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News from Chennai
Companionship carnival- June 7th 2013
DIGNITY FOUNDATION in its relentless endeavour of working for the care and cause of senior citizens of Chennai came up with unique full day event to promote Companionship, entertainment and discovery among senior citizens.
On 7th June 2013 senior citizens of Chennai were invited to a “companionship carnival” the first of its kind in Chennai. Apart dignitarians many seniors came from far and near to check out this special event organised for them .The cool spacious GODAVARI HALL at ANDHRA CLUB ,T.NAGAR provided the right ambiance and set the ball rolling.
At 11 in the morning after Dignity Anthem, the event started with Sudoku. Seniors set their brains working to solve the puzzle, as minutes tick by seniors raced to fill up numbers. Mr Krishnamurthy won the first prize followed by Ms.Bala Vasan. Next game was five corners with foot tapping music at background every one in hall took part. As group after group got eliminated. The final round was trilling to witness the last 3 persons remain on the floor. Prizes were distributed for the winners.
After lunch there was another round of games followed by thought provoking discussion on LIVE IN PARTNERSHIP AS TREND IN BIG CITIES. The discussants were Dr.Prakash, Mr. Raja narayana-an Advocate, Ms.Meera Raghavandra Rao- Journalist , lioness Sundara Gopalan, the moderator, with Dr.sanjay Dattari the director of old is gold store. The discussion was lively with pro and against views on the topic and even the audience raised points missed the panellists. The concluding point noted by the moderator was it is a personal choice of the senior citizens how to overcome loneliness.
Finally the curtains rose for the highlight of event- Fashion show by senior citizens. With melodious fusion of music as the background score, dressed in various styles seniors, individually and in pairs walked the ramp like thorough professionals, and stuck attention grabbing poses. There were oohs and haas from the audiences. Media went tizzy clicking the participants. Ladies were draped in heavy kanchivarams, gold embroided gagras, rich cottons, tops and pants of current fashion. Men matched with royal kurta cudidhars, Crisp vaishtis, smart trousers suits.
Total 10 pairs participated in the beautiful event; the judges had tough time to select the winners. The prizes were given for best model Female -Ms Amutha, Best male Mr.Subramaniam and best pair went to Mr Krishnaswamy and Mrs Nirmala Krishnaswamy.
This was followed by a sintilating dance by our lovely lady dignitarians choreographed by Ms. Revathi.
The event came to an end the with a grand dinner.
17th Anniversary of Dignity Dialogue on March 29 2012
Celebration time at Dignity foundation, Chennai Chapter
On 5thApril 2013 by 4.30 p.m most of seats were taken by members’ to enjoy the 18th anniversary celebrations of their favourite magazine DIGNITY DIALOGUE.
The program started with Dignity Anthem . Shri K. Radha Krishnan, Director-Chennai chapter introduced the chief guest,Shri B.S.RAGHAVAN I.A.S.,Retd Chief Secretary – West Bengal, and brand ambassador Shri V.P. Dhananjayan the well-known danseuse and delivered the welcome address.
In his key note address chief guest Shri B.S. Raghavan lauded the services rendered by Dignity Foundation for cause and care of senior citizens. He announced a donation of Rs 25,000 the Dignity Foundation Dementia day care centre. Addressing the audience the Shri V.P Dhananjayan wished that media play more active role in helping this network to reach out to seniors.
Aruna Damodaram, Head- Chennai Chapter took the audience how the Dignity Dialogue began, Celebrities from different walks of life who graced the cover of the Dignity Dialogue over the years. People who amply supported the magazine, advertisers and creative editorial team. She stated today DIGNITY DIALOGUE is a vibrant senior citizen magazine with a strong readership and increasing subscribers across India.
12 Dignitarians authors were honoured this year, comprised of journalists, short story writers, poets, translators and travel writers. This was followed by performance by dignitarians namely, poetry reading, story telling, one act play and humour. Chitchatting and relishing a cup of coffee and snacks members rounded off the evening.
Celebration time at Dignity foundation, Chennai Chapter.
On 29th March Dignity Foundation Chennai chapter celebrated the 17th anniversary of the magazine Dignity Dialogue in a grand manner at Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Harrington road, Chennai.
The theme for the evening was "Celebrating our Celebrities"
The programme started off with the Voice of Dignity anthem. The welcome address was given by Mr Radhahakrishnan, Director of Dignity Foundation. Welcoming the senior citizens warmly he briefly spoke about Dignity foundation its services and benefits, Dementia day -care centre .He concluded Dignity Dialogue is able to net work with senior citizens not only in Chennai, but pan- India.
Aruna Damodaram, chapter head took the audience through a beautiful power point presentation of how Dignity Dialogue began, the various celebrities profiled as inspiration to senior citizens, -- celebrities from different walks of life, people who amply supported the magazine, advertisers and creative editorial team.
The keynote talk was given by Swami Atmajnanadaji Maharaj on "Being Old and Wanted", a Spiritual Discourse. His talk was peppered with quotes from scriptures. He dwelt upon the changing role of seniors in accordance with current changes in the family structure and society. Seniors have the wisdom to adapt themselves accordingly. He concluded magazine like Dignity Dialogue could be a guide for them. Core committee member Mrs. Indu Phadke honored Swamiji with memento.
It was time to introduce the Celebrities of the our chapter by Mr. Radhakrishnan .A big round of applause went up, each time the celebrity's name was announced. One by one they came onto the stage. …. Dhananjanyas, the famous dancing couple, Balakrishnan, founder of Bala taxi service, and a story of from raqgs to riches, Mr.Nirmal of Exnora, Vidyadhar for whom every abandoned man, women and child becomes a family member of vudavum karangal ( helping hands), Vaijayanthimala, famous actor of yesteryear, and Savithri Vaithi of Vishranti.
About 200 members attended the event.
A true meeting
"Dignity foundation" asked a friendly lady voice over the phone. No sooner I confirmed she expressed "I am so -thankful to Df for it has changed my life" since then trying to contact Df office." .Acknowledging her gratefulness I gently prodded "can I know which service of Df has bought about the change"?
"Life partner" she giggled at the other end of the line I was mum for a second She continued "This happened 6 y ears ago. … Her story…..
Mrs. Rekha ( name changed) was a widow aged 58,. Well to do, with 2 married sons living by her self.. though her sons were loving and cared for her, .she felt bored and lonely and wanted to meet people of her age group. One evening she came for the Dignity Dialogue meeting held at Automobile Association, Mount road Chennai
Mr. Rajesh (name changed) DF member, is a successful and busy business man, came for same meeting to enquire about home - nursing care for his ailing father.
Like any new- comer she was introduced to him at the meeting. As they got to know each other, They found their situation and backgrounds were similar .Mr. Rajesh,. Senior to her by couple of years was a recent widower with young daughter and aged parents. They became friends. They found out that they had common interests, and were comfortable in each other's company both did not want to depend on their families. As two mature individuals they did not want to hide their relationship, so they decided to become man and wife
The best part of the story - Mr. Rajesh's family ie his in-laws (late wife's parents ) and his parents and Mrs. Rekha's family ie.mother , sister whole heartedly approved and gave their blessing Their children too were happy
They were married at a temple, in a grand manner in the presence of their respective families, relatives, and well –wishers. Mr. Rajesh's in-laws and parents welcomed Rekha as a daughter and god sent mother for their young granddaughter. Rekha's mother was very happy to have a son-in law and father for her grandsons.
Few days ago she came over and become a member of dignity foundation. Now her second son left his job and joined his dad's business. Both the immediate families stay close to each other and they are one big happy family.
Though it is all providence or karma connection as to how and when people meet. It was in this garden of dignity a beautiful relationship blossomed and culminated into a marriage. I was touched when she narrated her story.
Tamil Nadu Police cares for Senior Citizens
The view from dining area at TNPA was soothing to the eyes. Well laid out gardens, vast open spaces with trees and shrubs here and there. And shimmering blue water of the lake at the far end.
The dining hall was spacious with neatly laid out tables and food court at one end of the hall. Dignitarians picking up their plates helped them selves. - Soft, warm chapattis with vegetables curries, spicy & tangy sambar and rasam to go with hot rice and .papaads. For dessert delicious payasam and fruit to round off the meal.
DR Pradeep v. Philips Inspector General of Police. IPS joined the members for lunch and interacted freely with us. .He mentioned he established a dedicated band of volunteers call FRIENDS OF THE POLICE. This is headed by an active elder of 75 yrs. At the time of distress any one can reach out to them and they will arrive as soon as possible to assist the victims, till the police reach the scene.
DF Chennai plans to invite him to address Dignitarians at one of the coffee with dignity sessions.
Ms. Mutharasi ADSP shared stories during the luncheon, of how police go out of the way to help public, especially the elderly .and they also settle family disputes concerning seniors .She pointed out the causes could be breaking up of families, children's moving away, greedy sons and daughters of the elderly.
As we were taking leave and thanking Mr. Philips for the delicious lunch and hospitality shown to us, he sprang a surprise- offering a tour of the campus before we return. Dignitarians agreed happily and went over the opposite building which housed the library, Rows and rows of books neatly shelved along the walls. There were reference materials, books, periodicals and magazines on wide range of topics. Comfortable seating arrangements to browse through.
A ride around the campus of 235 acres! As it was siesta time members preferred to have glimpse of gyanasium, swimming pool, officer mess, and parade ground from the bus.
The officer accompanying us informed all ranks of constable and above from Tamil Nadu police force come here for training. And the state of art training, and facilities are provided to the officers. A lot of construction and infrasturce activity is still on. On completion it will be one of the best academy in the country.
Having the opportunity to meet the police higher-ups Dignitarians now felt that they will freely approach the police without fear and distrust. And will educate their families about good Samaritan work done by keepers of law and order.
Soon the bus headed towards the city, Mr.Lakshmi Pathi rendered some lovely old Tamil film songs and members returned home on a happy note.
The Police can show how to be nice too
21 February, 2012, was red letter day for Dignitarians at Chennai.......
After tucking in a tasty and healthy breakfast of idli and vada, at 9.30 in the morning 25 Dignitarians along with Mr. Radhakrishnan, Director of Chennai CHapter, trooped into the waiting police van set off to Tamil Nadu Police Training Academy, at Vandalur.
Passersby gave curious looks - demure seniors in the police van! What is the offence? Inside the van seniors were enjoying the ride , chit -chatting, going thro the draft policy , jotting down points , scanning newspapers .The van drove passed the busy morning city traffic and in an hour it veered into the imposing gates of the academy. A sprawling campus with pleasing landscape.
We were greeted at the main entrance of the Academy by officer in charge, who led us to the conference hall in the first floor. Wow! In the stately conference hall, seniors took their seats looked around in awe.
With in minutes Dr. Pradeep V. Philips, Inspector General of Police .Mr. Nagarajan, IPS walked in and took their seats, and the proceedings began.
Dr. Philips welcomed the gathering, and spoke about role of police concerning seniors, he also dealt on a few points mentioned in the National Draft Policy for Seniors 2012. He mentioned that one of the architects of the Policy is none other than our founder president Dr Sheilu Sreenivasan. A sense pride filled in all of us.
Mr. Radhakrishnan highlighted the activities, services and benefits rendered to seniors by DF and stressed how it relentlessly worked for their.
Brainstorming got underway when Mr. Radhakrishnan fired the first salvo -- The Auto rickshaw menace, overcharging, rude and threatening behaviours of the drivers and that also the fact that some of the autos are owned by the police personnel, hearing this Dr. Philips turned round questioningly at Mr. Nagarajan, who nodded in the affirmative.
Ms. Mutharasi ADSP took over and set the ball rolling - requesting the members to announce their name and take turns to speak. Like eager kids of in the classroom who have the right answers the members vived with each other for the mike. Mr. Lakshmipathi highlighted the problem of no earmarked seats for seniors in public transport. Mrs. Leelavathi spoke about the unfriendly, unspporting behaviours of police personnel and her personnel experience in this connection. Ms Prema Seethraman told about the lacuna of safety for seniors, dubious domestic help. In all a chorus of difficulties and wants
Many a time's discussion veered to personnel narrations. Dr Republica who runs a palliative care focused on the old age related health issues, care givers indifferent attitude, or unable to do so because of financial constrains, abandoned elders. Though issues are same in rich, middle class and poor. But these sections have to be dealt with differently. Law enforcement officers and members heard her in rapt attention. She went on to add that problems are even more severe in the rural areas and there is shortage of mortuaries!
Though some of the members suggestions for social problems were hilarious, but they also put forth a very valid solution… The Police Force has to be sensitized to the needs of elderly, show empathy to seniors, be more polite, senior friendly, demonstrate MAY I HELP YOU in the real sense, and build trust, among the elderly citizens and these can be achieved by the police force, if there is will at the top. Members also agreed in the police force except a few black sheep and the rest are doing tremendous jobs silently.
All points were noted by the police staff. Time flew by. Members were tired and happy. And it was time for LUNCH.
Some more suggestions and tidbits in the next post……
A Visit can do wonders
C.L.Nithyanandam, an active senior had fractured his left leg in an accident and he was confined to home. In his youth he was a keen sports person in Table Tennis & Badminton of international standards, later he become a referee in the same field. It was a rude shock for him now to be confined to bed and house.
He used to call regularly and spoke at length about his past sports life.. He would start the conversation stating "those were days".... And he would feel terribly offended if anyone from office had to cut short his calls. He would often bitterly remark- nobody cares or spares time for an injured old man.
One fine morning, one of our volunteers by name Mythili paid him a surprise visit. Soon both got chit-chatting like house on fire! Discussing and sharing views on range of topics.
Attending his telephone call the other day I was pleasantly surprised .to hear him speak cheerfully, saying his is leg healing quickly and soon he can move outside and commanded jokingly "send me the renewal form" and hung the phone..
Really a visit can do wonders.