This was my first speech in my Toastmasters club. It is the ice breaker speech where I try to introduce myself to the audience and discover my speaking skills.
There is something soothing about the monsoon. Scorched by the summer heat, everyone looks forward to the cool monsoon breeze. The monsoon brings with it the promise of joy, life and hope to all.
38 monsoons ago, I was born at a place called Cuttack in Odisha. I was welcomed by my grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and elder sister just as early monsoon rain is welcomed by all.
My father was in a transferrable job. After a few years at Cuttack, he was transferred and we moved along with him. I stayed in various towns where he was posted. Due to the frequent moves, I had to adapt to new friends, new schools, and new setting every couple of years.
My mother was and still is a loving, but strict disciplinarian. So, life was quite regulated. I got up every morning, had breakfast, went to school -It was routine like clockwork. But after school hours were quite interesting. When the clock struck 4, a strange feeling used to come over me. Friends would be on their way to the play ground. While going, they would call me to come out. And I could not resist that. It was like a calling from the wild. We played whatever was the flavor of the season – football, cricket or hockey. We played till our legs could no longer carry us, or we could no longer run see the ball, or somebody was badly injured and bruised. Most of the evenings, some elder from the one of the house would come looking for us and herd us back to our homes. Back at home, I had to study for 2 hours in the night. Then it was dinner time. I used to be totally exhausted by then. Legs used to pain almost daily and it was a struggle to keep the eyes open. That was the daily life! But, life was fun!
I came to Bhubaneswar to attend college. It was the 90s. India was getting liberalized. There were host of new cars, bikes, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, music systems and a wave of consumer products sweeping Indian middle class families. The atmosphere was also politically charged. Agitation against the Mandal commission was in full swing. That was the time for dreams. I sometimes dreamt about becoming an industrialist. Some other time I dreamt about becoming an activist – an idealist who would save the world! Life was a dream!
By the time I completed my studies, the dreams were shortchanged with the hard truth of reality. I had to take up a job. I joined Polaris software at Chennai. With that I became financially independent. I was learning new things, going to new places and meeting new people. But, there was absolutely no routine in life. No regular time to go to sleep, no fixed time for food. Life was a chaos! But I was enjoying it.
To mitigate my lifestyle, my parents got me married to Priyanka. It brought in some stability to life. 3 years ago, my daughter Sharanya was born. That was a life changing event for me. For the first time in my life, I felt really responsible. I realized that life is a gift and it needs to be taken care of. I actually sat and wrote down the priorities in my life. I set up goals and objectives around it. And now, I am working towards that.
So, this is my life. I see it as a work in progress. My life has been happy, regulated, fun, chaotic and stable. But it is never always the same. It keeps changing like the seasons in the year. In spite of all changes, I want to be like monsoon. Just like the monsoon which quenches the thirst of the parched earth, I would like to bring - joy, life and hope to all.