When Punjab met Italy

PDRR Satinder Singh fixes a Rotary pin on a Rotaractor in Milan.
PDRR Satinder Singh fixes a Rotary pin on a Rotaractor in Milan.

It wasn’t exactly balle balle but very close to that, at least in its expansive spirit of celebration, when PDRR (Past District Rotaract Representative) Satinder Singh Dev, who is now a member of RC Ladwa, D 3080, met a group of Rotaractors in Milan, Italy.

Singh, who was to do a nine-day European tour to Switzerland, Italy and Austria in May for live music concerts in a group headed by well-known Punjabi actor-director Gippy Garewal, was to be in Milan for a few days. As he had been a ­Rotaractor for long years and is a former DRR (2009–10), and Past Vice President of Rotaract South Asia Multi District Information Organisation, “before leaving for Italy, I contacted the Rotaract club members in Milan through their Facebook page.” He was pleasantly surprised to get a very positive response from their past president Giorgio Mariyani. “He not only invited me to meet their club members but also sent me all the details of upcoming events and meetings planned during my stay in Milan.”

Visiting India is now top on their wishlist, because till now they had not got any invitation from any club in India.

Finally, he met them, exchanged district pins, Rotasia souvenirs, T-shirts, and other gifts. “They were so warm and welcoming. Extending typical Italian hospitality and goodwill, they came to the Metro station to receive me, took me around the place and then to a café. And we discussed different ways of fundraising; how they do it in Italy and how we raise funds in India.”

Having himself been a Rotaractor for long years, as also a DRR, what ­difference did he find between Indian Rotaractors and Italian ones? “Oh, I found them to be better organised, more focussed and disciplined, compared to us in India. Also, we have more community-based Rotaractors, but there it is different; they are more institution-based.”

Singh adds that they were all very interested in coming to India, and particularly want to visit ‘Bombay’ and “I have extended a warm invitation from our side, and I believe they will definitely come.”

Describing this as a great experience for him to gain knowledge about some international projects which he is planning to do with the Italian ­Rotaractors, he says he represented RI District 3080  on behalf of DRR C P Shubham Rattan and Rotasia Chairman PHF Gagan Sarin, and invited them to send a youth exchange team to the district.

“We talked about our cultures and they told me that visiting India is now top on their wishlist, because till now they had not got any invitation from any club in India. It was really a wonderful experience to see my Rotary and Rotaract family away from my home, and to discover for myself how Rotary and Rotaract connect us globally!”

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