Monday, September 27, 2010


To begin with, I am glad that I managed to attend my contact classes, I still remember when I applied for the course I was a little worried if I will be able to allocate the time the course demanded. Looking back, I realize if you have an honest desire, the universe will help you fulfill it! Thank You.

The experience this time around was different from the last year in more than one way. Last year was more about comprehending the system in place and wondering about a new subject, this year around the admiration for subject grew on one side; on the other we had loads of fun!

As we were already attenuated to the system, it was easier to get our work done on time – a cake walk! We had plenty of time on hand, and lot of people around staying together, just translated to more fun. We spent most of the evenings together, walking around the streets of the small town. If one had to make the evening special then it had to be a temple visit! There is definitely an aura around temples that is inexplicable. It is just so wonderful to sit in a temple premise, stare into the open sky and listen to your friend talk ;) And just when you are to wind up, you realize they are distributing ‘Prasadham’, as you extend your hands to help yourself, yummy ‘Kozhukattai’ are placed onto your palms. Sure we ate loads of them, smacking our lips, to our heart’s content.

In a small town, what can keep you excited and on your toes? Food!! We conducted several experiments to make sure our taste buds were working perfectly fine ;) “Bring it on” was the only phrase uttered when we entered the restaurants! I can’t leave this space without mentioning about the Ice creams @ SVS, the stack of south Indian tiffin @ SR and the long wait @ MC to get to the Chicken legs! The biggest entertainment of the stay was our visit to the theatre to watch a movie – the excitement over entering the cinema hall and grabbing your seats first just died down as the movie progressed ;) Nevertheless a first experience to relish. Our craving for good food didn’t stop with venturing at nights; we even found a shack for lunch that served mouth watering home food – Can’t beat their fish curry – yummy!

The lessons were interesting at times, boring otherwise. We definitely did get pointers to many other sources – the best you could expect out of a few days contact program. We were provided glimpses of variant theories; I could draw parallel to Eastern psychology/philosophy - interesting bits to be explored further. The lectures in parts stimulated many thoughts and questions, reading more books and closely working with experienced professionals only would help one garner more knowledge and expertise. The course ends with appearing for theory examination mid next year but the learning will continue.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It is that time of the year - contest season @ Toastmasters

4th September 2010 - Humorous and Evaluation contests at our club - Wordsmiths Toastmasters !

I have been attending Humorous contests for the last 2 seasons, and this year i participated in the humorous contest! My participation in an Humorous contest is an achievement by itself considering the fact that i have no funny bones :)

Contests in Toastmasters always remain the same - great camaraderie and healthy competitive spirit, this year was no exception. There were 7 contestants in Humorous speech contest and 8 contestants in Evaluation contest. Before the onset of the contest, the contestants were seen grouped together sharing light moments and motivating one another.

The standards of the humorous contest was mind blowing. All the contestants were at their hilarious best, the audience had a beautiful evening laughing out loud. My experience of being at the contests affirms the fact that - "Contest brings out the best in you". The contestants varied from having 2 months to 3-4 years of Toastmaster experience, competing on par with each other.

Participation in this contest was yet another lovely experience, being my first in a Humorous contest, i had taken this as an opportunity to better certain areas of my speaking skills. I concentrated on experimenting with my body language and voice variation as i focused on being a little dramatic shedding my own imprinted style of delivery. Voila! It worked. My biggest take away from the contest was the compliments and acknowledgments i received from fellow toastmasters who did see an improvement and a change of style. Of course i did get suggestions on how i can improve further. Compliments from a veteran Toastmaster who has seen me delivery speeches from very early on made my day :) Lot of finer details had been recognized!

One suggestion that i have been receiving for a long time now is about my voice - the softness :( With this delivery i was able to bring variations when i delivered dialogues but a Toastmaster who saw me speak for the first time told me, i was soft. **Still**

A good friend of mine did a remarkable job with his delivery in the Humorous contest he was rightly bestowed the second place. Now! you have got to better this buddy ;)

The contest ended with smiles, hand shakes and hugs! Kudos to everyone who made the contest a memorable event, The contest chair, contest Masters, Judges, Role players, contestants and the audience.

Winners from Wordsmith

Humorous contest
1. Rajeev Nambiar
2. Krishnan chidambaram
3. Divya Palaniappan

Evaluation contest
1. Divya Palaniappan
2. Rajeev Nambiar
3. Krishnan chidambaram

Congratulations !!

We missed our Toastmaster friends, who are away on official assignments abroad. You were definitely on our minds!