A well-planned and executed Institute

The well-planned and executed Bengaluru zone institute generated all-round appreciation from the 800-odd participants, who returned home with a taste of good hospitality and even better food. The traditional delicacies served at the banana-leaf lunch satiated the palate of the most demanding foodies, while the variety available at the two dinners left little room for complaint. Food of course forms a very important part of any big event, and along with food if you give people the right music, lilting melodies and an array of spirits to create nostalgia for an era gone by, who can ask for more?

Add to all this the typical Indian splash of colours and the vibrance of its ethnic wear. The magical evenings had the international delegates, beginning with RI President Gordon McInally and his spouse Heather, RIPN Mario de Camargo and his spouse Denise, and so many other senior RI leaders who attended the institute, really letting down their hair, mingling with the other delegates and dancing away.

The technological brilliance that went into the various sessions of the institute was breathtaking. When exhaustion set in, which was bound to happen listening to so many speakers in a single day, and you struggled to focus on the stage after a heavenly lunch, one was often confused about where to focus… the larger than life, vivid images on the screen or the human beings holding forth in front of them on the podium! The digital displays and the audio-visual component of the proceedings were so good that RIPN Mario de Camargo commented that the technological aspect of the institute was “world-class and as good as we get in Rotary conventions.”

That leadership sits lightly on his shoulders, and the amicable manner in which the couple have digested the power they obviously wield over the Rotary world, could be gauged by observing RI President McInally and his spouse Heather. Every morning they were in the hall well before the beginning of the event and one could see them seated through the sessions. McInally displayed not even a glimmer of the fatigue he must have felt in the face of constant demands from the delegates for photographs with him and sportingly posed with them. He was all courtesy and kindness to the photographers who could not have enough of capturing his image. Heather too was the picture of courtesy and friendliness as she chatted away with whoever came forward to have a conversation with her.

Convenor and RI Director Raju Subramanian was the visible face of the three-day event, and seeing him run around, few would have guessed that he was both exhausted and indisposed and on a heavy dose of antibiotics. The secretary, PDG Sameer Hariani, as compere, did a fine job, as always. But event chair, PDG K P Nagesh, who as head of the entire team had provided direction and exemplary leadership in ensuring the smooth conduct of the various sessions, kept a low profile and remained mostly behind the scenes. To capture his image, one had to really hunt for him!

The organisers really kept McInally busy and he went along willingly. Early one cold morning, he teed off a corporate golf tournament which helped raise $100,000 for the Polio Fund. Next morning, he flagged off a vintage car and bike rally, and took a metro ride to Whitefield to flag off the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon, which helped raise $300,000 for TRF.

The organisers ensuring that during the institute, tender coconut water and sugarcane juice were served, along with hot beverages in environment-friendly terracotta containers, was the sone pe suhaga (extra fine touch). But lest you think everything was airy-fairy, rest assured some plain talking was also done to the incoming Rotary leaders on what ails Rotary in India by both the RI president and other senior leaders.


Rasheeda Bhagat

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