Eastern Bridge – RCME Newsletter, Issue #06






  • Egmore Museum Walk

  • Dream big, dream 5 trillion dollars

  • Gopika Varma Guest Speaker


  • Project Drishti, distribution of smart vision glasses


  • Blood Donation Camp


  • Nalli Kuppuswami Interact Club installation

  • 21st Century Skills Workshop for Today’s Students (Joint Program by Rotary Club of Madras East

  • Aeromodelling Workshop conducted as part 21st Century Skills for Today’s Students




“Everything under the sun”, is what comes to mind when I think of the activities that take place at RCME. From conducting youth services workshops and panel discussions with our members, to hosting Mohini dancers as guest speakers and conducting blood camps, the myriad of activities at our club certainly caters to wide interests. This being part of the reason why participation in our club always exceeds expectations. This fortnight, we started off with the blood donation camp, in association with VHS Blood bank at Congruent Solutions,which was a cheerful event with so many members coming forward. We then had our panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities relating to India’s dream destination of a Five Trillion Dollar economy. The panel discussion was invigorating with different perspectives leading to healthy debate. Safe to say, the attendees went home with a wealth of knowledge. This fortnight has been bustling with activity for youth services. We had the Nalli Kuppusamy school interact club installation, a 21st Century Skills Workshop for Today’s Students (Joint Program by Rotary Club of Madras East and U.S. Consulate General Chennai) and an Aeromodelling Workshop for GCC and Govt Schools as part 21st Century Skills for Today’s Students. Apart from being educational and diverse for the kids, the workshops also introduced us to the bright leaders of tomorrow.

Our weekly meeting speaker, Mrs Gopika Varma enlightened us on the intricacies and hardships of being a dancer and was a fitting speaker for the onam celebrations at our club. Club services is always known for the variety it offers and this time was no different. The Tiruvannamalai temple visit was a mini fellowship that was religious and recreational. It was the right teaser for the upcoming fellowship to Baku! The Egmore Museum visit was an activity sure to be put in our history books beautifully conducted by Storytrails. All in all, this fortnight appealed to everybody’s palate and was more flavourful than the onam sadhya.

Looking forward to your continued support and collaboration.

Yours truly,

President Rtn. Ramakumar


​Here we are, back again to capture, to take a trip around RCME and its activities in a fortnight. From tasting delectable dishes during the onam dinner to partaking in the deep discussions surrounding India’s economy, this fortnight has yet again been fulfilling. In terms of personal learning as an editor, I have learnt that, it is not a matter of bettering the words and sentences, each article needs to be edited from the perspective of the writer. Phew! As if the work wasn’t challenging enough! We would love to receive your feedback and ideas for increased contributions to the newsletter. Please do write in.

Without further ado, the 6th issue of the newsletter.


With love and commitment,

Rtn. Ramya Subramaniam
Assistant Secretary




August 28, 2022


On 28 August, 25 Rotarians, Anns and Annettes from RCME spent their Sunday morning on a guided walk through the Egmore Museum with Storytrails. The walk was led by Rtn. Vijay Prabhat Kamalakara and Lakshmi Shankar of Storytrails. The walk started with a brief introduction to the Museum and the story of how the Museum came to be. Did you know that the Egmore Museum is the second oldest Museum in India?
The Archaeology galleries brought out a range of stories. Which were the longest ruling dynasties in India? What do 1000 year old hero and Sati stones tell us about social customs in ancient south India? The group listened to the story of how languages and scripts evolved in South India as they browsed through 1500 year old copper plate inscriptions. At the Amaravati gallery the group got to travel back 2500 years to the story of events that unfolded after the death of Buddha. Did you know that the Egmore Museum is home to the oldest Buddhist art collection in the world? The group got to see up-close a set of ancient stone caskets that at one time held the sacred relics of Buddha himself, as they listened to the story of how they were instrumental in the spread of Buddhism. Nishidi stones and statues of Jain Tirthankaras brought out stories of Tamil Jains and how Jainism spread in South India 2000 years ago.

​After this, the group made its way to the Anthropology galleries where they were greeted by an ancient Meriah sacrificial post that at one time was used for human sacrifices. It is the only one of its kind that exists in India. In the Adichanallur gallery, the group was exposed to archaeological finds in the Vaigai and Porunai river basins. How old are the oldest settlements in Tamil Nadu? The answers may surprise you. The group saw excavated burial urns and learnt about the ancient funerary practice of Mudumakkal Taazhi. Skulls excavated from the Pandyan port of Korkai brought out stories of Greeks and Romans who traveled to these ports for trade over 2000 years ago. The group learnt of the fabled Damascus steel as they viewed the priceless swords from Adichanallur. But the best was saved for the last; a stone-age hand-axe from Pallavaram, considered to be the oldest human tool ever excavated in India. Did you know that Pallavaram is now considered the site of one of the oldest human settlements in India?

​This 2-hour walk brought out many such nuggets of information and the tour ended with the group resolving to come back again to explore more galleries of the Museum.


Rtn Vijay Prabhat Kalamkara



September, 7, 2022


​“It is not India’s decade, it is India’s century”. McKinsey’s 13th global leader Bob Sternfels intoned that, with all key elements in place, India has emerged as the fastest-growing major economy in the world, and is expected to be one of the top three economic powers globally over the next 10-15 years given it’s backed by its robust democracy and strong partnerships with other countries.

​Our weekly meeting on 7th September, was an interesting panel discussion with our members. The discussion was centred on the probable challenges and opportunities relating to India’s dreamy destination of a five trillion dollar economy. The discussion addressed the above and to a great extent was an eye opener for many of us.

​Rtn Babu Krishnamurthy was the acting President who called the meeting to order. We had a new member induction of Mr Kannan Sugantharaman into the RCME family.

​Rtn RVK, Rtn Balaraman, Rtn Ramki and Rtn Rajesh Jayaraman were the panellists who gave their valuable inputs and provided the much needed depth to the discussion. The discussion was ably moderated and conducted by Rtn Babu Krishnamurthy.

​Some enlightening inputs by the panel which gave a positive indication of India inching towards the five trillion dollar economy :

​The country’s demat account tally topped the $ 100 million-mark for the first time, in August 2022 taking the cumulative figure to 100.5 million. India’s demat account tally was 40.9 million in March 2020 just before the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
India’s unicorn surge continues, with the total valuation of 106 unicorns reaching $341 billion in July 2022. According to reports, the country is set to see 250 unicorns by 2025, which is an encouraging sign for the ecosystem.
India’s digital payments market is at an inflection point and is expected to increase more than threefold from the current $3 trillion to $10 trillion by 2026. The UPI network crossed the milestone of 600 crore transactions in a month for the first time in June 2022.
India is poised to be a trillion-dollar digital economy and could support 60 to 65 million digitally enabled jobs by 2025-26.
The projected requirement of manpower by Indian IT industry itself by the year 2026 would be around 95 lakhs – NASSCOM.
Implementing faster connections in mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail can increase global GDP by $1.2 – $2 trillion by 2030, and this can have a cumulative economic impact of $1 trillion on India by 2035 – Mckinsey
Despite global headwinds and slow economic growth in the country, the India Brand Equity Foundation expects India’s real estate sector to grow to a market size of USD 1 trillion by 2030. It is also likely to contribute 14% of the country’s GDP by 2025.
6 main States contribute to more than half of GDP of the country.
Top 10% of the Indian population holds 77% of the total national wealth. 73% of the wealth generated in 2017 went to the richest 1%, while 670 million Indians who comprise the poorest half of the population saw only a 1% increase in their wealth.
Indians are a natural talent pool that are orientated towards the universal truth of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ of treating everyone like family and working and walking together towards one unified global mission of growth and development. We as a race, do not thrive on aggression but rather are known to be a cohesive unit. This, combined with our talent makes the perfect blend of ambition, vision, hard work and success. We waste no time in learning and excelling and that is our biggest talent as a nation. We are a culmination of generations of underdogs and are willing to give it our best shot, pandemic notwithstanding. As a country we are on the right path. India is ready, India is working at it and India seems to be getting to the five trillion dollar economy very very soon.

​The discussion was followed by an informative Q & A session and after the Secretary’s announcements and vote of thanks by Rtn Poonam Gaglani , the meeting was adjourned with all members and guests looking forward to many such interesting sessions in the future .


Rtn Poonam Gaglani


Gopika Varma is a Kerala born Mohiniyattam dancer and dance teacher who is settled in Chennai. She received several awards including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Kalaimamani. Naturally a great choice of speaker to celebrate Onam with. She took us through the practicalities of becoming a dancer. She says with great intensity that dance chooses you. One must be chosen by god to be a dancer. Becoming a dancer is not as simple as having intent, it also involves talent being passed down genetically and through god’s grace. “Bagawan’s Pichai is the most important ingredient in becoming a dancer”, she emphatically says.

Mrs.Gopika then goes on to describe her journey into dance, one that involved her becoming a keen negotiator. During a period of her life, when she has no idea about her professional director, she was smitten with Sonal Mansingh, one of the best, most graceful dancers, who was instrumental in shaping her life. Mrs.Gopika says that everything about Sonal Mansingh appealed to her, so much so that she negotiated with her father to take her to Madras to learn dance under any Guru of her choice. This came with a catch ofcourse, she could no longer participate in any of the youth festival competitions that she held so close to heart. She recalls these instances to drive home the point that being a dancer is being a businesswoman, it involves conceptualizing, channelizing, learning, dreaming, executing and producing- all in one. She cites the instance of her most recent production- Kanden swapnum, in which she is a jack of all trades and a master of dance.

Mrs.Gopika’s soothing voice and voracious passion for dance, set the mood for the audience to relish the onam sadhya and the onam celebrations came to a magical end.




Project Drishti, distribution of smart vision glasses

Rotary Club of Madras East in association with Aravind Eye Hospitals, SHG technologies and many donors have distributed 50 Smart Vision Glasses to the students of NIEPVD in the presence of the institute’s head.

This device can enable the visually impaired to lead a dignified and independent life to the near normal human being.
Ms Sumangali , CSR head, Customer Analytics, India, Rtn Dr S Ram Kumar District Director Health, Dr S Aravind, CMO Aravind Eye Hospital graced the occasion and distributed the Smart Vision Glasses along with our RCME members.


Rtn. Ramaswamy
Chairman-Project Dhristi
Rtn. Sujatha
Director – Community Service – Health


No bad blood here

​RCME in association with VHS blood bank organized the blood Donation Camp at Congruent Solutions on the 25th of August. We managed to collect a remarkable 61 units of blood. In all, the camp was a bloody success!


Rtn. N Subramanian


Installation of the Interact club of Dr.Nalli Kuppuswami Vivekananda vidyalaya Junior College

August 26, 2022


​The Interact Club of Dr.Nalli Kuppuswami Vivekananda vidyalaya Junior College was inaugurated in a grand fashion. President, Rtn. T V Ramakumar, was the event’s Chief Guest.

The president and board of directors of the shining new Interact club assumed leadership and discussed their plans for the upcoming year. We wish them all the very best for the upcoming endeavours.


Rtn. Viswanathan, Chairman, Interact Club of Nalli Kuppuswami Vivekananda Vidyalaya school
Rtn. SaiSivakumar Raya Director, Youth Service

21st Century Skills Workshop for Today’s Students (Joint Program by Rotary Club of Madras East and U.S. Consulate General Chennai)

September, 15, 2022


​It was a fabulous event involving a plethora of students from TN Govt and GCC run schools. The Culmination Program was a grand success and saw momentus participation.

​Chief Guest, Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Bullock, was generously appreciative of the successful workshops conducted by RCME on various themes. The highlight of the event was the overwhelming student feedback we received on the events organized.


Chairperson – Rtn. Magesh Pattabhiraman
Rtn. Sai Sivakumar Raya, Director – Youth Service

Aeromodelling Workshop

September, 15 and 16, 2022


​Aeromodelling Workshop was conducted for GCC and TN Govt Schools as part of the 21st Century Skills for Today’s Students. 18 Students from 9 Schools attended the workshop.



​In 1822 England there wasn’t anyone engaged in anatomy who hadn’t heard of Gideon Mantell who was an amateur paleontologist. While he was at his working table his wife rushed home and gave him what looked like nothing she had seen before. He thought it to be the tooth of a large herbivorous animal, reptilian, tens of feet long and from Cretaceous period. He was right on all counts but none could confirm then. The tooth he discovered was nearly matching with what his colleague at Hunterian Museum was researching on in South America – the Iguana. Soon Mantell’s fossil was so erroneously christened Iguanodon the lazily basking tropical lizard. Mantell continued his hunt for fossils but he didn’t practice medicine for which he was educated and brought untold misery to the family. He sold his fossil collection and finally his wife left him with all their children. For him, the bad times had just begun.

​Richard Owen, also trained as a doctor was so absorbed in anatomy that he would request anyone to gift him limbs of their dead friends that he would happily take home to dissect in leisure.

​In 1825 at the age of 21 he was already helping the Royal College of Surgeons with organizing their anatomical specimens. He acquitted himself in the coming years so creditably that the London Zoological Gardens granted him first right of refusal of any animal that died. Owen wasn’t an attractive person, in appearance or temperament. A photograph from his late middle years shows him as gaunt and sinister, like the villain in a Victorian drama with long unkempt hair and bulging eyes. He was cold and imperious. He was also compulsively dishonest. In 1857 the renowned naturalist T.H. Huxley, upon finding in the Churchill Medical Directory, the name of Owen as the professor of comparative anatomy and physiology at the Government school of Mines, a position that actually Huxey held, called them whereupon he was told the information was provided by Dr Owen himself. But the one who suffered the most under him was Mantell who after losing all his possessions moved to London where in 1841 he was involved in a terrible accident when he fell off his coach on the cobbled carriageway and was dragged by the reins over a long distance. He was crippled and had his spine irreparably damaged. Owen used this to his advantage expunging Mantell’s contributions from all records and claiming credit for all his discoveries. In 1852 unable to bear more pain or persecution, Mantell took his life. His deformed spine was removed and sent to the Royal College of Surgeons where – and now here’s an irony for you – it was placed in the care of Richard Owen, Director of the college’s Hunterian Museum. The obituary derided Mantell as a mediocre scientist with no distinctions and carried the unmistakable signature of one man who could have scripted it. You guessed it right. Owen.


PP Rtn. PE Ramakrishnan

Chanflix and Chill

​”Vendhu Thanindhadhu Kaadu,” starring STR, Siddhi Idnani, Radhika, and others, Written by: B.Jeyamohan, Music: AR Rehman, Direction: Goutham Vasudev Menon.  

​STR, ARR, and GVM combo are back again, this time with a story about a young man becoming a ruffian. Muthu(STR) lives with his mom and his sister, and he proceeds to Mumbai due to the family’s financial situation. How he becomes a don and holds the gun forms the 2 hours and 45 minutes story. It is a familiar tale with conventional gang wars, gunshots, and revenge that are not uncommon in Tamil movies, yet watchable due to this trio of STR, ARR, and GVM.

ARR builds confidence that his magic will be there throughout the movie in the initial few minutes, and he keeps up the promise till the end. BGM and songs stand out in this entire presentation. GVM does not change the lyricist in any of his films and has lyricist Tamarai write the lyrics for VTK as well. She has excelled once again with those unadulterated Tamil words in her songs. ARR has mesmerized with a Gana, a few shades of MSV, and intermittent 90’s sound.

GVM recently mentioned in one of the interviews that writer Jeyamohan gave the story to him and wanted GVM to cast a new face, not a familiar one, so that the audience travel with Muthu throughout the story and not get distracted by superstardom. STR lived up to his expectation by underplaying his usual style, making us see only Muthu throughout the movie. That is the success of this presentation, and Kudos to GVM and STR.

STR shines with his performance throughout the movie, a remarkable performance by making him not seen as Simbu in the film. VTK is an unusual Simbu film with no flashy introduction scene, no punch dialogues, and stays back foot in the Mumbai scenes and the Gana song.

Romance scenes are a highlight in all GVM’smovies, and he did not fail in this one. In VTV, it was Jessie, and in VTK, Paavai. GVM’s romantic poetry is enjoyable. Siddhi Idnani, as Paavai, has provided excellent support in this film.

While the initial few minutes are a bit slow, the last few minutes are piquant, with multiple twists and turns setting high expectations for VTK Sequel.

VTK is another gangster movie made raw.

“Vendhu Thaninandhu Kaadu”.Venture into the woods if you like a raw adventure.


Rtn. K Ramachandran 

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