This neighbourhood forum brings you closer to your neighbours
Friends on the same wavelength (FOSWL) is a neighbourhood forum for residents to meet and interact on a monthly basis. They invite an expert on a subject that is of interest and relevant to the residents. The chosen speaker delivers a one-hour lecture which is followed by lively question and answer sessions. These 90-minute sessions are an opportunity for residents to gather at a community centre or at the house of a member or a local school on Sunday evenings. As the session rolls on, friendly chitchats gather steam which are further accompanied by delicious snacks.
I had the good fortune to see the setting up of FOSWL chapter at Adyar centre.
Mr T H Iyer, a septuagenarian, had a successful career in Europe for decades before settling down in hometown Chennai post retirement. He is a friendly and popular face in the morning walks on Eliot’s beach. It came as no surprise when he announced the launch of a FOSWL chapter to the morning walkers in the beach. FOSWL has grown into an association with Mr T H Iyer as the President and many other popular faces as its members.
The new President explained the concept with characteristic zest, “Once a month meeting for 90 minutes, preferably the first Sundays of each month, we invite an expert to deliver a lecture and then debate it among ourselves. Of course, needless to say refreshments will be available.”
That was three years ago. I am a regular at these meetings. The bonding and warmth of those gathered is there for all to see. Swaminathan, who makes it a point to attend these meetings, runs an SME in Guindy Industrial Estate. He says, “We are so busy throughout the week. We live in a sphere where we don’t even get to know our neighbours. FOSWL gets us interacting with our neighbours.” His wife Asha, a teacher echoes him, “I have made so many friends here. Now when we cross paths, we exchange smiles and small chats.”
Varied topics are discussed in FOSWL. Iyer explains “It is my job to choose a subject that will engage an audience.” We have discussed about climate change, rainwater harvesting, yoga for chronic illnesses, homeopathy for good health, agriculture as a commercial proposition, tackling energy crisis and employment opportunities for adults. He adds, “We make a conscious effort to avoid religion and politics.”
FOSWL runs on a shoe-string budget. This is free for any resident to attend. But to engage a hall for the evening, food expenses, and token gifts for the guest speakers, it welcomes contributions from volunteers.
It is heartening to find such a friendly place even though most of us are strangers to one another, thanks to FOSWL.
OMG-inducing, share-compelling, like-attracting, clutter-breaking, thought-provoking, myth-busting content from the country’s leading content curators. read on...