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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Liquid Sunshine

The wind was blowing
The clouds were slowing
The sun was glowing
My thoughts were flowing

With a glass to share
living without a care
with my back to the sun
watching others having fun

My heart was sad
thinking of life I had
glad to be among such friends
there for you till the ends

And then it was that it rained
The wallowing feeling within me drained
The mind which till now was strained
My soul uplifted after long being chained

The drops like pellets of sunshine
warming me up, leaving me calm and fine
The stage beckoned me to come
I got high without whisky or rum

the adrenaline rushed through me
I put one step in front of the other
Arms opened wide in glee
I danced in the rain and shuddered

With no concept of time and space
I moved to rhythm and to pace
forgetting all my whims and whines
just enjoying the liquid sunshine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Briefcase

Chennai Speakers Forum
CC Project 8
The Brief Case
Props: 1) A briefcase 2)Poker Chips 3) Dice 4) Cards 5) Dealer puck

[Walk towards the stage with a briefcase in hand.]

Ladies and Gentlemen , Today I would like to introduce to you a personality like no other. A personality whom we all intimately want to know. A personality who means different things to different people.

A personality about whom thousands of books have been written, millions of articles published, scholars for centuries have tried to write a complete biography but failed, the personality who has many children including Fate, Hope, Desire and  Greed. Today we will meet the personality and his 4 kids as well.

I present to you the Briefcase of LIFE.[Opens up the case to show the contents 2,3,4,5]

Think of this briefcase as yourself. Think of the contents inside. There are 4 types of contents here

[Displays the 4 contents conspicuously to the audience and arrange them on the table in a row.]

You have all the children of Life within you. Each one of us has them within us.

Fate – Show the cards
Hope – Show the dice
Greed – show the Chips
Desire – Show the dealer PUCK

It’s how we nurture each of them that fill up our life. The games of life are the games we all play.

[Pick up the cards] This is the game of Fate. Life deals you a hand;[give one card to the front row audience] you have to play that hand. You do not have an option. Sometimes it is good hand, sometimes it’s a bad hand. Sometimes it brings happiness, sometimes it brings sadness, but the trick here friends is not to give up. Play the game, play against Fate because you can be sure that one day Fate would be defeated. As someone once said “A man’s character is his Fate”. Change your character. You will change your Fate.

[Pick up the dice] This is the game of Hope. [Role the dice on the floor along the aisle]. In life, you role the dice of action, and hope for the desired outcome. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, sometimes you miss by one turn, and sometimes you cannot hope to win. But still.. Hope lives. Hope that the next turn will bring you the results u wanted. His actions i.e the results are called the Re-actions .  Control your reactions and you will control Hope.

[Show the Poker Chips] Another mischievous child of Life is called Greed. For him everything is less. Nothing is enough. We keep on building our life on greed [build a chip stack], sometimes so high that it eventually falls on itself [make the chip stack fall].  You have more chances of winning a game with Greed when you know when to quit and when to move on. Control the chip stack. You control Greed.

The last and the final game of Life is called “Desire” [Pull out the puck]. There is no way to win against Desire. Because you see, he never plays. He just watches the fun from afar. He gives a puck to someone[throw it to someone in the audience], and watches others envy him, hate him, befriend him ONLY to get that PUCK. The desire to get that PUCK. In that desire to achieve the puck, we close all our senses to logic and focus on the PUCK. As soon as you have done that, you have lost.  Avoid Desire and you are better off.

So now, having met the kids, I shall introduce to you the personality.. Life itself. 

Life is humble, gentle and caring.

In fact the word defines itself. LIFE. Look Inside For Everything.[Close the briefcase].

In words of Mother Teresa,
 “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.” 

I am going to do that. Are you?
 [Walk back]

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lingua Franca

Chennai Speakers Forum
CC # 7
Lingua Franca
Do you know whats the difference between the words “I am” and the words “I do”?
Well.. the first is the shortest sentence in the English Language and the other is the longest sentence of our lives.

How many of you think that there is a difference between the English and the French language? The grammar between the English and the French Language?

Toastmasters,  we all are here , speaking a common language, creating history and giving birth to leaders, but have you for an instance, paused to reflect on why we use English as our language? Do you know the history of English? Would you like to join me in the quest to know more about English? [Expecting a yes/no]

Come .. Then let us join English in his home for a quite chat.[Move from one end of the stage to another].
3 generations of the family were living in a bustling city centre, a market place where people of all nationality were interacting.  The Father, his Son and his 2 grandsons .

I went to the Grandfather and asked him.” Grandpa, please tell us about your life.”  The old man smiled feebly and said “My child, I am more than 1500 yrs old and almost extinct from the real world. I was born when Britain was invaded by several tribes like the Angles and the Saxons. The Angles came from a land called Englaland and the language they spoke was Englisc. That is the root word from which words England and my name English has been derived. My parents were speakers of these tribes and with their marriage I was born.  Growing up, I was influenced greatly by a man called Latin. Almost half of my knowledge has been taught to me by him. No one knows me nowadays but my grandsons are very famous and widely known.”

His son, Middle English then took over [Move to centre stage] and said “My dad then married my Mom, a French lady who had come to Britain when French invaded England some 900 yrs ago. She was a member of the royal court where French was exclusively spoken. As a result of it, I became proficient in both languages. Most of my knowledge has deep roots in both my father and my mother. I frequently use the words envelope, bon voyage, cafĂ© and so many more. I taught the great poet Chaucer- who is considered now as the father of English Literature”

The elder of the two grandsons Early Modern English came forward. He looked familiar and seemed to talk pretty much as I did. He added on to what his father had said. [move to other side of the stage]
“At the time I was born the British had just started their world conquests. That was more than 400 yrs ago. This bought them in contact with a wide variety of people. My mother was one such lady. I signed up for the British Navy and enhanced my knowledge with the languages of the other civilizations. During my time standardization of English came into effect. Grammar was perfected, spellings were corrected. The language of London was made the Language of English. That’s when my younger brother was born.”
 [come back to centre stage]

Surprise of Surprise, I saw my own Teacher standing right there. Professor, this is your family? I never knew. It’s an honour to meet your family Sir!!

The professor laughed  at me and said. “Rohit, the only difference between my brother and me are the words we know. I don’t want to brag about it, I do know more words than him!!!. Words for things the he didn’t have a word for. Like Yogi, Bangle, Chutney,Guru etc from Indian Origin”

“So now Rohit, do you think you know just 1 language” , he asked. I smiled up at him and said “ No sir, I know all the languages of the world, including English” J

Toastmasters, the English Language is a living , breathing, growing language. It was born out of a union of languages and keeps on growing by fusing with many other languages. There is nothing called as Pure English Language. Has that been the case, we would not have had so many revisions on the Oxford Dictionary.

There are more than 2 billion people speaking this language all over the world and more than 400 million people are native English speakers.

There are over 2,700 languages all over the world, but only if you know English would you be able to understand over 75% of all email communications, 50% of all scientific journals and 80% of all information stored on a computer.

English is slowly becoming the Lingua Franca i.e the bridge language or the connecting language all over the world and is our link with the rest of mankind. There are more than 500,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, but, how many of them do you know?