Eastern Bridge – RCME Newsletter, Issue #05







  • From Sannanallur to Antarctica, A colonel’s journey

  • Scandals and the Royalty of Madras



  • Annapathiram

  • Idhayagaanam


  • 76th Independence Day Celebration at Bheemanapet Community College

  • Purposeful training at Bheemanapet Community College


  • Annette Club installation




The 75th anniversary of the independence day of our motherland was the highlight of this fortnight. Given that a strong sense of belonging is celebrated at RCME, it is no surprise that the Independence day celebrations at RCME were a grand affair. We distributed 2000 flags, to our members as well as to several schools. Our members took active part in the flag hoisting ceremony and all in all it was a proud moment for every RCMEan. Therefore it is only apt that we had the patriotic personage, Col. P Ganesan, over as a guest speaker for our weekly meeting. His story from Sannanalur to Antarctica, was inspiring and brought out the patriot in every one of the members. On this day, the installation of the Annette’s club also took place and we are certain that they will make RCME proud.

The icing on the cake was Madras Week, celebrated at RCME, with a well admired speaker, who enthralled the audience with his riveting dialogue. Historian Venkatesh’s speech was so interactive that it almost felt like discussing a memoir of Madras over a cup of coffee.

Continuing our celebration of Madras week, was our Madras nalla Madras fellowship. I would describe it in greater detail, but I wouldn’t want you to miss out on Ann Viji Shivram’s article. I will say this- The fellowship was indicative of how we felt about Madras and the lengths we would go to honour it. 

The fun continued with the rotary Olympiad being organized on a grand scale. The press coverage for the event was almost as impressive as the event itself and the participation exceeded our ambitious expectations.

I will conclude here and let you read the rest with the descriptive deliverance of all of the contributors to this newsletter. 

Onwards and upwards to a busier fortnight.


Yours truly,

President Rtn. Ramakumar


Jai Hind! was the energy surrounding this fortnight. With independence day celebrations in the country going on in full swing, the activities in RCME, have been even more vigorous with flag hoisting, invigorating guest speakers, illustrious guest writers and a convivial fellowship. Lots to recollect, lots to reproduce and even more to look forward to. In the last issue, the special piece by Senior advocate Mr.NL Rajah, was eye opening and filled to the brim with information we are lucky to come across.

​In this issue, we have a chance for you to contribute to an article. The broad topic of it being in honour of Madras Week. I only want to bask on the fact that apart from the honour of being published in the next issue of the newsletter, we also have an exciting gift for you! We hope to receive articles in large numbers and I can’t wait to read the sentences you serve.

Don’t miss out on the Ann and Annette article in this newsletter, we are happy and grateful for their contribution and hope to invite greater participation from Anns and Annettes in the upcoming issues.

Hope you enjoy reading this newsletter.


With love and commitment,

Rtn. Ramya Subramaniam
Assistant Secretary



In honour of Madras Week, we thought it fit to provide you with the coveted opportunity of writing for our newsletter. With the number of members in RCME growing by the day, I have always been curious to know from our members and their families, as to what made them feel at home in RCME.

On to the motivating part of it- The winning contributor, gets a very very special hamper. Mind you, this will be a customized hamper, depending on who wins. So without revealing anything more, I am waiting to read in the entries.

Who can participate- Members, Anns Annettes, spouses

Last date- 09.11.2022

Who gets to decide the winning entry/entries- Me! (Perks of being the editor)

You can email the entries to ramya@astrislegal.com

Looking forward to your entries and experiences


Ramya Subramaniam




August, 17, 2022


Being a member of RCME brings with it the benefit of meeting people from all across the world- quite literally. This time we had the opportunity to meet a south Indian man who went to the south pole.

​Col. P. Ganesan was our special guest speaker for the weekly meeting on August 17, 2022, as we celebrated our nation’s 75th anniversary of independence with him. Col P Ganesan, being the  awardee of the prestigious Vashit seva medal, recollected with great fondness, his trip to the south pole. Hailing from a small village called Sannanallur near Thiruvarur, foregoing a cushy government job and braving his way to the icy grounds of the south pole, this man fears nothing. He was selected as India’s mission leader to Dakshingangotri, Indian Antarctic Resarch Station, at south pole, Antarctica in the year 1987-89. He spent 480 days in the world’s coldest unfriendly place and was awarded the vashisht medal for the same by the President in 1994. 

​Col P Ganesan is a quirky man. Not only did he visit the south pole, he also brought back a south pole souvenier. Five tonnes of Antarctic rocks! He then placed these rocks in his native village of Sannanallur, one at the Madras Engineer group in Bengaluru, where he worked, one at the Ashram, one at the museum in Bengaluru and one at his house in Chennai. He basically traced out, through these rocks, his life map leading him to Antartica. He was selected as India’s mission leader to Dakshingangotri, Indian Antarctic Research Station, at south pole, Antarctica in the year 1987-89. 

​In all, the evening was a lovely one, made complete with the Annette’s club installation and the super delicious spread that even a picky eater would praise. 


Rtn Ramya Subramaniam



August, 24, 2022


​If you expected a historian on Madras to arrive in cotton baggies and a kurta to match with a jolna hanging from a tired shoulder, you would have missed the speaker of this week.  As we did that evening !  I was engaged in an animated talk with Sujitha and we felt that while Madras Week is all very celebratory are we guilty of an overkill with events and speeches dime a dozen? Sujitha called a certain number belonging to the speaker to check his whereabouts.  A phone 2 meters away sprang to life and a beaming Mr. Venkatesh answered it animatedly!

​He is credited for having written three books till now, noteworthy among them being a sequel to Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan, titled ‘Kaviri Mainthan’.  In endorsement of what I was commenting, Mr Venkatesh said it was his third engagement for the day on exactly the same topic of Madras.  

​He has been actively engaged in mapping the cultural landscape of the city’s rivers.  He made a presentation on the least known aspects of Madras history- her Royalty.  While the city never had a throne worth its price even in aluminium ( I shouldn’t belittle the value of that metal  since in the 19th century with the technology available to produce it, aluminium became more precious than gold and silver  because it was harder to obtain. The French government once displayed Fort Knox-like aluminium bars next to the crown jewels, and the minor emperor Napoleon III reserved a prized set of aluminium cutlery for special guests at his banquets), Madras abounded in events, stories and scandals that would make any Madrasphile sit up and take notice of.  

​Mr Venkatesh is a died in wool researcher that he could share rare photographs. Consider some here: Prince of Wales,  George, who would later be crowned the King and be given Bombay as a gift, (none bothering to  check with  Mumbaikars if that would mean they don’t own their shacks that anyway remain  perpetually unpainted) looking through binoculars at a distant distraction, while on a visit to Madras,  when surrounding him were royalties from every nook and cranny of India. Then we were treated to a photo of Lord Mountbatten when he met with the Travancore Maharaja the meeting happening at Ramalayam, Adyar which was his palace in Madras telling his Diwan CP Ramaswamy Iyer that he should encourage his master to sign the treaty of accession since Iyer had famously maintained that Travancore will remain independent of the Indian Union.

​Then he had one too many stories to share.  The hottest of those scandal episodes relate to Rani Sita. The eighth richest man in the world Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Baroda had come to race his horses in Guindy. More than the equine sprints he saw a beautiful girl who lived in Alwarpet. Though a mother of three by the time she was 25, maternity had left very little vestiges on Sita’s comeliness. Both of them forgot their marital status and fell in love. 

​First Sita converted herself to a Muslim. That made divorce easy with her husband. And once unfettered, using an Arya Samaj method she became a Hindu again and married the Gaekwad. The best legal brains in the country huddled to beat the bigamy laws of the Presidency and Baroda state. The British would not accept the marriage and the Madrasi prime minister of Baroda resigned in protest. Tired of all this snubbing, the couple chose Monaco — which was untouched by the World War II — bought a mansion, and settled there. Freedom for India and subsequent annexation of princely states with the Indian union were soon inevitable. Sita shrewdly had all the precious stones in the most well-stocked treasury in India taken away to Europe.

​Mr. Venkatesh shared photos of palaces of the Vizhianagaram Raja Gajapathi Raju and that of the Raja of Bobbili.  Those are rare photographs as also the very many Indo-Saracenic buildings that abound in the city, the first one of them in the entire country being the Chepauk Palace built for the Prince of Arcot.  

​The speaker was articulate, witty and resourceful enough to make us sit glued to the chairs making no move lest he should take that as an indication of fatigue on our side and be tempted to close his speech.  

​Jaya proposed the formal Vote of thanks and remembered to thank Shankar for bringing us a terrific speaker in Mr Venkatesh.


PP Rtn PE Ramakrishnan


A fellowship at Madras


​What better way to celebrate this glorious city’s birthday than with a grand fellowship?! Saturday evening fellowships usually draw a good crowd, as did this one. On arrival, we were greeted by the hosts in lungi and a rakishly tied kerchief round their necks. Well, this clearly set the mood for the fun evening ahead.

​Beautiful cut outs of various land marks from around the city, dotted every nook n corner of the banquet hall. Sipping a sweating glass of nannari sherbet and biting into a “guaranteed to burn at both ends” molaga bajji – was an overload of nostalgia. Walking around greeting friends, one couldn’t help but notice the cycle rickshaw parked in a corner and surprised to find kids and adults making a beeline to be photographed in it, riding or be next to it. So too was the spinning top (bambaram) area with elders trying to revive a long-forgotten skill and doubling up with laughter at their clumsy effort. It can’t be Madras without the balloon shooting from the Marina Beach, can it? Not to disappoint, the balloon shooting was a popular sport that evening.

​An audio visual of popular clips on Madras from movies across the years caught everyone’s attention. Not surprisingly, the clip of Actor Nagesh walking along Mount Road singing “Madras nalla Madras” was the piece de resistance.

​Rtn Divya and Rtn Sada, had us reaching for our thinking caps, as the very well put together quiz, on the history of our city was rolled out. With many getting highly competitive, generous prizes kept everyone happy.

​As many jived to “kuthu” songs a few made their way to the sumptuous buffet. Each dish was thoughtfully named with the theme in mind. After having a fill of aapams and kothu parotta, the meal climaxed with coffee, no, not the drinking variety but the slurping kind – coffee ice cream!

​Hosts of the evening, take a bow. Can only imagine the effort and time that must have gone into conceptualizing and executing this evening. Those who couldn’t make it to the fellowship, have to unabashedly say, you missed a great evening.

Nalla Madras Nalla Fellowship!


Ann Viji Shivram



Feed the needy

​In a grand fashion, with Rtn. Sudhir as the chairperson, Annapathiram has facilitated the provision of a magnificent number, (5200 as on 31st of July and 2900 in August till date)to the following orphanages and old age homes. 

When Where How Many
03.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 200 meals
05.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 200 meals
06.08.2022 Sevalaya 400 meals
08.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 200 meals
09.08.2022 Sevachakra orphanages 100 meals
13.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 100 meals
14.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 100 meals
14.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 100 meals
16.08.2022 Sevachakra orphanages 200 meals
20.08.2022 Little Drops- Old age home 400 meals
20.08.2022 Little Drops- Old age home 100 meals
21.08.2022 Vishranthi Old age home 100 meals
21.08.2022 Little Drops- Old age home 100 meals
26.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 200 meals
26.08.2022 Arunodhayam Trust 200 meals
26.08.2022 Akshaya old age home 200 meals
TOTAL- 2900 meals




August, 20, 2022

​Idhayaganam was conducted at Mithra Rehabilitation Centre in Anna Nagar, on 20th. August, 2022. Rtn. Jaya Vaidyanathan, Rtn. Balaraman, Rtn.Krishnan Naganathan, Rtn. Sadhasivam, Rtn. Hirananand and Rtn. Rammoorthy and Ann. Smrithi, attended. Old and new Hindi and Tamil songs were the jukebox favourites. 

​The Centre helps mentally and physically challenged kids overcome their difficulties. There are 120 such kids. Regular check up by doctors and follow up therapy are conducted at the Centre and vocational training given. The event was delightful with encore being the word of the evening. The team sang close to 20 songs and the highlight was the participation of a large number of the residents! We cannot wait to go again with a fresh set of songs and singers.




76th Independence Day Celebration at Bheemanapet Community College

August, 15, 2022

​What started as a quiet morning at Bheemanapet Community College became a rousing celebration of our Nation’s 76th Independence Day with more than 25 Rotarians including several past presidents attending the flag hoisting ceremony. Mr. Sridhar, an advocate, was the chief guest for Aazadi ka amrit mahotsav. He is the grandson of T Muthuswamy Iyer, the first Indian High Court Judge, Madras High Court. Followed by flag hoisting by the chief guest, RCME President Rtn. TV Ramakumar gave the welcome address. Two students spoke about the training provided at the community college, and expressed their gratitude for it. Rtn. PE Ramakrishnan introduced the chief guest. Chief Guest Mr. Sridhar spoke at length about the background of the National Flag and how it came into existence. He was deeply appreciative of the good work that we as Rotarians do at the Community College.

​The event was well attended by several Rotarians, Anns and Annettes. Vocational Services Director Rtn. Vinod Kumar Subbaiah gave the Vote of Thanks.


Ann Renuka Mohan Rao
Chairperson, Bheemanapet Community College
Rtn. Vinod Kumar Subbaiah
Vocational Services Director


Purposeful training at Bheemanapet Community College

​5 students from Bheemanapet Community College received placement offers from Medall. The students will be initially paid a stipend of Rs. 10000 a month, and upon receiving DMLT (Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology) certificate, they will be provided Rs. 12000 a month. The students that received placement offers are Sowmiya Devi, Ramya, Nasrin Begam, Sandhya, and Manimozhi. They are required to work at least one year with Medall Diagnostics in order to receive an employment certificate from the company.

​This serves as an example of RCME’s renewed commitment for purposeful training of students (that leads to placement) at the Community College.


Ann Renuka Mohan Rao
Chairperson, Bheemanapet Community College

Rtn. Vinod Kumar Subbaiah
Vocational Services Director



​The Installation of the young annettes of Rotary Club of Madras East took place on Wednesday, 17th August 2022 in the midst for RCME president Rtn. RamaKumar, Secretary Rtn. Prabhuram, Guest speaker Col.P.Ganesan and few Rotary District Officials – District Annette Representative Ant. Dr.Shilpa Bothra, District Annettes Secretary Ant. Arunachalam, District Annettes Council Chairman Rtn. Shravan Prashanth, club rotarians, Anns and Annettes at the Crowne plaza hotel. 

​The departing team’s President Ant. Sanjooshree, Secretary Ant.Naheswar, Treasurer Ant. Pranav, who did an  excellent job last year with numerous projects welcomed the new incoming team with President Ant. Meghna Reddi K , Secretary Ant. Jagadheesh, Treasurer Ant. Manaswini Srinivasan. The event commenced with a deliverance of the Annette’s activities in the previous year and transitioned into the collaring of the new president by the Annettes club past president. The District Officials were handed with a bag of delicacies from “The Brown Circle” made by President Ant. Meghna as a token of appreciation for their presence. The MC for the event was Ant. Vanshika ably supported by Ant. Varsha, who ensured a smooth conduct of the entire installation ceremony. 


Secretary Annette Jagadheesh


​The world never produced a better geologist than James Hutton but he wasn’t gifted with the skill of rhetorical accomplishments.  Taste what he wrote:

The earth which we inhabit is composed of materials, not of the earth which was the immediate predecessor of the present, but of the earth which, in ascending from the present, we consider as the third and which had preceded the land that was above the surface of the sea, while our present land was yet beneath the ocean .

​Needless to say almost none who read his books, not many are counted amongst them, had the faintest idea of what he wanted to say!  Undeterred he spent ten years to publish not just one but two volumes all of 1000 odd pages.  And they were worse than his most pessimistic friends had feared!


PP Rtn. PE Ramakrishnan

Chanflix and Chill

​”Tiruchitrambalam,” starring Dhanush, Prakash Raj, Bharathi Raja, Nithya Menon, Priya Bhavani Shankar, and others. 

Direction: Mithran R Jawahar and Music: Anirudh Ravichander.

​Dhanush is back with another clean entertainment. An emotional, and fun-filled drama. Prakash Raj in place of Samdurakani, Bharatiraja replacing Saranya, the next-door neighbour Nitya Menon instead of Amala Pal, and the Background Music does remind us a lot of “Velai Illa Pattadhari.” Yet Director, Mithran Jawahar, has made this two-hour film exciting and thoroughly enjoyable. 

​The highlight of the film is the actors’ execution. Every actor in this film competes with others with their performance. It is hard to mention whose roleplaying is the best, the Innocent Dhanush or effervescent Nitya Menon or the strict dad Prakash Raj and live wire Bharathi Raja.   All four excel in this fun-filled entertainment.

​Dhanush works as a food delivery boy and lives with his father, Prakash Raj, and his Grandfather, Bharathi Raja.   The story revolves around the friction between son and dad, love and bonding among the family. Who else can don these roles other than Dhanush and Prakash Raj? Dhanush constantly fears and blames his dad for his fear, and Prakash Raj, who lives with guilty feelings, both attract colossal applause. 

​In the scene when Dhanush hesitates to save him from falling from the bed, that one dialogue, “Enna Mannikamaatiyaa ( Will you not pardon me?)”,  and in another scene, with a smile watching his dad Bharatiraja cook, Prakash Raj outshines in every frame. Applause in the theatre is an award for his performance.

​Bharathi Raja, the versatile director, touches our hearts with his performance as Prakash Raj’s father and Dhanush’s Grandfather. While caring for his son, drinking with his grandson, and helping him in his romance, he captures our heart. He makes us miss our Grandfathers for sure.

​Nithya Menon, the charming, innocent, highly enthusiastic next-door neighbour, provides ample moral support to Dhanush should be in the race for the best actor award.

​Kudos to the director for presenting a  feel-good film feeling portraying the love among the three generations. The audience might not have seen such a clean family bonding drama for a long time. Thanks to the Director, Jawahar, for presenting this family entertainer with no violence, no stale humor. 

​Anirudh’s “Thai Kilavi”  song will make the audience in the theatre ask for once more.

“Tiruchitambalam”! Enjoyable Mantra.


Rtn. K Ramachandran 

With best compliments from