My Rotary moment began in 1976 when my wife and I moved from Bombay (now Mumbai) to Chandigarh. I had accepted an appointment as a project manager to set up a new plant for my company. Work at the plant and travels to Delhi and Bombay kept me busy and away from home, and my wife began to feel isolated and longed to return to Bombay.
But Chandigarh grows on you, and I could visualize no better place to bring up a family. I shared my thoughts with a colleague who suggested my wife join an Inner Wheel club to make new friend and stay busy. For her to do so, I needed to join Rotary. I was invited to join the Rotary Club of Chandigarh in 1979. My wife made friends with other Rotarian spouses and the pressure to move subsided.
Rotary was different in those days. Attendance rules were stringent and our club leadership was a stickler for rules. Every meeting I missed meant a call or a visit from one or two Rotarians, which gave me a feeling of belonging. With difficulty, I continued to be a member. My wife wouldn’t let me quit!
In 1980, I went on a business visit to Taiwan. I had some spare time and decided to attend a meeting of the Rotary Club of Taichung. In spite of the language difficulties, I was bowled over by the friendliness and hospitality I received.
A year later, there was a vacancy on our board of directors and I agreed to serve as international service director, with the understanding that my main responsibility would be to host a Group Study Exchange for two to three days. Well, should I say that year turned out to be special. First a 19-member delegation from Pakistan to the Goodwill conference made a stopover at Chandigarh, followed by the arrival of the first-ever Friendship Exchange Team from California, USA. And of course the scheduled GSE Team from Australia arrived, as well as a few high profile overseas visitors, including past RI President Rajendra K. Saboo. The Internationality of Rotary hit me full force and I became a Rotarian.
In time, I got involved in all the avenues of service. The feeling of satisfaction in doing good is incomparable to all other achievements in life. Sharing and caring has become a way of life for me. Every day, I look forward to and enjoy the fellowship, friendship, and warmth that comes from the extended family of Rotary.