BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
ASo your parents are visiting from India, or maybe they just decided to stay back here with you, Wonderful. After the initial few days of enjoying and absorbing their new environment, they long to find something familiar and someone they can connect to. How do you keep them occupied and entertained? The Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) has come up with a novel idea of creating an exclusive club ‘Maitri’ for parents and families visiting Atlanta, at the Hindu Heritage Center in Global Mall, Norcross.
Viju Chiluveru, the current coordinator of TAMA Maitri says that the idea of creating Maitri originated from his own experiences with his parents and in laws visiting the US. The idea was tossed around with a few people including the President of TAMA, Satyanarayana Reddy and having recognized the need to engage visiting parents and replicate a homely atmosphere, Maitri came into existence on Dec 7th, 2008. Currently there are about 12 couples who are members of this club and some of them also pool in as volunteers.
TAMA Maitri organizes various activities ranging from debates, quizzes, contests, discussions, games and movies to engage and entertain its members. Currently, the members along with volunteers meet biweekly unless there is a good reason not to. Each member is encouraged to discuss a topic of their choice such as healthcare for parents, repatriation of assets from India, and cultural differences between India and USA and how to cope with them. Members also share some of their fond memories with each other. The quizzes about US geography & history, road signs help members enrich their knowledge about the US. Maitri also had local physicians attend the meetings and share valuable advice on health related topics and volunteer to conduct a health camp.
TAMA Maitri also maintains a comprehensive website where session details are updated and members are encouraged to share ideas through Google groups. You may check
for registration and any further information.
Mrs. Ratnamamba Cheerla, a current member says that Maitri has provided excellent opportunity to meet with several like minded visiting parents, exchange views and share perspectives on a broad variety of subjects. “Maitri brings out the latent talents in each of us” Mrs. Ratnamamba added as she explained that a member who was a designer now shares his designs through e-mail and she herself, wrote a poem that she shared with the members. Members are also extremely happy with the Masala Tea and Indian snacks provided by TAMA. She is thankful to TAMA for hosting the club that offers an optimal blend of fun, education, enrichment, and networking.
Maitri also creates an “individual identity” as Mrs. Ratnamamba puts it, to parents who deal with the transition of being identified as somebody’s parents. TAMA Maitri provides a platform for all parents to create their own space, share their experiences and bond with like minded people.
Kudos to TAMA for hosting Maitri and here’s wishing them continued success in the years to come.