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Toastmasters ACB Speak to Inform 2 : Clicking Better

Speak to Inform Project 2: Resources for Informing

The following is my speech for the Project 2 of Speak to Inform Advanced Communication Manual. I spoke about a topic which I have interest in; Photography.

[Opening]

Fellow Toastmasters and welcomed guests, a very good afternoon to one and all!

Show of hands please, how many of you take Photographs regularly?

Almost everyone, right?

Do you use your Mobile Phone Camera?

Or a Point and Shoot one?

Or you use your DSLR?

So, the overall consensus is that, obviously, almost everyone takes photographs. Some use properly dedicated cameras while most others use their phones. Everyone nowadays knows how to click and shoot. There are billions of photos taken daily. There are millions of photos shared on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc daily.

We all take Photographs daily. But not all of us are called as Photographers. Professional or Hobbyist. Today, I am going to share with you, some composition guidelines, tips, and tricks which you can use to improve your photography. These are some basic rule of thumbs, which can help you become better photographers, than just ordinary-photo-clickers.

Disclaimer: I am not a Professional or Commercial Photographer myself, but I have been learning this art for a long time now and this is just me sharing some of that learning with you.

[Body]

Slide 4: 3 Guidelines for Better Composition

I am going to discuss the 3 most common guidelines for better composition. Can anyone tell what Composition means? CoThe compositions the placement of objects and subjects in your photograph. This is basically how the elements in your photos have been placed. So, the 3 most common composition guidelines are:

  1. The Rule of Thirds
  2. Leading Lines
  3. Less is More

I will start with the Rule of Thirds

Slide 5: The Rule of Thirds

For this, I would request you all, to take out your phone and open your camera. Can you see a grid there? That grid divides the viewfinder into 9 parts.

The Rule of Thirds states that if your subject is placed at one of the intersections of these grids, that composition would look better than those in which subject is placed without any thought. Scientifically, this kind of composition conforms to the Golden Ratio. You might have seen this curve before. Without going into this too much, I would just say that this curve or ratio pleases the eyes.

This would mean is that when your subject is placed at the intersection, it would give the photograph much more dynamism and a professional look.

I will share a couple of examples to depict this.

Slide 6: Sweet Farm

Slide 7: Sweet Farm with Grid

Slide 8: Busy Bee
Slide 9: Busy Bee with Grid
If you noticed, here the subject was placed at the intersections that made the photograph appear slightly better.

Now, we will understand the second guideline i.e. Leading Lines

Slide 10: Leading Lines
‘Leading Lines’ is another guideline, which you may consider while shooting a photo. It helps the viewer to scan your image from a point to a point. It also gives us a sense of depth, size and, distance. I will again show you some examples.

Slide 11: Hampi Temple
Slide 12: Hampi Temple with leading lines shown
Slide 13: VV Puram Street
Slide 14: VV Puram Street with leading lines shown
Now, the third guideline, Less is More

Slide 15: Less is more
When we want to click, we want to cover as much as possible. We worry about getting all the details of the scene onto our image. However, sometimes the opposite might make sense. Sometimes, having a minimal number of objects in the image can give it a better look. Let me share some examples for this.

Slide 16: The Moon
Slide 17: Birds on a wire
There is a sense of calmness and serenity in these pics. It still depicts a lot, by depicting very less. If we can try minimalism in our photography by giving some white space, that can help us to compose our shots better.

[Conclusion]

Slide 18: Break the rules

I have just talked about Rules. But, the actual rule of Photography is that there are no rules. There are just guidelines. For creativity, we are often encouraged to break the rules. So, if you ignore the above 3 guidelines, you can still create some good compositions. Some more examples for you.

Slide 19: Attack on Hampi (A combination of Rule of Thirds and Minimalism)

Slide 20: Choose a Side (A subject which is totally centered in the frame)
Slide 21: Buy some Balloons (With colors selectively removed)

Slide 22: Another Balloons seller (It just tells a story)
You can try your own styles and bring the best photographer out of yourself. Always remember, it is not the tool which is used to click your photos, but it you who is more important.

Happy Photography!

Back to Toastmaster!

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Last Presidential Address

The script for my last presidential address at my Toastmasters Club. I didn’t deliver it exactly as the script but you can still read it for free:

Today is my last Presidential Address. Please don’t cry at the end of the speech. For the last 25 odd Toastmasters Meetings, I used to prepare something for each week.

How many of you read the December 2017 edition of the Toastmasters Magazine? (How many of you know that there is a Toastmasters Magazine published monthly?)

On the very first page, there’s a line by International President DTM Balraj Arunasalam, where he is quoting Mark Twain,

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read”

In the same way, he says that

“A Toastmaster who won’t lead has no advantage over one who can’t lead”

It means that if you have an opportunity to lead a group of people, for your and their betterment, you must grab that opportunity with both hands. As Robin Williams said in ‘Dead Poets Society’,

“Carpe diem”

First of all, I would like to state that Trailblazers Toastmasters Club is not my baby as in I wasn’t a charter member or part of the executive committee until January 2017. But, when I had joined it in June 2016, soon I did adopt it as my baby. I saw it as a place which had huge potential for me to grow as a person. It was a place where I could meet new people and develop my communication skills. I tried my best to capture the moments I had in the club. Over the course of last one and a half years, I have seen this club grow from a novice club to a sophisticated club now. We now have proper standards, practices, procedures, and processes to run the club. In the recently held elections, we not only got the 7 officers elected on time, 3 more people stood up and took the responsibility of Associate Officers.

During my time as acting VP-Education, VP-Membership and then as President, with the help of the executive committee, we tried to do whatever I could to make the club beneficial to everyone. I hope that our efforts were useful to all the members. I said this in my Presidential Acceptance speech 6 months ago and I will say it again that if we take our role in Toastmasters a tad bit seriously and see it as an opportunity to help others, we can do wonders. I will share a small story about helping others which I had read in a book some time ago. I hope you see some lesson in it:

In 1892, at Stanford University in the US, there were 2 poor students who were not able to pay their college fee. So they approached a pianist Paderewski to perform in their college. Paderewski was quite the superstar at those times. They thought that they would raise enough money from the tickets that they would be able to pay the pianist as well as pay their fee. They asked him to perform for $2000. He agreed and performed.

But, they could raise only $1600 from the concert. With their heads hanging in shame, they went to the pianist and said that they will give the rest of $400 later when they will be able to pay for it. Currently, they said that they were not even able to pay tuition fees. So, they gave him a cheque for $400 and requested him to encash it later. Instead of shouting and scolding them, to their surprise, Paderewski told them that they don’t need to worry. He will not only deduct his fee for this concert but also agreed to pay their tuition fee for them.

Years passed. It was the time for the First World War. The pianist Paderewski had now become the Prime Minister of Poland. Poland was ravaged due to the war and was in dire needs of food and ammunition. He approached the United States to help them. US President Hoover quickly sent food supplies and helped Poland during the war. When Paderewski went on to thank President Hoover, Hoover said that he needn’t thank him. He was just returning the favor. He said he was one of the 2 students whom Paderewski had helped a few years ago to pay their tuition fee.

Think of your Toastmaster role as a role of not self-improvement but helping others. Improvement will happen automatically if you come to the meetings. By helping others, by doing small things, can have a huge impact on others lives. Like taking up roles in a Toastmasters meeting. Your role as Ah-Counter can help someone stutter less and become a better speaker. I could go on and on.

Before I sign off as the president, I would just request all of you, the new officers and the members to try to help each other. I am always there to help. You just need to be proactive and ask for help. You just need to capture the moment before it is too late. You can take my adopted baby now and help it grow more into an awesome person in the future.

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Year 2017 End Post, or is it?

New Year Resolutions are something which I never pay attention to. They’re not for me. I stopped thinking long-term a while back and took life as it came. That worked most of the time but there are times for which one should also be prepared. But if I have to rate no-long-term-thinking-theory, it would still be one of the best decisions I made to stay happy. Fewer Expectations, Better Life.

This time, however, I am thinking of taking a Strong New Year Resolution which requires full-time dedication. We will come to that in a minute or so. The year 2016 was a fine year by the way. Although I changed my ‘status’ that year, still I lived alone for 8 months. The latter part of 2016 was not good though. I got to know that Depression was something real when it happened to one of my close ones. Also, I had a motorbike accident which left me with not being able to use my right hand for more than 2 weeks. Plus, in my journey to be a more confident speaker, I came across an obstacle which made me question my decision itself to become a more confident speaker. Long story short, as I was entering 2017, I was not in my best state of mind and body.

So, let’s have a thorough look back at the Year, Twenty Seventeen was.  Did it turn out okay, did it turn out alright? Boom! Here we go…

  • Firstly, I am very proud of this year. I learned a lot of things, both professionally and personally. The thing which was bothering me at the end of 2016, I took it head on and instead of running away from it (Public Speaking), I decided to confront it. I got my Competent Communication module of 10 Speeches done by May 10th. And that was the time (January-June) when I was peak busy at Work. This taught me a lesson that when one is super busy and focused at work, that is the time when the brain is at its optimum energy level to do things which can give you a break from work.

Lesson Learnt: If you’re busy with work, that is the best time to do things which are totally unrelated to work. Break the monotony

Break Monotony

Break Monotony

  • I also gained enough confidence to recite poems (in my case, these are just words put in an order to rhyme, after every line) in front of a live audience. Although, the audience was known me, reciting a rhyme, in public, is a feat.

Lesson Learnt: Let some skill, which you always have been shy about, come out in public. Some might like it. Overcome inhibitions!

overcome inhibitions

overcome inhibitions

  • For the first time, I traveled to Kerala i.e. Kochi, Alleppey, and Munnar. It was such a wonderful trip which left us wanting for more.

Of course, needless to say that the lesson here is travel more. Anyone has anything to say against travelling?

Some pics here:

View this post on Instagram

#Houseboat #boomerang

A post shared by Abhinav Bhatt (@abhinavbhatt) on

  • I took over as the President of a Toastmasters Club which had 31 people when I started and my term ended (will end on Dec 31) with 24 people. Heh! Now, have I failed? Have I embarrassed myself? Have I lost the cause? Well, actually no. This experience of serving so many people is a humbling experience. This isn’t managing people. This is more like leading people to something they want to do, but they probably aren’t as enthusiastic as you are. I would say, being a President of a corporate Toastmasters club is a difficult task. But I am proud to say that I didn’t give up at all. I didn’t fail because I kept at it. I, with the help of some other people, always kept my members on their toes. Surely, we could do a lot better but I hope the wheels of motion are now set. I was commended by few people for the job I was doing. I was also praised by some that there won’t be anyone like me in future. But I would like to believe that at least one a couple of people would have taken some inspiration and would continue to work for others. Working for others give a pleasure which is immeasurable.

Lesson Learnt: Experience Selflessness. Do something for others and enjoy their success.

experience selflessness

experience selflessness

  • Now some selfishness. I bought a new phone after 3 years. I was using Moto X2 since October 2014. The only issue with that phone was Battery. I had no issues otherwise and quite enjoyed the phone. But there was one caveat. The camera quality was not very exciting. So, I got myself a new One Plus 5t and since then, I am spamming Instagram almost daily. And I feel good about that kind of spamming!
  • I read more numbers of books this year than I have ever read in my life. Isn’t that awesome? This number also included so many superb books. I have written some reviews of those too. Kindly check them out here.
read more

read more

  • One important thing also happened this year. I didn’t miss Twitter. I didn’t miss TV news. That reaffirmed my belief that most of the social media and other media I have been consuming is a farce. I deserve much better and my time deserves the much better use of media. I don’t even want to spend any of my words here about how Twitter and stuff are full of crap. I would rather suggest a Chrome Extensions here: Nudge. This extension helps you to unfollow everyone and everything on Facebook. And block Twitter and all addictive social media sites. I installed and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Unfollow everything. Now, that’s something you should try!

So that was mostly it! Enough about 2017. Now, it is time to share

Thoughts on 2018

Day One

Day One

The above poster is inspired by this post by Ryder Carroll: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSeYbRPhDNs

There’s one thing I have been meaning to do for a long time. That is to write daily. There is also a HUGE GAP in my usage of Adobe Photoshop this year as my laptop had crashed. Plus, this year I discovered vlogging and scope of me learning video editing. Also, I also have started to indulge in jumping on to the bandwagon and sharing ‘Stories’ on Instagram. So, I am looking at following things this year:

  1. Write daily. This is really important. Seth Godin, here I come.
  2. Take more photographs. Edit them better. Make better stories. Be a better photographer, better editor.
  3. Be a better storyteller. Better speaker. Better. And don’t let anything distract you from that.
  4. Indulge in Video making and editing. Tough task but time is now! Casey Neistat and likes keeps inspiring and sharing new people to get motivated from.
  5. Learn something new every week. New technology, science, history, word, technique, skills, something! And write about it.
  6. I didn’t have an actual big cycle when I was a kid. I had a small kiddy bike till I was 13. But then my younger brother got a proper bike. So I used it. But not as much as I wanted. So, if all goes well, I will buy a Bicycle soon and just ride it.
  7. Overhaul the overall brand. Come up as a person people should look up to. Learn from others. Teach what you know to others. Learn more, be more!
  8. Basically, just do. Don’t complain. Don’t indulge in politics. Don’t share irrelevant details. Don’t consume bad stuff. Don’t intake negative vibes. Just do your thing and be better!

My Mantra for 2018 is going to be: JUST DO. If I get some more motivation, I will probably get a T-Shirt made out of this.

Just Do

Just Do

On second thought, I think Nike has already done something similar. Nevertheless, I am going to follow-up on this motto and show up more often here.

I am psyched!

Toastmasters Speak to Inform Speech 1 : A Bit about Bitcoins

I tried to give a very quick and high level layman understandable speech about Bitcoins for my Advance Speech Speak to Inform Project 1. Some people got it, some who hadn’t heard much about it, didn’t get as much as I expected. Nevertheless, here’s the script:

Designed by Freepik

Title: Money, money, money, it’s so funny, in the rich man’s world… (ABBA 1976)

[Opening]

Toastmasters and Guests, Good Afternoon!

Do you remember that last year, on the evening on November 8th, a man appeared on TV at 8 PM. And said,

“Bhaiyo aur behano…”

This one man talked, and left us mortals shocked,

and whatever money we had kept locked, was supposed to be getting blocked.

PM Modi had just announced De-Mo.

You all remember that day, right?

What if, I tell you that there’s a way, in which you can keep all your monies safe and secure, encrypted and out of reach of any government or bank?

Today I will tell you about 2 things: Bitcoins and Blockchains.

Don’t worry, these terms Bitcoins, Cryptocurrencies and Block Chains are not as dangerous as they sound. To understand these is like understanding Money? Easy, right?

So first.. Tell me, What do you understand by money? Any words which come to your mind?

Money is nothing but another name for Worth or Value. When you say I have Rs. 100, that means, the bank recognizes that this paper is worth Rs.100.

Thus, when I give someone any money, how do we know that the Transaction has taken place? We have eyewitnesses here, right! Or officially, we have Bank as the 3rd party which verifies all this.

So, today I am going to tell you about a way,  a way in which there is no bank involved as third party.

You might or might not have heard about Cryptocurrencies but Bitcoins is the most popular as of date. Let me tell you that price of 1 BTC has crossed 7 thousands US Dollars recently. In 2011, it was a mere 2 Dollars.

[Body]

I will explain the concept of Bitcoin in 2 steps.

  1. First, what is a Bit-Coin?
  2. Second, what is a block-chain?

So what exactly is a Bit-Coin? Where did it come from? How does it look?

Let me start by giving a very short history of Bitcoin.

On August 18th, the URL bitcoin.org was registered. Few days later, Lehmann Brothers filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008. Coincidence?

A person named Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity is, till date, unknown, came up with a White Paper in 2009 and he explained the basic concept of Bitcoin.

The concept goes like this:

In most simple terms, Bitcoin, is nothing but a currency. You can buy or sell thing by paying Bitcoins as tender. Like we store our physical money in our wallets, same way we store our digital money in digital wallets. Like Paytm or Airtel Money, Bitcoins are stored in Digital Wallets too.

A Bitcoin Digital Wallet is nothing but a string of 26-35 alphanumeric characters. The part which makes Bitcoin wallet different from your Paytm wallet is that:

  1. Paytm wallet stores Rupees, Bitcoin Wallet stores Bitcoins.
  2. Paytm knows your email ID or even KYC details. Bitcoin Wallet stores nothing else than the Bitcoins you have.

Now, the fun part, when you send some money from your Bitcoin Address to someone else’s Bitcoin address, the wallets gets updated digitally and anonymously. There’s no Bank in between to verify this. Like there’s a finite amount of Gold on Earth. Same way, there’s a finite number of Bitcoins present in the system. 21 million bitcoins to be exact. Not one less, not one more.

Fun Trivia: In 2015, Satoshi Nakamoto was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, but of course, he didn’t win because nobody knows who he is. Also, Satoshi has probable 1 Million BTC himself. Right now, there are 15.6 million bitcoin in circulation .

Coming back to Bitcoin wallets. So, say I transferred 1 BTC to you. My wallet will have 1 less BTC than previously, and yours will have +1. So, how do we verify this has happened?

To verify that you have a certain amount of money with you, the Bank maintains a Statement which is nothing but a Ledger.

Like Bank, the one 3rd party maintains our account, Bitcoin ledger is owned by everyone in the BTC system. That means, each transaction gets transferred and written to everyone who is part of this system. So, this irreversible, writing of ledger is, in simplistic terms again, is called a Blockchain.

And what exactly is a Blockchain?

So, block-chain is the universally available ledger which has the list of all the transactions happening with bitcoins. It is irreversible so once the transaction is done, it is done. People who maintain these block-chains integrity, are rewarded bitcoins, hence they have to maintain same Blockchain copies everywhere there by making it almost impossible to fake.

[Conclusion]

So, how popular this bitcoin thingy is actually? Is it just a concept or is it something which is very much present in real life. Turns out, it is. Many countries have deemed it legal. Some countries are even accepting it as a mode of payment for their Visas. Many websites also accept it. Though, some websites, which have illegal stuff being sold, also accept it. And this makes it slightly in the grey area. For example, a drug selling website Silkroad was accepting it. As it is totally anonymous, it worked really well there. But that lead to it being banned in US. Eventually after arresting people and banning Silk Road, it was legalized again. Also, accepting Bitcoins is legal in India.

November 8 will come and go. Paper currency may come and go. Bitcoins are here to stay. They will evolve into something in future, we will be more comfortable with. Remember the name Ethereum. All revolutionary things take time to adjust. So will be this currency.

Sources:

Dhola Maaru

Toastmasters Storytelling Speech 1 : Yet Another Love Story

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.

OPENING

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.

BODY

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 Bikaner with 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.

Story of Dhola Maaru

Story of Dhola Maaru via http://www.aboutindia.it/uploads/dholamaru_cover.jpg

CONCLUSION

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.”

This time, last year, we all found eggs

It was around 6 PM in the evening. I was sitting in a park near my apartment, fully indulged in my phone. That park was special. Not because of it had a lot of greenery, birds and kids happily chirping away and playing, so many smiling people strolling-and-chit-chatting along their way to good health (who has time to see all that?), but where I was sitting, it had 2 PokéStops, equidistant. It was really fun… after every 5 minutes, I could use one of the stops and refill my PokéBalls and earn major XP without even walking. And then use another. On top of that, one could find many Pokémons there. And even better, within 50 m away, there was a Gym where I could battle with others.

Few more people like me, immersed into their phone screens, kept on walking around these Pokéstops to get as much as they could. But since I had grasped that middle seat, I could do all that just by sitting, and they had to keep walking. Mostly all strangers, but occasionally one would ask, so are you also playing ‘Pokémon GO’? Smiling, I would say, yeah, what all you have got till now?

This time, last year, in 2016, the middle part of July was really different. It was like a temporary cultural revolution of sorts. Whoever got to know about this game, downloaded apk files (where it wasn’t available yet) and jumped on to the roads and started playing. I had downloaded it, because that time I was living alone and since the monsoon-y weather was quite good to go around and walk. And also because I wanted to give my 2nd Speech in Toastmasters. Otherwise I had no interest in Pokémons at all. I didn’t watch their cartoons, as I though all of those Japanese cartoons look the same. 🙂

But for this game, I not only walked around kilometers during evening, but even in Night. Everytime I went out, I could notice people playing. Herds of youngsters, all looking into their phones and walking slowly and funnily. There was another Pokéstop near my place where I went to fetch some collectibles at 1.30 AM in the night. Only to return disappointed to see a group of girls, sitting under the tree there and guarding the place, figuratively, if not literally.

13691100_10154377255584228_8841893963457104728_o.jpg

When so much was nearby, how could one stay at home?

I even walked around in office campus during lunch time (and sometimes just for a break, you know!) to get as many new Pokémons I could catch. And, as I was using a bike to go to office, I used all my time in the jams and traffic to collect many more Pokémons and refill my bag with Pokémon collectibles on the way.

13765781_10154395318174228_7059477319061193105_o.jpg

When you could go no where, you could still catch some Pokémons

Best part about this was, that not everyone got it. But if you saw someone looking at their phones walking, and then suddenly stopping and doing incessant clicking, you could know that they were playing Pokémon GO!

13717271_10154390894114228_4405088857597657626_o.jpg

Augmented Reality should have really taken off then. But probably, it would take some more time.

And these were the scenes all over the world. People played this in cemeteries, walked into other people’s properties and sometimes almost got them killed trespassing, just to get a rare Pokémon. They used bikes where they didn’t want to walk. They stayed hours near water bodies because there they could find, some Pokémons which were available only near lakes and ponds. It was indeed a fun time, last year in July.

This could have become a thing. Unfortunately, their servers kept crashing down due to huge surge in popularity in so little time. Hence, they disallowed people, at least in southern part of India, to play. So my pastime from July 14 – July 21 was short-lived. It was released later but then the enthusiasm had worn off and I got involved in other life related activities that I gave up.

When you think about it, rarely few things happen, which grab attention of everyone in the world. Games are like that. It had become a rage. In park, the roads, small town, big cities, every where, everyone who was playing that, had a sense of common aim and a feeling of family like animosity. Indeed a rare feat (apart from everyone throwing ice-bucket over each other). With this technology of augmented reality, surely, in future, we would do more such stuff when people would be more ready. The thing with games is that it connects everyone alike and makes them do things normally they won’t even team up for.

Watch this video about how can gamers help us to do bigger things:

I downloaded Pokémon GO today again. I can see few stops, gyms and available raids nearby. But then, who will walk now?

Group of people on peak mountain

How Can I Help?

So, by the sheer result of persisting with it, I have become the Club President of my Toastmasters Club, Trailblazers.

This is the speech I presented as an acceptance of the Club President’s Role:

Hello Trailblazers!

Good Afternoon!

I would like to thank all of you for putting your trust in me by choosing me as the President of the club. I would like to assure you that I will continue to work hard in making our club one of the best places to spend 1.5 hours every week. I would also like to specially thank Toastmaster Narayanan and all the past officers under whose leadership we grew into a Select Distinguished Club.

Whenever we go for an ‘inception’ or start something new, we all feel an uneasiness in our stomach. Do you know that there’s a term for this:

Collywobbles!

Have you heard it before?

On June 3rd, 2016, when I joined this club, Trailblazers were celebrating our 75th Meeting. I raised my hand to volunteer for the table topics. Our then VP-Education and past President Megha, the Table Topics master, gave me the word ‘Collywobbles’ to speak on. That’s all. Just the word. And as you may guess, I had no idea about that word, then. I couldn’t speak for more than 10 seconds. I realized that I need to improve a lot. I need to be more active, learn more, speak more and if I spend some more time here, I will surely improve. It was all about myself.

But soon I realized one more thing. That when we join Toastmasters, we all join it for selfish reason. Oh I want to be better at this. I want to learn this. I want this.. I want that..

Over the course of time, I understood that we can do good for ourselves, only if we help and support others in their journey. Instead of asking who can help me or what I can get from the club, the only thing we need to ask ourselves, is ‘How Can I Help?’.

I will remind you of the most clichéd but one of the best stories about ‘How can I help?’ attitude.

In the Cold War era, when US and USSR were involved in Cold War, both the nations were competing fiercely in the space wars. Each one trying to outdo another. So in 1960s, John F Kennedy, asked the citizens on the US, that we must all try to put a man on the moon before the end of this decade. The whole nation started working towards that cause.

In Mid 60s, JFK was visiting NASA. He met a Janitor there. JFK asked the janitor, what his job was? Janitor said, proudly, that he is there to help put a man on the moon.

It is easy to not realize that each of your effort, can help others a great deal. When you take up the role of an Ah-Counter, you are helping someone to get rid of their fillers. When you become a Grammarian, you help someone get good at grammar. When you become a Sergeant-at-Arms, you break ice and your energy can transcend into audience. When you give a speech, how your words can impact someone, you never know!

Every little thing done by you, helps others in a great manner!

Can I request you that from now on, every time there’s an ask, you will jump in pro actively?

Can we do that?

Now my second request, to the officers in particular and members in general. I wish to make this club, the most fun place to be where you can spend your 1.5 hours every week. Remember the words, the most fun place to spend your 1.5 hours every week. And bonus part: Learn skills on the way. We should all strive to make this club, a Cult.

So instead of making claims that as a President, I will do this and that, I have just 2 requests from all of you.

1. Ask yourself before each session: How can I help?
2. And once you jump in to help, ask yourself, that how can we make the meetings more interesting and fun to attend.

Now, we have a new set of officers, ready to provide services to the club. I am sure that, whatever achievements our past officers have brought us, we will try to improve on them. Also, don’t think that the officer’s alone will run this club. Everyone has to contribute. Everyone is an officer here.

With our mutual support for one another, I duly accept the position of the President. Please feel free to bother me with any question, clarification, help or support you may need. I wish you all the very best. Looking forward to see you in next meeting.

I would conclude with this proverb:

‘If you want one year of prosperity, grow seeds. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.’