Society

Bridging the generation gap in resident welfare associations

Illustration: Sreejith Ravikumar

Illustration: Sreejith Ravikumar  

With COVID-19 cases increasing exponentially like the Fibonacci Series, one of the immediate, instinctive responses from families, and even communities, is to tighten the safety knots around their high-risk members.

In the context of residents’ welfare associations, such solicitude is bound to bring youngsters to the fore, some of them pitchforked into an informal leadership role, where they have to lead without a title.

“In some associations on Old Mahabalipuram Road, we notice it happening naturally. Seniors in the EC take a back seat when it comes to in-person administrative interactions. Youngsters fill in for them in an informal arrangement,” explains Harsha Koda, one of the coordinators of the Federation of OMR Residents’ Associations (FOMRRA).

Raghavan Murti, president, Union of Tower Association at House of Hiranandani Upscale in Egattur, says that in the Executive Committee of the Union of Tower Association, six of the nine members are above 60 years old, and so, the younger three have stepped up to the plate.

Raghavan explains, “Sometime ago, the house-keeping staff refused to attend to garbage clearance work on a floor in one of the towers, where a resident had tested positive for COVID-19. The younger EC members had a person-to-person meeting with the house-keeping staff; and the medical volunteering team, which consists of doctors, also offered counselling to the staff. After an effort lasting nearly half-a-day, the issue was resolved. Similarly, in each of the 10 towers, younger members in the EC take a lead role and handle issues that require person-to-person meetings.”

“At TCPS, I am glad the youngsters are doing this for us,” says the president of The Central Park South, Rakesh Ohri. “It has happened not by order, but a natural progression. Some of the youngsters are not even part of the EC. They do it out of a sense of responsibility.”

It sounds like a perfect situation: With two generations working shoulder-to-shoulder in a flat structure, it seems geared towards identifying the second-rung of leadership.

“Perfect yes, if you drown out the cachapony that may arise from the clash of two leadership styles and two worldviews,” adds Harsha, who at fifty, says is “stuck in the middle, in just the right place to spot the positives amidst the inevitable bickerings between the generations.”

Harsha elaborates, “The older generation would be clinical about things, often to the point of erring on the right side of caution, probably due to an awareness of the risk factors that go with their age. In the process, they may sometimes press the panic button, to youngsters’ chagrin.”

If there is evidence that despite extreme carefulness, a family found out that one of its members tested positive for COVID-19, the older lot would advocate more carefulness. It’s a patient and persevering approach, and that sure has its place in the fight against this virus.

Harsha points out that many of the younger lot playing a leadership role, either officially or unofficially, are from the IT industry and they bring a flow-chart approach to problem-solving.

The ability to process a problem by following it through “if-then” scenarios and think of multiple plans, also has its place in the fight against this virus.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:21:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/bridging-the-generation-gap-in-resident-welfare-associations/article31991657.ece

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