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My P6 Speech at Toastmasters – Projects from the Incompetent Husband’s manual

Woman Shouting with Bullhorn --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Woman Shouting with Bullhorn — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The aims for this speech project ie P6 are to use your voice to complement your message by enhancing your:

  • pace
  • pitch
  • power and
  • pauses.

Your voice is the best tool in your delivery toolbox. You must learn to use it effectively to enhance your presentation.

Also just for the information of the uninitiated, at Toastmasters, we have 2 manuals to start with the Competent Communicator Manual and the Competent Leadership Manual. The speech title was a take off on those manuals.

God created the earth and rested. He created man and rested. But ever since He created woman, neither He nor man have rested.

Toastmaster of the Day, Fellow Toastmasters and guests, like with all married men, my wife too has a laundry list of my shortcomings. But I will sound you on the pitfalls of married life after joining Toastmasters.

Fast forward 20 years of marriage. The year 2013 is when I meet someone by the name of Suneel Agarwal and we hit it off. I enter BTM with him as a guest and become a member. The icebreaker is delivered on January 25, 2014 – How can I forget that day? The only meeting attended by her Highness, Pauravi Kamdar. She is all smiles in the room and so I think I have a platform that meets her approval. As we get into the car, I ask her “What do you make of it?”

“Ice breaker? It’s a head breaker. Looks like a clan of people who have nothing better to do but stand there and talk to each other. You think I will waste my time at this Loudspeaker?”

Kavya interjects “Mom it is Toastmasters and not Loudspeaker”

“Kavya, you keep out of this. They all mean the same. You stand there and talk or you go to Shivaji Park and cry yourself hoarse – no one cares. Atleast not me.”

Gradually, we start having trainings, Leadership Conclaves, contests on Sundays in one remooooooote corner of the world, Thaaaaane.

“You said it was alternate Saturdays. Now you have started going on Sundays too. I am glad you go cycling on Sundays even if you return home and snore away till 5 in the evening. Now this? You say you will return by 4 and knowing you, will sleep till 7. Why do I get a feeling that you have washed your hands off teaching Kavya? If her grades suffer, I am going to shut off this loudspeaker. And leave aside Kavya, what about me? You just ignore me and I will not take it lying down. I have forgotten what a movie hall looks like ever since you have joined this Loudspeaker.”

“Honey, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is being released this week. When would you like to go watch it?” White flag waved.

On Valentine’s Day this year, I find other ways of romancing – I am preparing for my P5. As usual, Kavya is my timer and my wife, the eternal Arnab Goswami

“You want her to sit with you and listen to your Loudspeaker? When is she going to study? In all these years have you ever thought of me? This morning, our neighbour comes over and flaunts the beautiful necklace her husband gave her. And me? I don’t even have a rose to show her.”

“But darling, I am taking you out for a nice dinner tonight.”

“Nice Dinner – my foot. You are taking me for the Club night at Matunga Gymkhana and I jolly well know it is a free event for members and their kids. You think I am so naive?”

I let the argument blow over.

With a spring in my step, I return home “Kavya, I was adjudged the best speaker”

“Yay” High fives, hugs and kisses follow while a pair of roving eyes is staring at me as I feign ignorance. The lights go off and the floodgates open like the swollen Bhakra Nangal dam, “Why is it that all your speeches revolve around Kavya, your sister, your parents? Don’t I exist in your life?”

“Sorry Honey. I promise my next speech will be all about you and only you.” My P6 topic is decided.

The level of a Toastmasters commitment reaches a new peak with Oration2015. Meeting Suneel and Atul is a given over weekends. Foodies that we are, whether we work or not, binge we will. One evening on opening the door –

“Don’t they have a wife and family? Every Saturday you have something planned with them. Is this a loudspeaker or a loud eater? Have you bothered to look at yourself in the mirror lately? The bulge is worse than before?” Before I can digest the barrage, I hear “Tomorrow you will take Kavya and me out for a nice dinner.”

Thank God, we’ve smoked the peace pipe.

To all the unmarried Toastmasters out there, never try to understand your wife. No man ever has, no man ever will.

To all the married ones, I fully sympathise with you. It is a herculean task for us to come here braving the wife at home. The rains, traffic, table topics, grammarian’s role – all pale in comparison.

To the ladies out there, have mercy on us men. We are running out of white flags but still will wave whatever is left of them ALWAYS. That is a Toastmasters commitment.

And yes…. I ended up being voted as the Best Speaker of the Day too:-)

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Powerful dialogue from The Amazing Spiderman 2

The_Amazing_Spiderman_2_posterI haven’t watched the movie but someone sent me a mail on what he took away from the movie. And believe me I was floored too. Very very profound. According to the mail I received, one of the characters after graduation made this speech:

“I know that we all think we’re immortal, we’re supposed to feel that way, we’re graduating. The future is and should be bright, but, like our brief four years in high school, what makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever, what makes it precious is that it ends. I know that now more than ever. And I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short, what better way is there to live?”

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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – An Inspiring Movie

Bhaag_Milkha_BhaagYesterday watched Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, film based on Milkha Singh also known as the “Flying Sikh”. He bought India to the forefront of the games by winning gold medals in running including setting a new world record.

The film is worth watching and is inspiring honestly as to how he overcomes obstacles and works single-mindedly focussed on achieving his goal of beating the record. Hats off Farhan Akhtar for a brilliant performance. The way he has worked on his body, shows how much effort he has put in to justify his selection as Milkha Singh. The movie was a visual treat especially the different hues used when he is romancing Sonam Kapoor. Hats off to the cinematographer too for the way in which he has used the yellow and red colours in those sequences.

Of the cast, yes Farhan was awesome no doubt but Divya Dutta as Milkha’s sister was brilliant. Some of her on-screen moments were moving. Amazing character she portrayed and carried it off very well. Pavan Malhotra and Yograj Singh as Milkha’s coaches were brilliant as well. Hats off. Just realised that Yograj Singh is the former cricketer and father of Yuvraj Singh. Of course, that doesn’t change anything for me. Good to see Prakash Raj as the Army man of Milkha. For a change he wasn’t doing his stock villain roles but he brings in his comic timing.

Now what I did not like about the movie

  • The length. It was just too lengthy.
  • Needless romance. I mean Sonam Kapoor was wasted and there was honestly no need to add to all the songs and tender moments (that would have deprived me of the brilliant cinematography not withstanding). Then comes his romance with the Australian girl and the party song – again wasted. The film, you feel, loses its grip during such moments.
  • The blood and gore shown about the partition. Well the reality will not change but then why depict so much of the violence? Especially towards the end when he goes to his home. I surely would not have liked to expose Kavya and my nephews to so much violence which they were subjected to.
  • The needless hoopla over India Pakistan sporting events. Could have been a lot more subdued. Mainstream cinema gives a signal in such ways that what we supporters do currently in cricket or hockey is justifiable and is inherited.

But all in all I would definitely watch it once just for the inspiration one derives from it.

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Worth watching ….. Kai po che….

Kai_PocheYesterday watched Kai Po che on TV ….. a movie that I had missed when it was released. Heard a lot of things about it, mostly good and sometimes bad but I watched it with an open mind yesterday. I must admit, I liked the movie. Very well made and best part of it was it wasn’t the exaggerated-ly long melodrama. Real crisp and tight. Set in Gujarat so the language was fun to understand too:-) A story of three friends set in the backdrop of the Gujarat Earthquake on January 26, 2001 and then the infamous Godhra riots a year later. How relationships changed, how they understood each other albeit later on, how the religious fabric ripped and was mended….. All in all watch it. Fresh new faces as actors though the lead Sushant Singh is seen on TV, I believe. He had the best role and performed it with great gusto. Don’t miss this movie. You won’t regret it.

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Mr. India – A cult favourite


As I write this post, Mr. India plays on Zee Cinema. What a classic movie it was in its times. I have never been a Sridevi fan save and except for something like a Sadma which was an out-and-out Kamal Hassan movie but I’ll give the devil his (her) due. In the recent times, her English Vinglish was good too. Mr. India was another of her classics. Anil Kapoor as the invisible Mr. India was good but no one can forget Amrish Puri and his ultimate dialog – Mogambo khush hua in that inimitable style of his …. The dialog continues to reign even today. The movie has some child artistes who are now present day strugglers / wannabes too. Music is good especially when Kishore Kumar sings – who can forget “Kaate nahin kat te yeh din yeh raat” which he sang with Alisha Chinai. That medley from Bollywood all for a football was a great combination ….. (Reminds me of the Antakshari song in Maine Pyaar Kiya). Sridevi in that Chaplinesque enacting of the casino raid….. All in all brought back many sweet memories of the movie. Enjoying it.

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Shagird – An unheard of movie but worth a watch

Shagird_filmFinished watching Shagird this morning. (Comes often on Zee Cinema HD for those wanting to see it and I had recorded it from there). A good movie. Honestly very off beat and unheard of but I liked the plot and the way in which the whole story was presented. Nana Patekar is awesome and the new man, Mohit was also quite good in the role. Just browsed through Wikipedia and found that the movie was directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. Small wonder then that he had me gripped on to the story line. A fast paced action packed movie which shows the unholy nexus between politicians and police men which may not be completely untrue. Tried to look up reviews but did not find any one trustworthy (Rajeev Masand – I trust, others could be saleable commodities) Watch it for the story line and the twists and turns. You won’t regret it.

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Thattathin Marayathu – A Malayalam movie


The fringe benefits of traveling by Rajdhani Express to Delhi is that you get to relax completely and that is the prime reason I travel by Rajdhani instead of those flights. This time I had decided that I would not work on my emails / laptop but would either sleep or watch movies. As part of that, I watched the second Malayalam movie in my life – Thattathin Marayathu. The first one was Spirit starring the iconic Mohanlal. Both were recommended by my friend, Ashish so thanks to him, I c0uld watch something different. Bollywood these days is songs and dance and 6 packs and action only. South Indian movies seem more grounded and connected to the earth unlike the over the top Bollywood at least that is what I could gather from the few Tamil and Malayalam movies I have watched. Yes, it is a pain tracking the subtitles without much focus on the expressions or such but still not bad. Coming back to this movie, it was a simple Hindu Muslim love story but well narrated. Leading roles from Nivin Pauly and Isha Talwar. Isha is a very pretty lady and could make an impact in Bollywood but well that is another story. Watch it just for the simplicity of the narration and of course Isha Talwar.

PS: The second movie I watched was the satirical The Dictator starring Sacha Baron Cohen. Nonsensical but fun. All in all slept and watched movies too:-)