by Adhi Gopal and Nandhakumar Radhakrishnan
“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers” – Rudyard Kipling. Kipling’s sentiment in this quote is universal. Mother’s Day, an international day of celebrations is to honor all mothers.
Tamil Nadu Foundation, Houston Chapter (TNF-H) is known for its annual Mother’s Day celebrations. This non-profit organization, on an annual basis, honors five mothers from the community who have dedicated their time and efforts for the upliftment of the society. The mothers honored for the year 2018-2019 are Mrs. Ponni Sivaraman, Mrs. Indira Parthasarathy, Mrs. Meena Chockalingam, Mrs. Thara Narasimhan, and Mrs. Savithri Ramanujam. As a tradition, these mothers were driven to the venue, Westchester Academy of International Studies, in a limousine and welcomed by the officers of TNF-H. These dedicated mothers were honored on stage. As a surprise, Dr. Padmini Ranganathan who has played pivotal role in TNF-H was honored as the “Queen of Mothers”. Mrs. Mala Gopal, the President of TNF-H reminded that mothers should be celebrated all our lives and not just on this special day.
The evening had a variety of programs to entertain the gathering. The Chief Guest of this evening was Selvi Kuralsoodi Umayal Meiyyammai, a child prodigy in Tamil discourse. This 10-year old child is well-learned in Tamil literature and is known for her excellence in Thirukkural recitation. She captivated the audience with her flow of speech that was aimed to praise motherhood. Incidentally, her mother Mrs. Vadivambal was also honored, along with other five mothers. On this day, this child prodigy was honored with the title “Sorselvi”. Sorselvi Kuralsoodi Umayal Meyyammai received this title from the President, Mrs. Mala Gopal.
The chief guests of the evening were Ms. Amy Rodriquez, CEO of Cornerstone Critical Care Specialty Hospital and Dr. Venkat Sevamanickam, the M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at the University of Houston. They both were on stage and recognized all the kids who participated in Thirukkural Vilayattu, a Kural reciting competition that was held a month ago. The mothers of the first two winners received a custom-designed saree that carried the image of Thiruvalluvar. As a new effort, TNF-H also recognized youth who are graduating this year from high school. These kids are those who have tirelessly volunteered for the Tamil community.
Four hundred people attended the event. The evening concluded with dinner sponsored by Mr. Rajan Radhakrishnan, Madras Pavilion, Houston.