a Rotary Club wants us to drill the third bore well, and I would like to announce that we will do it soon.
3.    We have donated two E-learning integrated computers, the best product available in India, designed by IIT, to the two schools at Angaon,
4.    We have gifted two solar power systems to the same two schools at Angaon. This means they will not have to pay any electricity bill for several years to come. And as a Rotary initiative we have thus contributed to the initiative of green earth.
5.    We have constructed a toilet block at a village school. Lack of toilet facility is one of the causes of early school dropouts, we hope this project would contribute to reducing the drop-out rate among girl students.
6.    I would like to make an important announcement here. Mr Hemant Jagtap who is our friend, philosopher and guide suggested that we should undertake the project of Bicycle Bank. Girl students in villages often have to walk long distance of 4 to 5 Km one way to the school. The result: drop-out rate among girl students goes up. So we will be providing 75 bicycles to SVP School at Kiravali. These will be given to girl students on rotation basis. Those students who pass out 10th class will hand over their cycles to those who come in the 8th std. We expect that our project will go a long way in supporting education of the girl students.

At this juncture I would like to acknowledge the contribution of Rs 1 Lakh made by my ex-colleagues in Asian Paints. I would also like to mention that Mr Hemant Mondkar has already contributed Rs 2.0 Lakhs will be contributing another Rs. 1.60 Lakhs for the Bicycle bank project. Give him a big hand!!

Thanks to the donors, the students will have a pleasant surprise waiting for them when schools reopen in June.

This also means that our year does not end with OCV, it will continue till June end.

We have in addition done some interesting events: RYLA with Bedekar College’s Management Institute for the third successive year. We organised a Kavya Vachan event for our club; it was well compered by Surekha Mondkar who is a poetess herself. We have done three events for our senior citizens. And a diabetes awareness and detection camp. The list is long. In addition, Dr Kanti Solanki has published a book on Rotary information.

This, by any standard is a superlative performance. This would not have been possible without support of my fellow Rotarians like Hemant and Surekha Mondkar, Pooja and Sandeep Nemawarkar, Mangala Karandikar, Dr Kanti Solanki, Omprakash Shahi, Niteen Dhuru, Dr Pradnya Aptikar, Padma and Pravin Doshi and other members of Rotary Club of Thane Metro.

Mr Dist Governor, Ladies and Gentlemen, I seek your continued support to the activities of Rotary club of Thane Metro.

Vivek S Patwardhan

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Resetting Rhythm in Life

Some people crave for limelight, we know them [and hate those narcissits]! There are some others who shy away from publicity. Limelight makes them cringe. I am speaking about Pravinbhai Doshi and Padmavati
Doshi. Usually husband and wife represent opposite tendencies, but Mr and Mrs Doshi share a common trait. They avoid getting noticed, although they do some outstanding work and philanthropy.

Their tribe is small, and their work largely not recognised or noticed. 

The Doshis have been organising, among other activities, a visit to old age home. Regularly for the past fifteen years! 

Typically, they hire a bus. We travel together to the old age home. We perform Aarati. That’s because the visit is always arranged during Navaratri. Then we move to their community hall. It is a huge hall.

Last year Nisha and Sneha, daughters of Ramesh Iyer brought their
troupe. We enjoyed music with them. The residents of old age home also enjoyed singing with the troupe. They gave is ‘Jembe’ and when everybody started beating those small drums energy and enthusiasm filled the room.

We met a man who was 99 years old! Unfortunately he passed away recently, they said. The oldest man was all smiles listening to music. Music has therapeutic effect on everybody.

This year Doshis brought in the Katthak dance troupe of Ms Priti
Ghanekar. They danced in group and also solo. They danced on traditional songs and also modern songs. Ms Priti performed on all-time favourite ‘Mohe panaghat pe nandlal….’. They not only performed dance sequences effortlessly, they also got the senior citizens to dance ‘Garba’ and ‘Dandiya.’

Rhythm is intoxicating! It works does wonders on people of all ages!! Life
has its own rhythm. Sometimes it is lost. In order to restore the rhythm of life we must dance to a set rhythm. It moves from outer world to inner world, haven’t you experienced it? Dancing, they say, is ‘dynamic mediation.’

There is no better service to the Society than re-setting the rhythm of
others’ lives. The Doshis know this instinctively. They do not speak about it. They just watch the effect of the song and dance on people. There is a lot to learn from Rotarians among us!!

Vivek S Patwardhan

Sunday, 17 September 2017

From Rotary With Poetry

The Club’s meeting on Sept 15 was unique for two reasons: It was our joint meeting with Rotary Club of Garden City, and it was also the second meeting in a span of ten weeks on poetry!

Rtn Hemant Jagtap is a civil engineer who has had a hand in building more than 400 Check Dams. As an Executive Engineer of PWD, he has built several bridges, canals and big dams. Like you discover water source at unlikely places, you also discover a poet at unlikely offices! Hemant studies Gazhals seriously, and can deliver a scholarly lecture on it.

He began with the history of Gazhals, it was a surprise to learn that the original gazhals were written in Persian language and not in Urdu. That Urdu was not even a language which was ‘born’ when gazhals were being written was a surprise to us.

If you are in Rotary, the chances are that you can find poetry in your work. It is all about doing things passionately, and that’s what we do.
Thanks for giving us a great evening Hemant!

[Photograph shows Mr Narendra Mahajani, President of RC Garden City and Rtn Nitin Aptikar, Secretary, RC Thane Metro at the two ends. And Rtn Hemant Jagtap speaking on Gazhals.]

Vivek S Patwardhan

Friday, 1 September 2017

'Projecting' Thoughts

Hello Rotarians,

Let me welcome Dhananjay Kulkarni with his family and Sridhar Bharadwaj with his family. They are going to be inducted as members today. Dhananjay is a techie and Sridhar is HR professional – so it is a techie + touchie combination today. 

And I welcome all Rotarians, their family members and other guests.

My thoughts
I am presenting some thoughts for your consideration. I have been a Rotarian and I have also interacted with other Rotarians. It was with a sense of pride that I accepted the position of President of our club.

I have been watching the work of our club as also that of other clubs. I read with interest the quick posts on WhatsApp groups of Rotarians. A question that remained at the top of my mind was: How should Rotarians invest time, energy and money in various types of what is called ‘projects?’ How should we prioritise these projects?

I am taking opportunity to share my thoughts. I am placing my thoughts before you so that we can generate a healthy discussion, and find a strategy for our Club.

I reviewed the projects we have done in recent past. We do some projects regularly: Medical camps, RYLA, Vocational Excellence Awards, Rangoli competition for Balakashram at Angaon, Some project for the Old Age home there, We also have interaction with Nirmala Niketan in every Navaratri, We organise a day out for senior citizens in the winter.

This year we have done a major project which is of gifting an e-learning product.
Let me now return to the question I raised: How should Rotarians invest time, energy and money in various types of what is called ‘projects?’ How should we prioritise these projects?

If we look at the projects which I just counted, they fall in two different areas:

1.    The People Projects: In these projects people or a group of people is the focus of our projects. To my mind projects like Narmada Niketan, Senior Citizen picnic, RYLA fall in this category

2.    The Institutions Projects: In these projects institutions for example schools, are the focus of our projects. Falling in this category will be e-learning project.
When we look at the impact short or long term we see that four types emerge:

Short Term
Long Term
Celebrations, Lunch, Giving shawls or bags to senior citizens, Medical camps,
Providing tools or vehicles, appliances, Skill building, Prolonged counselling, RYLA, Free surgeries, Check dams, Bore well
Sponsoring Games, Arranging Rangoli competition, Essay competition
Solar Power, Closed Circuit TV, E-learning solutions,

We must understand that the time required to execute these projects, Number of people benefited, Degree of difficulty involved and Funds required are four factors which can help us understand the differences and help us prioritise.

People/Short Term: Time Short, Money not very sizeable, Degree of difficulty in arranging is low
People/Long Term: Planning required- Long time, Good amount of funds, High degree of difficulty – Govt permissions etc.
Institutions/Short Term: Time Short, Money not very sizeable, Degree of difficulty in arranging is low
Institutions/Long Term: Planning required- Long time, Good amount of funds, High degree of difficulty – Govt permissions etc.

The issue is what should be focus of our club?

Shall we manage within available resources or shall we garner resources to do the dream projects?
Shall we go for maximum impact in terms of number of people touched like holding painting competitions OR shall we go for in-depth impact like offering parent-child relations counselling?
These are the dilemmas. There is no easy answer. Perhaps the answer is that we should do projects in all areas, and raise funds to do it - not decide projects based on funds available.

My point is that every Board must debate these issues and arrive at the plan for the year. In final analysis such conversations add to richness of Rotary experience.

Best wishes to the new members and welcome again,
Vivek S Patwardhan