“The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese”.
Toastmaster of the day, fellow Trailblazers and welcomed guests, life is nothing but a struggle. A struggle to get things done, in the way we want. We try to convince our boss to give us a better salary. We try to convince our kids to not to spend too much time on mobile phones. We try to convince our partners to give us the remote. We even try to convince ourselves to get up early in the morning and do something about the continuous weight gain. Convincing yourself or anyone else is certainly a grueling task indeed. How do you convince yourself or anyone can define how much desperate or passionate you are? What techniques do you use to persuade others and make them follow what you want to convey?
It was one of the busiest days at work. I was deeply engrossed in my laptop. It was the last day of the project deadline, so the surroundings sounded of silence and seriousness. Everyone on my team had skipped lunch that day. My attention was divided between the software application I was working on and my mailbox in which I was expecting some emails from my colleagues about some critical issues.
Meanwhile, just to set some context, a couple of days ago, I had just finished my first year at the office, which also happened to be my first company. I, along with all my batch-mates who had joined on the same day, had received our first ever salary hike letters. We were generally in a mood of congratulations and celebrations. As you know, the first hike letter is special!
As I was expecting some very serious mail about critical issues, I got a message in my inbox. It was from one of my batch-mates. I ignored it for time being and kept on doing my work. Within minutes, then I got another message from another batch-mate. I ignore that too as I had to concentrate on my work. The deadline was lurking. After few minutes, few more emails came. Apparently, there was a mail chain going around with everyone replying to all. After ignoring them for a while, I opened the latest mail. It said that one of the friends had “heard” that the new batch of joiners have been given much higher package and that exceeded our current salary plus the hikes which we were to receive. As you all know, people are very emotional about money. This had started a chain-reaction. Many people had started replying to all in the same mail chain that “how wrong this is and we should do something about this. How could the company betray us like that?” Mind you, I had more than 50 batch-mates.
This replying to all going on for a very long time eventually choked my email inbox. I was neck-deep-busy that day but now my concentration had been compromised due to this unnecessary rumormongering. This constant barrage of email volley irked me. After ignoring for a long while, I decided to end the matter once and for all! I replied to all saying that I have just talked to the HR Manager personally and if this email chain does not stop, everyone’s hike would be canceled. I also added at the very end of the email that I was kidding but please do not send emails to all about such kind of confidential matter, as it is not at all professional.
And that worked! The shower of emails stopped. Some of my friends who thought I was really serious came to my desk and I told them that nothing’s wrong, I was just joking as I had got frustrated with the constant bombardment of emails onto my inbox. I told them about the last line of the email and the matter ended with laughter.
Everyone moved on with their lives. We finished our project on its deadline and life went on.
A few days later, I was at home on a vacation. I got a call. It was from office. I picked up. The person on the other side said that he was the HR of the company I was working in. He revealed that he had been forwarded that email of mine. The email also did not contain the part where I had said that I was joking. The tone of the HR was very serious. He asked me who had given me any right to spread such misinformation. I told him the whole story but he asked me whether I sent the mail or not. I said I did send but my intention was not to spread fake news but rather to stop spreading rumors. The HR said he does not care whatever was intended but since I was the one whose email he had received so I was to be blamed. He scolded me for 30 minutes before hanging the phone up. Luckily, he left me with a warning of never doing this again.
Toastmasters and guests, our generation is a generation of information. We all receive such messages. For example, UNESCO has declared our National Anthem as the best National Anthem. Drinking Coke after eating Mentos is Death by Explosion. Haven’t we? However, with this information overload, sometimes we receive some information, which is as far from the truth as Pluto is far from the Sun. There is an umbrella term for all such information. Can anyone guess? Yes, this plethora of misinformation is called ‘Fake news’.
Moral of the Story: First, do not believe the fake news. Always check several sources before forming your opinion. More importantly, do not react and spread fake news. In today’s age, whatever you share electronically, you have no control over where it will end up. Moreover, whether it will end up in its entirety or not, is out of your hands. I learned my lesson that day. Have you?
By the way, did you know that if you do not discuss this speech with 10 of your friends, you would have bad luck for 10 years?
“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
You might or might not have heard this story before, but here it goes. I’ll start with a question:
Does anyone here know about the growth pattern of a Bamboo plant?
When the farmers start growing Bamboo, they must nurture it, water it and take care of it during its first year. However, there is negligible growth. The farmers must have patience and continue to water it in its second year too. Even then, there is nothing much to see. They fertilize it with best quality manure so that they see something soon. But seasons after seasons, years after years, there is almost nothing to be proud of. It doesn’t even show proper sprout.
3 years pass. There’s still no motivation for the farmers to continue. But they continue to water and fertilize the plant. Even after the 4th year ends, there is still nothing. By this time, even the most motivated farmers give up. Who would keep watering the plant which shows no growth at all? But even then, the farmers persist.
Now, this is the time when the patience pays off. In the 5th year of its cultivation, Bamboo finally shows some traces up from the soil. Not only that, it reaches more than 60-80 feet up in the air in the same season itself. And then, it continues to stay strong, no matter how harsh the weather is. It bends, it twists, but it stays strong. In case, you don’t know Bamboo is a kind of Grass.
You know, all the years when it didn’t show any growth upwards, it was actually growing downwards. Yes, it was growing upside down. Its roots were getting longer and longer and they had eventually reached that length and gained enough strength that they could hold the soil to sustain 80 feet tall shoots of Bamboo.
Same is the way in which revolutions work and revolutions fail. If there are doubts in your convictions, your beliefs, and your aim, no matter what you do, you are bound to fail.
If you are doing things right with honesty, but you are not seeing any benefits, take some lessons about patience from the Bamboo. If you promise yourself patience and keep at it, it would need patience. It might take time, it might not show any positive results soon. But, if you keep working in the right direction, there will be a time that you will be really proud of yourself that you invested time on that very thing.
The above was used as part of my Presidential Speech Script in my Toastmaster’s Clubs Meeting. I had come across this story in this book: http://amzn.to/2CYG9O5.
I’m not putting my CC10 here, as it is too personal to tell. But I did that in May and since a long time, I hadn’t posted any new speeches here. So, here it is, my 1st ACB Speech: Storytelling Manual Project 1: Folk Story. This isn’t my original creation but a folk story from Rajasthan. I was sure that nobody in my club would have heard about it. Even I hadn’t known much about this apart from the name at RTDC Hotels.
Together forever, never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart…
Toastmaster of the Day, fellow Toastmasters, and welcomed Guests… Good Afternoon!
You might have heard of Romeo-Juliet, Laila-Majnu, Shahjahan-Mumtaz Mahal, and Heer-Ranjha. Today, I will tell you Yet Another Love Story which might jog you, or shock you, or even rock you.
Our story begins in the arid-lands of Thar in Rajasthan, circa 14th or 15th century. It was the month of May, the festival of ‘Akshaya-triteeya’ or as it was called there ‘Akhateej’ was in full flow. The royal palace of Bikaner was dazzling with fragrance of flowers and mesmerizing with the tunes of Shehnai. After all, it was the royal wedding of Maaru, the daughter of the King of Bikanerwith Dhola, the Prince of Narwar, a town in Madhya Pradesh. The families were beaming with excitement and joy.
The young prince Dhola, who stood 2 and a half feet tall, at a tender age of 3 was getting married to the playful naive Maaru, the sweet princess, who was just 2 years old.
Child marriage, which it was, was common among the royals of that time. The wedding happened but since the couple were too young, it was decided that the bride shall go to the groom’s place only when she comes of age. Dhola returned back to Narwar with his family, while Maaru stayed back in Bikaner with hers.
Few years passed. Maaru was excited to step into her new role as a wife soon. The family started to prep her for the life ahead. She started dreaming of her life as the new princess of Narwar. She was ready to meet her prince charming Dhola, and fall in love, officially.
There was a conundrum though. Dhola’s father had died few years ago and Dhola was re-married to another woman Malwani. Being married so young, he had forgotten about his original marriage.
Maaru sent letters to Dhola, expressing her love and eagerness to meet him. Dhola’s wife, Malwani received the letters before Dhola could get them. She enquired about this and she was made aware of the child marriage. Not only that, the way the beauty of Maaru was explained, it made her furious and utter jealousy creeped over her. Malwani decided to never tell Dhola about this and kept him under Dark.
Whichever letters Maaru used to send, all used to disappear before it could reach Dhola. Maaru sent messengers but apparently Malwani got the messengers killed.
Eventually Maaru sent off a folk-singer to Dhola’s court. The singer was told to sing a song about their love story. The singer went to Dhola’s court and sang a ballad.
The ballad was sung in Raag Malhaar while it was raining. The setting, the ambiance and the song was so captivating that Dhola got intrigued by the lyrics and got hooked to it very deeply. It touched his heart and soul Dhola realized that it was a cryptic message for him from Maaru. He finally realized and remembered that he was indeed married to Maaru years ago.
He at once decided to go to Bikaner to meet Maaru. But, his wife Malwani stopped him by engaging him in other matters and averted the meeting, for the time being.
Eventually, one day, Dhola decided to go to Bikaner when his wife Malwani was not around. On his way, he got bit by a snake and died.
But then a miracle happened. He was found by some sages who brought him back to life, as they understood that he was going to meet his wife and his love was pure and pristine. Meanwhile, Maaru was caught in a conspiracy by some local folks who wanted to get her because of her beauty. Maaru was made aware of the entrapments she was about to fall into. She decided to take matter into her own hands. She found the fastest camel available and rode straight to meet Dhola.
Eventually they both met on the way between Bikaner and Narwar. They embraced each other and fell in love again. Despite so many hurdles and obstacles in their ways to get to each other, they were finally united. It was their sheer persistence and ever longing for each other that overcame all problems. Their true love was victorious in the end.
Malwani, the 2nd wife understood the purity and piousness of their love and agreed to share her husband with Maaru.
And then, they 3 lived happily ever after. That was the story of Dhola-Maaru.
This legend has got so much ingrained in the local culture in Rajasthan, and also in MP & Chhattissgarh, that whenever a couple gets married, their love is compared to Dhola and Maaru. Dhola and Maru were a couple who were separated for years but despite all hardships, they got united.
As Paulo Coelho puts in his book Alchemist, when you want something really really bad, the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. And as John Lennon put it, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”