The Last Lecture – All is Well that Ends Well – Shukriya Night 25th June 2018
The Rotary Club of Bombay’s last meeting for the 2017 to 2018 year began with President Ramesh Narayan acknowledging the efforts and passion of all the committee members, office bearers, and past presidents. Reflecting upon what he said at the beginning of the year, “We are the warriors we were waiting for,” President Narayan believed that the Rotarians have proved that they, in fact, are the warriors they were waiting for all throughout the Club’s successful year. Upon being asked how the year had been, the President was left wondering, “Whose year was it anyway?”
President Narayan then walked us through an audio visual journey of all the service projects that the RCB undertook in the past year, beginning with Bhavishya Yaan. Talking about this project, the President said, “Bhavishya Yaan is an idea whose time has come. It is eight years old now. I would have said ‘through its highs and lows,’ but it has only had highs.” Now established as one of the best projects in India, it provides vocational training, life skills, and English lessons to underprivileged children in municipal schools. Not only that, the program grants opportunities for students to go beyond school by providing exposure. He chose to raise funds with a more professional approach by creating a music video for the promotion of Bhavishya Yaan, organising a concert with the renowned singer Shankar Mahadevan, amongst other efforts. Further, the film that depicted all the achievements and accolades of the Rotary year during the meeting was created by Abhishek, a student of Bhavishya Yaan.
Next, introducing Ananda Yaan, President Narayan said, “It’s hard to be poor in India. It’s hard to be old in India and it’s really hard to be old and poor in India.” Ananda Yaan is an elder day-care centre, launched during the year with a centre in Byculla, and has now grown to another centre in the Dadar-Sea Link area. This philanthropic venture was presented the Committee of the Year award.
The Talwada Project, adopted in 1971 by the Rotary Club of Bombay, stands for two things: the eye centre now renamed the Phiroze Ruttonshaw Vakil Eye Care Centre and the Ajit Deshpande Medical Centre which houses departments for pediatrics,dentistry, pulmonary, chest, and pathology. The Deshpande Medical Centre will also receive an all-new look this September. As he announced this, he urged all Rotarians to visit Talwada, because he feels proud every time he visits the site.
Reaffirming the RCB’s commitment to animal welfare, President Narayan said, “Any society is judged by the way it treats its animals.” The Rotary Club of Bombay has donated ambulances, sterilised numerous cats, and has initiated numerous other projects. The Club has even been recognised for its good work across various news channels. “The media loves a good story and ninety years of good work is a great story,” President Narayan stated as he stepped into the fourth requisite of being a great president – brand building. The Club celebrated its 89th anniversary and stepping into its 90th year brought in a lot of coverage for the Club as India’s largest and oldest Rotary Club.
In conclusion, President Narayan asked, “Whose year was it anyway?” Not the president, not the chairpersons, not the members. “This was the year of a taxi driver cancer patient, Rani, whose heart surgery we did; the old man at Ananda Yaan; Pooja who works in this hotel (Taj Vivanta President) itself; another girl, a vegetable vendor who is on her way to the SCA. And these are just examples of the hundreds and hundreds of people who we have been able to impact. I believe that this was their year.” Humbled and honoured, he expressed his gratitude for being given this opportunity to help these hundreds. Thanked for his incredible service to the Club, the Rotarians roared with a thunderous standing ovation and bid a bittersweet farewell to President Ramesh Narayan.