UDHAVI Best Volunteer Award for the Year 2021



UDHAVI conferred the best Volunteer Award for outstanding services to the elders recently, to Piravi Perumal who has worked with UDHAVI for the past 6 years.

UDHAVI held the function at Savera Hotel and the evening was hosted by Mrs. Nina Reddy Joint Managing Director Savera Hotel. Piravi a banker by profession has authored books and has visited elders whenever they have reached out, and accompanied them on hospitals visits, and even taught some of them how to use the smart phone and the computer.

This is one facet of the services undertaken by the NGO. Their hands tied during the pandemic as house visits were not possible, only virtual programmes were conducted by UDHAVI for the elders who have registered with them.

This function was the first public live event by UDHAVI after a gap of three years. The chief guest was Mrs. Usha Rajeshwari President Rotary Club of Madras Coromandel, and Creative Head of Prakrithi Jeeva Media Pvt Ltd and her inspiring speech was in praise of volunteering.

Mrs. Sabita Radhakrishna Chairperson-Founder UDHAVI addressed the volunteers, urging them to be more active now that the restrictions were lifted.

A Music Group Dwani performed live, singing popular tunes with a mix of old numbers which revived nostalgic memories.

8th Anniversary Celebration


While we had a healthy dose of medical advice in the year-end event, we were treated to the best medicine - laughter - in our 8th anniversary celebrations. Mr. Natarajan, well known for his situational humour and Mrs. Revathi Sankaran, famous TV personality regaled us with their wit. He himself under convalescence, Mr. Natarajan still managed to keep up his promise and entertained us. Mrs. Revathi presented a Ramayana through old Tamil songs and proved that she is still at her best with her creative storytelling. The elders and volunteers had a blast listening to both the presenters. Sabita Radhakrishna, founder of UDHAVI, welcomed the audience. Sudesh, Sanjay and Deeptha conveyed the information about UDHAVI's past year activities, web and social media updates and interesting tidbits pertaining to elders. Kalpana, core member, and Poornima, volunteer, told their stories of how they came to UDHAVI and what they have enjoyed doing here. Ms Nina Reddy and Dr. Kannan Pugazenthi, well wishers and sponsors, sent in their wishes through video recordings. As always, Lalitha did an excellent job compering and driving the program smoothly.

Deeptha Thattai, UDHAVI

Award for Social Welfare


The Rotary Club of Madras Coromandel celebrated their 33rd CharterDay on 28th February 2021 It was an honor for the UDHAVI family,that our founder and chair person ,Mrs Sabita Radhakrishnan,received the Award for SOCIAL WELFARE.

She truly deserves to be applauded for what she has done for mankind. Although she is a multitalented personality and has spread her wings in the field of Textiles,Craft,Journalism,Culinary skills and many more.

Besides this ,she has touched the hearts of many by extending a helping hand wherever required. Her contribution to uplift and put the Weavers back on their feet ,during the Lockdown by having a open market sale on line is commendable.

Sabita also provided food through an organisation for the working class who were jobless and wanted to go home. The domestic helpers were also seeking help from her and she found placements for them through family and friends. Her biggest passion is to help seniors to get over their loneliness.She is an epitome of love and care,ready to help any one and everyone.Sabita is a giver,doing selfless service to mankind.

The Program organised by The Rotary Club of Madras Coromandel at the Hyatt Regency was a great show where the Ex and present Presidents expressed what they were doing for the good of people.Their contribution towards education,medical help or the water project that they have undertaken was discussed.A very informative session that we all enjoyed.

Mrs Sabita Radhakrishnan aptly is an extension of the kind of work they are doing and deserves all the Laurels.

Sudesh Sharma Hony Secretary UDHAVI

Udhavi Year End Meeting - December 2020

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Udhavi's year end event was held on 19 December 2020. Does it even need to be said that the event was a resounding success? We had three goals in mind: to entertain the elders as they are craving for some form of communication (as are all of us!), to have an informative exchange by inviting experts, and to chase away the COVID blues and welcome a fresh new year with all the hope that UDHAVI can restart its visits.

Renuka invoked Lord Ganesha for showering His grace on everyone. Kalpana welcomed the gathering and also kept the atmosphere electric with her MC skills. Sabita spoke a few words about UDHAVI and introduced the core members to the audience. She also gave a few tips to the elders on issues affecting them. Radhika then introduced the Guest of Honour, Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran, Chairperson, Sundram Fasteners School of Applied Psychology, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM). Dr. Sankaran started by thanking UDHAVI for facilitating BALM interns to visit the elderly as part of their internship program. This has led to a productive interaction between UDHAVI and BALM and she expressed interest in continuing with the program. She said that elders should follow AEIOU - be Active, Eat properly, keep In touch, stay Online and Unwind. There are mindfulness colouring books available that are good as cognitive exercises - all it needs is a set of colour pencils. Elders should try to cultivate a sense of humour, have a positive attitude and a sense of gratitude, which will enable them to be at peace with themselves and with others around them.

The Chief Guest of the evening was Dr. Ramesh Sadasivan, who is a general physician and is a member of Dr. V. S. Natarajan's team of doctors specialising in geriatric home care visits. He is known for his soft-spoken nature and depth of knowledge. Dr. Sadasivan started his talk with the explanation of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCD). He said that though COVID has captured the attention of everyone, the prevalence of NCDs among the elderly is the one we should be more watchful of. These include:

1. Hypoglycemia - when blood sugar level drops below 80 mg/dcl. This happens in the early morning and is usually the result of a mismatch between the food consumed and medicines taken in the previous night. The sugar levels should be tracked regularly on a chart to monitor the changes in the individual.

2. Fainting - due to (a) vertigo or (b) hypotension (low blood pressure on getting up) or (c) syncope when passing urine (mainly in males) or (d) not being able to feel the floor (mainly among diabetics). Regular exercises and the use of mobility aids will help with this.

3. Acute asthma especially in winter - many elders are reluctant to use inhalers or nebulisers when it is necessary.

4. Urosepsis - due to urinary tract infection (mainly in females), diabetes and chronic kidney disease. It can lead to recurrent infections in males.

Dr. Sadasivan suggested that elders should take the existing vaccines for pneumonia and flu, and preventive measures for COVID. They should get the tests done regularly and check with their physician once in three months. The habit of blindly taking medicines should be avoided.

Both the experts fielded questions from the audience. After the informative sessions, the audience were treated to a scintillating mouth organ recital by Mr. R. Narayanan, a retired banker who teaches MBA students. Sudesh, the Hony. General Secretary of UDHAVI, thanked all those involved in the program and the audience. Gita Dattatri provided a perfect ending by rendering a few shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita and having the audience chant along with her.

Many of the elders called us and expressed their happiness and appreciation at a job well done. And they want more of it! Hopefully there can be a "physical" event in the near future!

7th Anniversary - August 2020

COVID could not stop us and our elders from having a blast on our 7th anniversary! We also went online like everyone else and held a virtual anniversary celebration on 20 August, 2020. We planned the event for over a month, taking care to ensure that it would be easy for the elders to participate. Hence most of the formal sessions were recorded and the informal event alone was kept open, live.

The program started with an invocation on Lord Ganesha by Srikumar. Sabita gave a presentation on UDHAVI and introduced its core team. Videos of testimonials from our sponsors and wellwishers, Nina Reddy, Dr Kannan Pugazhenthi and Dr Sridhar Vaitheeswaran, were played. Some of our elders including Sunanda Ghosh, Sharmila on behalf of her mother Anjali Sen) and Kalpagam gave us warm testimonials and narrated how they benefited through UDHAVI's intervention. The event concluded with songs by Sudha, Kalpagam and others. Nina Reddy, our ever-present sponsor, was gracious enough to send over snacks to the entire UDHAVI family - volunteers and beneficiaries. Though the COVID situation has put a bent in our works, we are still going strong and continuing with our mission as much as possible.

Sabita Radhakrishna, Founder UDHAVI was a panellist at the Unmukt Knowledge Series held on 21 August 2019 at Chennai

Fitness with Fun

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The “Fitness with Fun” program an UDHAVI initiative supported by SPARRC Institute of Fitness on 25th March 2019, truly lived up to its name -- it sparkled with the laughter and enthusiasm of the participants – to say “elderly or senior citizen” participants would seem an anachronism.

In keeping with its mission of “life is for living and living should be a joy”, UDHAVI organised a program for senior citizens emphasising the need to do exercise and be active both mentally and physically. The program was held at SPARRC’s premises in Alwarpet, Chennai.

The program started with the beautiful rendering of the invocation song by our Core group member Mr. Srikumar invoking Lord Ganesha for the success of the program.

The program started with the beautiful rendering of the invocation song by our Core group member Mr. Srikumar invoking Lord Ganesha for the success of the program.

Announcing the next program of Quiz brought smiles on the faces of the participants. Our Core group member Jayashree the quiz master for the evening, had the audience fascinated flashing brain teasers handpicked from different subjects. It brought out a lot of enthusiasm to identify and win the prizes.

Then the aisle was cleared for the arrival of the star of the evening whose identity had not been revealed. There was palpable excitement and all heads were turned towards the door way with expectation writ large on the faces for the arrival of the hero. The door opened to let the custodian in first. The hero, carried for better view, passed through the aisle like a Zen Master, unperturbed and undistracted by all those present. Johnny, the Therapy Dog had arrived with his owner Ms. Shilpa Raghavan and his handler Mr. Aswin. There was a lot of curiosity about his presence and his role in health of people. Ms. Shilpa explained in detail that therapy dogs play a big role in bringing comfort and companionship to not only the elderly but also anyone who is undergoing stress and needs someone to nuzzle without being judged or commented upon. Johnny enjoyed being caressed by some of the beneficiaries and totally relaxed in an alien atmosphere.

Johnny demonstrated by his presence the importance of companionship, compassion, unconditional love and interaction in all our lives. Health markers improve considerably with just these demonstrations of care. Johnny brought to our attention the need for human beings to be human - sadly lacking in these fast paced times.

It was now time to pay attention to Fitness after all this fun - you need to be fit to have fun. Dr. Kannan Pugazendi, who runs SPARRC is a sports doctor of repute and advices many famous sports personalities. His unwavering interest and concern for the physical fitness of the elderly cannot be over emphasised. He breaks down fitness to simple ways that are easily understood and as easily practiced. In his inimitable way, he had the audience engrossed in his talk as he gave few tips that can be practiced by everyone wherever they are, sitting or standing. It cannot get easier!

  1. He strongly advised that we gargle as it exercises the mouth. He also suggested that we run our tongue inside our mouth – first in anti- clockwise and then clockwise direction a few times every day. This helps enhance memory as tongue is connected to the brain.
  2. Cover the ears with hands and tap the sides of the head with index and middle finger to strengthen hearing.
  3. Clap hands, rub the back of the hands with each other, join the tips of the fingers and tap, tap the web between thumb and index finger with each other, interlock the fingers and twist them.
  4. While getting up from a chair, move to the edge of the chair, turn to the side of the leg which is stronger and get up. This way you don’t lean forward.
  5. To balance the left and right brain, stand on one leg, lifting the other a few inches above the ground. Hold for a few count and repeat with the other leg. To start with lift only to the height you can balance and are comfortable. Always practice near a wall

It was a great evening with everyone going back having enjoyed themselves and learning the simple ways to keep fit.

Mrs. Meena Bedi gave the vote of thanks. Mrs. Sabita Radhakrishna thanked all those who helped make this wonderful evening possible. It was my pleasure to compere for this evening.

---Lalitha Ramachander

UDHAVI honours Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam

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How would you describe an average Tambram elderly lady – “slightly stooped in a Chinnalam pattu or Chungudi sari, doing the rounds of temples in the neighbourhood, attending Kathakalakshebam and free Kutcheries.”

You cannot get it more wrong!!

Meet nonagenarian Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam, a beneficiary of UDHAVI fondly called Kamakshi Patti in Besant Nagar neighbourhoold. She recently received an award given by the Federation of Senior Citizens’ Association of Tamil Nadu from the Governor of Tamil Nadu Sri.Banwarilal Purohit. UDHAVI was happy to honour its distinguished beneficiary at its recent event for senior citizens.

Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam can be the poster girl for our Prime Minister’s pet project “Swatch Bharat”. A walk down Besant Avenue will shock and awe us! Surely this cannot be the Chennai we are all accustomed to! There is no litter, the road is well laid and without pot holes and on the side of the road there is a street garden well maintained and marked by a net wall. All thanks to Mrs.Kamakshi Subramaniam’s singular effort. She is the benevolent Jhansi Ki Rani and also a nightmare for the employees of Besant Nagar Corporation office. She stays active and healthy continuing to do what she is so good at – getting the corporation to do their job.

Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam is the co-founder of SPARK. Founded in 2012, SPARK helps citizens tackle civic problems head on by approaching the right officials, lodging complaints with evidence, follow up at regular intervals, and ensuring that it is solved. Their persistence and commitment has ensured the resolution of many civic issues in areas like Adyar and Besant Nagar, under Zone 13 of GCC.

Affable and always with a smile she defies age. When we first visited her apartment, she received the Udhavi volunteers at the door step neatly dressed and with a warm smile. The house was spick and span. When I went in with her to the kitchen to help her make coffee she took my breath away – it was one of the most efficiently organized kitchens I have seen.

Mrs. Kamakshi once requested UDHAVI to help her reach station as she felt she may require assistance to walk the platform and board the train. Our Core Member Sudesh who assisted her, jokingly remarked later that she had to run to keep pace with Mrs. Kamakshi.

Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam “ignores” time … does not let it dampen her spirit or enthusiasm as every passing year adds to her age. She firmly believes that time does not have to leave unfavourable marks on your attitude. She proves Einstein right … Time is relative and not absolute.

We need more “Kamakshis” to embody Shakthi for women’s empowerment. We at UDHAVI wish her many more years of service to society.

---Lalitha Ramachander

Read old events here