My CC#2 speech at Madhapur Toastmasters

This was my second speech at Madhapur Toastmasters. I was nervous, yes but this speech was the most crucial one because first time success can be a fluke, but a second time success makes it permanent.

I’d like to start by briefly talking about the movie Groundhog Day. The protagonist in the Groundhog Day wakes up on the same day over and over again. He meets the same people, has similar conversations with them and visits the same places everyday, until he starts experimenting with his various options of living that one day differently.

Good morning, sir toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and dear guests,

Have you ever felt like living the same kind of life over and over again? Sometimes living the routine life may make us feel that life is moving in a circle, and nothing significant or substantial is happening. To break the monotonicity, a person may plan an outing once in a while, travel during vacations, maybe start a new hobby, revisit an old hobby or take up interesting projects to work on, thereby meeting new people as well. One seeks change from the routine and to experience something different probably because change can stimulate and refresh oneself.

Change is basically a transition from one state to another. The transition may be drastic, like an accident, or a planned one, like moving to a new place. The transition may lead to disastrous consequences, for example, changes in weather patterns leading to low agricultural productivity, or may be a blessing, like accepting a failure for once and turning it into your next victory! Changes as trivial as buying something or getting a new look can uplift your mood whereas the anticipation of change itself, for example, making a big career decision can keep a person anxious for days!

If you observe, there are many changes in our daily lives that follow a certain pattern. They can be either linear, for example, growth of a living being, or circular, for example, change in seasons, day changing to night and vice versa etc.

A change, especially a new one generally marks the beginning of something, hence that first instance most of the times becomes a memorable experience, like the first day at college, driving for the first time, or perhaps giving the ice-breaker speech at the toastmasters. These beginning steps, be it a good or bad experience, that may take life in a new direction remains in our mind for a very long time. Applying the same logic, a change may also mark the end of something, for example graduation, retirement or just the end of a phase in life.

They say, "If you don't change, you can become extinct". The good news is that we all do change, whether we want it or not, whether we realize it or not, the bad news is that the change can be hard if one doesn’t accept it and learn to embrace it. Survival of the fittest theory shows that the species to have survived were not those with superior genes but ones which could adapt to the changes. Dinosaurs became extinct but cockroaches still survive. We humans have come a long way through evolution, survived and now dominate other species only because of our superior intelligence that allow us to cope with changes, and make some changes around us as well. While other species in the presence of external changes like drastic climatic change, habitat or food scarcity may generally die out or they may simply migrate to a new place, we generally can cope with the unforeseen changes even by staying at the same place, and perhaps eventually thriving as well. Ironically, the intelligence that makes us capable of making changes around us and helps us cope with changes also makes us vulnerable to the effects of those changes at various levels, particularly the emotional level. The important thing to remember here is that change may make us feel vulnerable but that experience can teach us new ways of life.

Living a routine life can in fact be good. Working on a routine can make a person more efficient and outcomes more predictable. It makes simpler to deal with any day to day life problems and issues. But maybe it’s something in our mind that can’t stand this routine life and demands for a change once in a while.

Sometimes, we just don’t want anything to change in life because it feels so perfect. But that’s the thing about change, when its time, it happens. It enters into our lives and eventually becomes a part of it. We then try to rearrange our life, make changes in oneself, to get closer to the perfect life we dream to live. Thus, almost all self-planned changes are due to some imperfection, some dissatisfaction with some aspect of oneself or one’s life. It is when we feel satisfied, achieve that feeling of euphoria that we stop making changes in that aspect of life and savor it for as long as it lasts.

The process of change is a never ending loop. Change happens, and then we make that change a part of our life, or it just becomes a part of our life so that it doesn't seem like change anymore, then another change happens. Sometimes we have to create changes in one's life to keep things interesting, and sometimes we have to live the routine life to get things done. But no matter how the situation is, the 'change' is what makes memories, and eventually one settles down with the change and many aspects of life become like the Groundhog Day again!

Unfortunately I forgot the speech few times in between, hence forgot to speak the second last stanza. But overall the speech went fine.

Bhuda man (Old man)

I was breathing in the cool summer evening air and mildly panting as I saw my friends play around and under the swing, and the seeker among them trying to catch others by touching them once. I generally got tired before others did, so I took some time to recuperate and enjoyed the twilight. I stared towards the New Officer's Colony as the light slowly faded into darkness. Suddenly I heard what I thought was the end of their game but ignored it for the time being. My friend and next block neighbor patted me on my shoulder and spoke in my ear, "Do you know about Bhuda man?"
"Bhuda man!"
"Yeah, rumor has it that Bhuda man visits this children park just before it gets dark and puts all the kids he can find in his big bag and takes them with him."
"Yeah, right!" But I already had this image of an old energetic man with long untidy white hair and badly wrinkled face, long nose, long fingers with long nails and a bag where he stuffs any and every kid he finds.
My friend looked at me with a serious and concerned expression, then suddenly started running towards the colony, leaving a trail of his voice behind that said, "Hurry before the Bhuda man finds us."
'Damn' I told myself and ran after him.
'I wonder why I listen to him' I thought, panting heavily while on the road of the colony, as my friend walked into the block of his house. I turned back and looked at the children park, deserted and slowly being covered in darkness, but I couldn't see any Bhuda man. Perhaps for a second there I wished I could see the Bhuda man for once.
'Maybe I listen to him because he's taller than I am.' I concluded and with hasty pace walked back to my house.