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My speech as outgoing President of Bombay Toastmasters Club

June 30, 2017 was my last day as the President of Bombay Toastmasters Club. On Saturday, July 8, 2017 the new executive committee (Excom) was inducted and I gave my farewell speech. Here is the text of the same.

“On June 25, 2016, I was installed as the 9th President of Bombay Toastmasters Club. It was and will indeed be a matter of honour and pride.

On behalf of the entire Excom, I would like to thank each one of you for the support and encouragement throughout the year.

I would be wrong if I said we were the perfect team but then I had a ringside view of what went into the making of the meetings, contests, education sessions at the Club. And hats off to these 6 people who worked tirelessly to ensure that the experience of members and guests was positive.

Komal – the Sergeant at Arms. Let me admit that her role was always challenging as one slip up on her side and it would show up. Kudos to her for maintaining her smile even under tremendous stress. Every meeting was handled perfectly.

Pratibha – the Secretary. I would rather call her Aunty after that hilarious speech that she delivered at the Humorous Speech Contest. We truly discovered a new Pratibha that day. She has been meticulously minuting the proceedings of the meetings and circulating them every time.

Omkar – Don’t get conned by the smile. He is the dreaded Omkar. When it came to money matters, his response always was “I have so much budget only. If you can manage it within that fine, else forget it”. Performed the role of the treasurer to perfection. Our big achievement for the year was thanks to Omkar. We now have a KYC compliant bank account in the name of Bombay Toastmasters. I am sure this will go a long way in helping us manage our banking transactions smoothly.

Harshad – I have known Harshad for nearly 2 decades and so my input about him would be completely biased. He is a social media recluse and thanks to his role as VP PR he atleast started posting events on Facebook. Thanks to him for posting the image across clubs in Mumbai and creating awareness. Harshad I would love to see you on Twitter too.

Atul – How many times did we receive mails at 2 am from Thanks to Atul who automated so much during the year thanks to his knowledge about Google. Thanks again to him that the Excom members have their personalised e-mail IDs. I distinctly remember during one of the meetings, guests received information on their e mails in the middle of the meeting. Always my shoulder to cry on in times of trouble.

Anand – the cool and composed Anand. Don’t know what we would have done without him. Be it contests or roles for the meeting, he was just cool as a cucumber as I would be edgy. Hats off to you Anand. Thank you for always patiently listening to me as I vented out my fears.

There are so many Toastmasters I have to thank for their guidance along the way but if I were to name them, it would be like reciting the names from the roster. Besides, the timer will show the red card.

On behalf of the entire team – thank you, members. We have achieved the coveted Diamond Club award yet again.

If any of us have knowingly or unknowingly hurt someone, my sincere apologies. It was unintentional.

Wishing the new Excom all success in the coming year. May we achieve greater heights and continue to grow as leaders and speakers.”

Now I have taken on the mantle of the Area Director for Area A04 with 4 clubs under me. Let us hope for the best.

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Overcoming a mental barrier

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 6.29.31 PMA mental barrier is a barrier that we put in our minds that keeps us from doing something or acting upon something. And I, for one, had a huge barrier about cycling from Borivili to Thane via Ghodbunder Road. Don’t ask me why! I had dropped out twice before despite being gung-ho about joining.

On Saturday, February 27, 2016, Nitin and I discussed on the group about doing this ride and we agreed to go ahead with it the next day. Skeptical I was but what worked for me in the past (when I did the 100 km ride) was that I committed to a couple of dear friends. That pressure always would weigh on my head trying to back out so I took off with Nitin at 0630 on Sunday, February 28, 2016.

As luck would have had it, Nitin’s rear wheel had a flat at Jogeshwari which was beyond repair. Since he has a BTWin, he took an auto from Jogeshwari to Decathlon to get that fixed. I thought this was my golden chance to chicken out. I could simply go to Borivili National Park entrance and turn back as that was the farthest I had gone to on the Western Express Highway (WEH). And the WEH is definitely not as good as the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) which I love to ride on. The mind immediately started googling for excuses on why should I not go it alone to Decathlon. Some of the reasons, I could whip up:

  • I am alone. What if I am attacked by a dog? (Always my first excuse thanks to my mortal fear of the canine species)
  • Ghodbunder Road is treacherous I am told. Slopes galore (my Achilles heal)
  • I am told tires tend to get punctured. What will I do? (I don’t know how to fix a puncture as yet – Shame on me!!)
  • It is getting hot. What will happen? (What if I get dehydrated or my sugar level drops?)

Despite all the search results in my mind, I continued. Rode over all the bridges from Jogeshwari so could practice riding uphill on slopes.

At Ghodbunder junction, turned right with a lot of mental resistance but at that time, the commitment made to friends mattered a lot. Kept me going. The slopes weren’t half as bad. I could manage them and did not have to walk up even once. Maybe the new cycle helped in that? Maybe Rony’s tips on managing gears helped? Who knows?

Made it to Decathlon where Nitin was waiting. He got his wheel fixed while I had some breakfast with black coffee to pump me up lest my sugar fell.

Left around 1130 under the blazing sun and once again took some of the bridges (I know the cardinal rule was broken but then I must also get some practice on slopes).  Reached home by 1300. Quite drained out as the sun really saps you of the energy. 80.22 kms done finally.

Lessons learned:

  • It is all in the mind.
  • No dog ever barked at me.
  • No punctures.
  • Slopes could be managed with ease.
  • And the heat didn’t kill me either.

So get over it and move on Manish!!

Next big ride – Keep watching!! I just love bragging so will be here:-)

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Grateful and not greatful

gratefulSaturday morning and it is time for me explain to Kavya some of her concepts through the worksheets. Today she was doing a crossword puzzle and one of the words to be used was grateful which she spelt as greatful. While I corrected her, she asked me why it wasn’t the other way. As usual Google came to my rescue and this is what I found:

“Grateful” is one of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. Part of the confusion comes from the spelling of “grate.” Common sense might dictate that the beginning of the word would properly be spelled “G-R-E-A-T,” but this is not the case, and “greatful” is not a word at all.

The etymology of the word “grateful” dates back to the middle of the 16th century, and is derived from the expression “full of gratitude,” which is still the meaning used today. The strange spelling of the word comes from the archaic adjective “grate,” meaning “thankful” or “agreeable.” However, even though that definition of the word “grate” is no longer used in modern English, the word “grateful” still remains.

I am grateful to Kavya and Google of course for making me understand why it was spelt the way it was.

Link to the source

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Native Place – What is that?


Kavya this morning has to write on her native place. Now native place is something that is a challenge for me. We are originally from Gujarat….a remote village called Shil in Junagadh District. Now where in the blazes is that? Search me! I was born and brought up in Mumbai so was my Father. My late grand father migrated to Mumbai in maybe the late 20s (considering my Dad was born in 1935 was born in Mumbai). I have absolutely no roots in Shil. The ancestral home or such no longer exits as no one from us was willing to go there and take care of it. In any case, I have not spent more than maybe a total of 12 hours of my life in that village as it has always been a passing visit when I have been to Porbandar to visit my aunt.

Kavya is the fourth generation in Mumbai. So does that make me a Mumbaikar? A Maharashtrian? I don’t know if that will suit the politicos but I am seriously confused. Should I talk of Mumbai as my native place? Should Kavya mention Mumbai as her native place? She has written about Bharuch which is where my father in law has his base (even though he is from Surat) and Kavya has been there umpteen times. But this question today is something I seek answers to. Any clues?

PS: The picture shown is thanks to Google Images and is supposedly taken on the road to Shil. Thanks Google for connecting me to Shil atleast this way.

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Android rocks

I have been a big fan of Google and use Google Apps extensively be it for my office e mails (we have our mails hosted on Google as well), for sharing photographs, videos, contacts, google talk and so many other things. I sometimes wonder what I would be doing with Google’s search engine, Google Maps etc. My dependence on Google was the driving force in getting an Android phone (HTC Desire) sometime in July / August last year. And believe me there is no looking back. At first the memory management was a problem but thanks to Pranav and Bunty, the phone was rooted and now I use the MIUI Rom against the standard HTC one. Pranav sent a detailed set of instructions on how to partition the internal memory and thanks to Bhavesh, the memory problem was resolved and so I can now make the most of the 8GB Memory card I bought. The phone now is more like my lap top with e-mail access on the go, all my 3000+ contacts, the 5 MP camera which along with the mail system allows me to upload pictures and videos instantly. Besides that the phone is loaded with applications that synch with the data entered on the lap top and so I am always up to date with information. Besides that I now have a lot of games installed for Kavya like her favourite Word Search, Hangman etc. All in all the phone has become a life line for me. One may ask why not an iPhone or a Blackberry. Without any other excuses, the iPhone is prohibitively expensive in India and I have somehow never liked the look itself of the Blackberry (I think it looks very ugly). When travelling I can survive the day without the lap top as I am always accessible on e-mail and can reply too if need be. All in all a great investment in the OS. Just wish that the battery life would dramatically improve. Nokia scores on that front any day but no complaining as I now have a car charger too in case of an emergency. Those of you who are wondering whether to change your handset, let me assure you it beats Nokia hollow and is a lot cheaper than a top of the line iPhone (though the older versions of iPhone are now getting cheaper too). You sure can achieve a lot using Android as you OS.

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Linux Mint on my netbook

Thanks to Sandeep at office and today I have Linux Mint installed on my netbook. The netbook is a Lenovo S10-3 which I plan to use at home as most of the times I am living in the cloud. Normally I would have installed Ubuntu but thanks to Pranav’s recommendation, I decided to try this one out. How does it feel? Quite similar to Ubuntu after all this is Kubuntu so not much changes from the features but the UI is different. Is it lighter than Ubuntu? Does not seem so. I thought Xubuntu was lighter…. But I am enjoying it and this post is from Linux Mint & Opera as the browser (The default browser was firefox but I am not a great fan of that. Prefer to use Google Chrome but this was experimental so Opera).

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An Android phone finally…..

I am now on the Android bandwagon after all. Have been a Nokia loyalist (except for 2 years on the Sony Ericsson P1i which was an amazing phone for it’s times). So traded in my Nokia E72 for an HTC Desire which runs on Android. Why Android? I live on Google and so anything that works with Google seamlessly is meant for me. All my contacts, calendar data and e mails just came in so easily without any effort from my side and mind you, I have tons of contacts and calendar entries. There was a lot of rant on why this particular model. But Pranav and Bunty both use this and they were very happy with it save and except for it’s battery life which is abysmally low. But that does not take away anything. The phone can work as a Wi fi hotspot too and right now I am connected to the internet through that. So all in all far too many functionalities for me to explore. Apps galore available and it is loaded with Twitter and Facebook applications already so you are all set to use it immediately. You do find it a little difficult to move from a QWERTY key pad to a touch screen but it is a matter of getting used to honestly. Loving the change from Symbian to Android honestly. Adios Nokia. You have been a faithful pal all these years but it is time now for me to move on.