Toastmasters P5 – All shook up

My P5 the 5th speech project from the Toastmasters Competent Communicator Manual. The objectives of P5 were to complement your message with your body during delivery. Specifically, be aware of:

  • posture
  • body movement
  • facial expressions
  • eye contact

Thanks to Kavya I could bring in Lungi Dance into this speech and I enacted it as well. The icing on the cake was when I was selected as the Best Speaker of the Day. God knows what I would do without you, Kavya. Here is the text of my speech.

Kavya completed 10 on November 29, 2014. During the four months in the run up to this date, she’d return home from the numerous birthday parties and would talk about the theme they had be it Snow White or Pirates etc. And I’d think “She is only describing the good time she had there”. Lightning struck me in early November when she asked me “What is the theme you plan for my birthday party?” I was all at sea. As a child, my parents decided on birthday parties but they too would never have thought of themes. Cutting a cake was the only thing I knew aside of inviting some friends. Wake up and smell the coffee, Manish! Times have changed

Toastmaster of the Day, fellow toastmasters and guests, enjoy the time capsule ride.

“If music be the food of love, play on” said William Shakespeare. Gone are the days when we would strain our ears to listen to Ameen Sayani on Radio Ceylon for his Binaca Geet Mala on short wave. As a child I used to think that Ameen Sayani was a Sri Lankan who would play Indian music sitting there. Now we have a plethora of FM stations and Kavya having already met Malishka, insists on listening to 93.5 RedFM only. I for one prefer those soulful melodies sung by my favourite, Kishore Kumar composed by stalwarts like Panchamda and the likes with meaningful lyrics. Today when Kavya and my nephews sing “Char bottle vodka”, I just want to hang my head in shame.

Dance then was a form of art what with the classical ones teaching you movements of fingers not just the hands. Also expressions using the eyes! Now we have Shiamak Davar and other styles which honestly are nothing more than aerobic exercises put to rhythm. But wait! How could I ever forget we also have dances now like Lungi dance which make absolutely no sense but are extremely popular!

Telephones – This generation has never experienced a phone with a rotary dial but I do hope you have noticed the black contraption they show in those antique Hindi films. Yes I grew up with them. I am sure you did not know that there was no direct dialing facility then. You had to book trunk calls, pay double for urgent calls and pay 8 times for lightning calls. During the rains, we experienced something which was called delayed dial tone. All you had to do is pick up the phone and hold on for atleast 2 minutes while saying a silent prayer just to get a dial tone.

And now you have mobile phones. No dial tones, no delays whatsoever and no costs to worry about. Kavya thinks talking to my sister on the phone is so downmarket. She believes only in using FaceTime with my sister so that she can flaunt a new dress, new shoes, trinkets etc. and then also some new dance step she learnt from an upcoming Bollywood movie.

Letters – One thing I would wish returns for the good of all. I have pen friends since 1982 and am in touch regularly with them. We used to write letters and I distinctly remember my longest letter was 22 pages to my friend in Australia. She responded back to me using an audio cassette. Aside of letters, we exchanged currency notes, stamps, coins for our collections and built some weird hobbies. I, for one, collected and still collect postcards, knives, forks, spoons from airlines. That was before 9/11 happened. Now of course we have only plastic knives and forks. My French friend still collects newspapers from different countries. Another friend collects wrappers of different kinds of cheese.

Kavya I doubt would ever realise the joy of letter writing. Her generation is completely electronic what with e mail, Whatsapp etc. I know what is there for homework even before she has reached home as enthusiastic parents post it immediately on the Whatsapp group. Their birthday parties are organised on Whatsapp complete with invitations. Parents beam pictures and videos on the Whatsapp group from the party. As if someone would hang you if you posted the pictures after the party.

Friends, we are living in this weird wired world and the new generation is fast adapting to technology. Children are far more intelligent than we were at that age. Gone are the days when we could say, “Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.” High time we changed ourselves or our children will move on and we will be left stranded singing I am all shook up, hmm hmm hmm…..

Tips for a Great Morning, Every Morning

This is a good read and a must apply for me as I am used to keeping the phone by the bedside when I sleep.

The Happsters

What are some of the first things you do each morning when you wake up? Recently, I’ve been really conscious of what I choose to do when I open my eyes in the morning.

I go through phases of reaching for my phone on my bedside table to see the time and then getting sucked into reading work email and checking social media while still in bed. Since I’m a social media manager, I look at the Twitter and Facebook accounts that I manage at work and then check my own personal ones. Sometimes I would center myself with some morning mantras or meditate, but it wasn’t a daily routine.

Three weeks ago I made a rule for myself that I would leave my phone in the other room and commit to some new morning rituals. Note: I am a fairly early-riser so I have about an hour of extra…

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Insomnia and how I am dealing with it

InsomiaThe past few days have been an absolute torture. I haven’t been able to sleep like I would have liked to. Been waking up anytime between 0130 and 0200 and then keep up till 0500 or 0530. After that I would sleep and wake up around 0730 that too mainly as I have to drop Kavya to school. As a consequence, yoga was never attended and neither was swimming. This went on for 10 days. What did I do during those unearthly hours, I would check mails, reply to mails, chat, read news etc. Anything but productive. Finally decided to bell the cat and for the past two nights have been leaving the cell phone on the dining table in silent mode. And if I wake up, I don’t have any choice but to watch the darkness or such. Which I guess pushes me to sleep. This seems to be working well for now. Also I have taken to swimming once again so there is physical exertion too which makes me sleep better. Tomorrow I will attend yoga (much to the surprise of our teacher and my friends there:-)) And yes I will continue to leave the cell phone outside. Heavens are not falling and no one calls me in the middle of the night.

The bane of headphones

At the very outset, I will admit I am no saint. It is not as if I have never committed any of these crimes that I am about to write about. I have been a party to it in the past and sometimes even in the present. Just that the increased levels of headphone usage worries me now more than ever.

In the good old days I used to go cycling with my Sony Walkman. Music blaring into my ears, I was oblivious to the world around me. In hindsight, you realise it was so stupid on my part. In those days traffic wasn’t so bad thankfully else I would have been a dead duck by now.

These days, with the music player being part of the phone, people have lost touch with each other. All I see is youngsters plugging in to their headphones as they walk, on the trains, metros, buses wherever and listening to music. I don’t know if the music they listen to is intended for their personal hearing or for the ones around them considering the loud volume levels being played. But well been there done that. When I am driving, I sometimes feel like stepping out and give two jhaapads (slaps) to the pedestrians who are so busy on their headphones that they do not even realise I am honking. The onus is on the driver to stop in time! Enough instances recently of teenagers being run over to death by trains as they crossed the tracks with their headphones blaring unaware of the fact that there was a train approaching.

Then we have these people who have the habit of reading mails / SMS (texts) and even replying to them when walking / driving. Been there done that but rarely. C’mon guys it is not the end of the world if you would reply to it after 30 minutes. And if you must talk when you are driving do pull over please. I don’t pull over but am normally barking into the phone “I am driving and will call back in X minutes” That clearly informs the other side (usually my better half) to hang up.

And the smarter these smart phones get, the dumber and more addicted we get. I was a user of speed dialing feature in Nokia and in Android you do not have that by default (not in my rooted Android using Miui) Thus I got rid of the habit. Else every morning on my way to office, I would talk to people on my speed dial whether important or not. Matter of routine. Now I listen to music. (We now have an all English Channel too so no reason to talk:-)

All in all we have to understand that the high volume on the headphone is only hastening us on our road to becoming deaf – stone deaf. Life hi nahin hogi then what is point of “If music be the food of life play on”?

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.

Goodbye BPL / Loop Mobile…. Hello Airtel!

Finally after 13 long years, I decided to take the plunge today and move away from Loop Mobile (erstwhile BPL Mobile). I had this connection since 1997 and it has been a good service just that it is a stand alone circle and so when roaming it gets prohibitively expensive. Have finally opted into Airtel. Today has been the first day of Mobile Number Portability (you can now change service providers without changing your number) and 10 connections of ours have already initiated the process of porting to Airtel. Let us hope the experiment is worth it.

A new phone finally


I eventually ended up buying the Nokia E72 on Tuesday, April 7, 2010 from Bangalore. Why Bangalore? Well they have lesser VAT there and so the phones are cheaper. Also I could trade in my HTC Touch Viva or should I say I got rid of that piece of junk. Looked at the Blackberry phones too but I felt they were too delicate so opted for the E72. Besides the TCO for a Blackberry is still high and Nokia could do the work for me. A good phone and all is well so far. Hopefully it will continue that way.