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On 11th. March, 2016, a hot sunny day, my daughter-in-law, her mother and myself, drove down from Bengaluru to Kancheepuram outskirts to visit a retirement home called Nandhavanam. Arriving at the location from the highway, even with guidance was quite an adventure, mind you !!

A fort in the midst of green fields, a fort in colours of yellow and rust, standing royally in tune with its rustic surroundings and a fort that is called “ A castle for dignified seniors” , a retirement home which rejuvenates it’s members, whatever be their age, that is Nandhavanam.

I had been to this place about two years earlier when I met it’s first member, Mr Rajamani, who was then so downcast and not able to walk by himself. He needed the constant support of a cheerful nurse-aide. This time round, he was walking jauntily by himself. He was jovial, he recognised me and gave me a hearty welcome. If that’s not a miracle, what else could it be?

The first time I visited Nandhavanam was when a group of us went on a site visit conducted by the promoters. The road from Chennai to Kanchi was OK but, gosh, we had a bumpy ride from the highway to their site!! Actually, that put me off. { It’s rectified now}.

Nothing much was done, they had their own unit for making cement blocks. Their office block and the first residential building was under construction, the open air theatre was partially completed and we sat in a hot asbestos shed to listen to their M.D. Mr.Mahaganapathi introducing us to the concept and facilities of his pet, dream project. Questions were raised by all of us and he was tackling each one very deftly. My brother and his wife were planning to move to a comfortable home but I had serious doubts about how long it would take to become functional.

This was perhaps, mid 2011 and my brother moved in by October 2013. Isn’t this another miracle in our procrastinating country?! On March 11th and 12th, 2016, Nandhavanam was inaugurating it’s new blocks, Assisted living block, a huge auditorium, a well- planned water-body and many more facilities.

11th evening was held in the open-air, with circular tables with chairs all around. The members were given an introductory speech by Mr.Mahaganapathi. He introduced and praised each member of his team from top to bottom. The talk was humorous and informative and very touching too.

Delightful and healthy snacks were served throughout the evening to end up with a light dinner.

All the members were asked to speak about themselves and their experiences while 1512270_573954399433870_432528843487125025_oMr.Mahaganapathi added interesting glimpses into each individual. If anyone had tears, he said gently that they have to look forward to happy days and forget the sorrow. He showed personal involvement with each and everyone.

Without an exception, everyone praised the place, the personnel, the services and the management team. Mr.Mahaganapathi was treated just like the diety Ganapathi would be!! He is definitely a great leader, with great involvement and not to forget, with great love . This percolates to all the members of his team.

Nandhavanam is a Brindavanam. A place where the members are treated with dignity in life, in illness and in facing their sunset bravely.My pranams to the team.

Malathi Mohan , Retired professor, Dean and a woman interested in people empowerment.