Respected Chief Guest Honourable JusticeThiru  Nagamuthu, Key note Speaker Prof.Nedumaran, Imm.Past President. Dr.Vasantha, Hon.Gen Sec Dr. Rajasekar, Respected teachers ,Senior ophthalmologists, colleagues, invited guests and friends   – Good evening!

It is a great privilege and honour to be the President of this august body and I sincerely thank the members of the TNOA for electing me to this office.

I will not be standing here today but for the support of family and friends. I take this opportunity to thank some of my friends who had helped me in my moments of self doubt and despair. I want to thank Dr.Madhivanan, Dr.Chalini Madhivanan, Dr. Muthu Palaniappan, Dr.Dhanapal, Dr.Sukumar,Dr. Sagadevan and the entire Aravind family for their belief in me.

Whatever a man achieves a lot of sacrifice is equally borne by the family. That emotional backup provided by my family is phenomenal. Thank you Selva, Arun, Abhi and all my brothers and sisters.

It was James Allen who said As a man thinketh, so is he.

Thoughts are shaped by the values you imbibe during the course of your life. This is mainly inspired by people who cross your path during your formative years. I was inspired by two such men.They both had worked for the government and retired with an unblemished record. Both started a second career and worked till the end.By the time I started understanding them they were in their late 60s. But I have never heard them talk about their past achievements. They always talked about the future and what should be done now to get there.I have never seen them grumble. They just gloss over petty things . Above all both considered money as a by product rather than the focus.

There was only one difference between them.

One man made his village …  his world           and the other man …   made the world …   his village.

The first one is my father Late Mr. Venkatachalam, a retired deputy collector turned agriculturist and the other person  Dr.Venkatasamy, Founder, Aravind Eye Care System

Their entire life can be described in three simple words.

Resilience,            Relevance,           Excellence

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from any setback, the mental strength to face any adversity

Relevance is always living in the present, being connected

Excellence is the joy of doing something beautiful

These three values guide me in my life and I want to carry this into my new responsibility as your President.

Today practicing medicine is tough. Patient expectations are high and sometimes unreasonable. It even gets to physical assault on doctors. We hear stories of doctors engaging bouncers to protect them. Government regulations are also more stringent. The judiciary is very assertive in medical negligence issues.  Fear has become a predominant factor and the practice is becoming more and more defensive. Overall there is a trust deficit among the stake holders. These are the times when one has to respond and not react.

In such a hostile scenario how can one respond? It starts with the self, the attitude.

Not everyone is endowed with resilience but it can be developed. A good supportive ecosystem greatly helps. I feel it is the responsibility of TNOA to develop that ecosystem.

As the environment is changing we have to start looking inside.  We have to start the inner dialogue. Am I doing the right thing? Am I thinking in the right line? What are the things that work and what will not work? The ability, the mindset to give up on things that will not work is the major challenge.

Being relevant is more about shedding old habits, not clinging on to dogmas. Learning to do new things. Not afraid to try and fail.

Late Dhirubhai Ambani once said the best way to beat competition is move into the next orbit.

It is not enough if you look outside and adapt;

It is not enough if you look inside and change;

It is absolutely essential for you to look up and excel.

Very often in the name of encouragement we accept mediocrity. Unless we have pride in our work, and set our standards high it is not possible to succeed.

Often we take competence as excellence . As doctors and surgeons we are more inclined to improve our skill. But excellence is not skill; It is attitude

So what should we do to make our association resilient, relevant and excellent?

It is not my job. It is our job. It is team work. For a team to succeed three things are essential.

They are Information, Communication and Execution.

Erovision 17 gave us the opportunity to experiment and learn many things.

When we started our preparations for this conference Dr. Bala gave us the theme Ignite… Innovate. By this he wanted to try newer things.

So as a first step  it was decided to make all our transactions online. But we found our database is not complete. Thanks to Dr. Jeyanthan and Mr. Sai from Numerotec we were able to upgrade ourselves and 95% of the transactions were digital. This year we will make it much more robust and advanced.

When preparing the scientific program we found it difficult to adhere to our constitutional guidelines because of the huge demand. This is one area that requires serious consideration.

We were all excited by the tremendous demand for free paper submission and instruction courses. But the quality of the content needs serious improvement.

So far our conferences were meant for knowledge sharing and networking. This is the first time opportunity for exhibiting members talent in sports and culture are undertaken. The response as you know is phenomenal. It is mainly due to the infectious enthusiasm of Dr. Shanthi and the initiatives of Jeyanthan and Bala.

The purpose of any association is to help the members realise their potential. Let us appreciate the work of our past presidents in taking this organisation to this level. I promise you I will uphold that tradition.

I still remember the motto of my school which has had a great impact on my development as a person and as a doctor. The same motto i want to pass onto our organisation. In Tamil it says

மென்மேலும் உயர .

Roughly it translates into Higher…Still higher .  Friends let us all Aim higher, Still Higher.

Thank You