Toastmasters Speech 2 : Organize your speech

Art of Parenting
There was once a mother who had a school going son. One day the son came back from school and showed a beautiful pencil. The mother asked, “From where did you get this?”
The child replied “Someone had dropped this in the school, I picked it up”
Mother kept quiet. After few days it again happened that he brought home something belonging to someone. The mother again did not say anything. This saga continued in high school, even when in college. One day it was money, next day it was a cell phone. Mother did not bother much though she realized it was not the correct thing to do. Once he was caught while stealing something and taken to police station. When his mother was informed, she rushed to the police station. She was in rage. She gave him a hard slap on the face. The son kept quiet. After few seconds he replied, “I wish you had given me this slap when I brought that pencil home when I was 6 years.”

Fellow Toastmasters and dear guests, Parenting is very challenging responsibility. More challenging in these times when the adage Spare the rod and spoil the child is a cliché and no more relevant. Parenting styles vary from culture to culture and time to time but there are a few principles which remain the same. I have learnt these principles of art of parenting from my children which I am going to share with you today.

When Nikhil, my older son started going to school, he would return from school in the afternoon and go to his room and start playing. I used to get very bugged, I wanted him to come to me, tell me about his school the way all children do but he would simply not talk. One day I asked him, “When you come from school you don’t talk at all, why you don’t tell me what happened in your school. All your friends come home and tell lots of things to their mothers but you don’t”
His simple answer was ‘You can also talk’. I was taken aback listening from 6 years old. His innocent face when he said this is still in front of my eyes.
That was the first lesson I got, I realized why can’t I talk why am I waiting for him to start. My child could be different from other children, why I have to expect the same behavior from him as other children.
All children are different; every child is not an achiever. We should not forget that we as a parent are also not perfect so why hanker after perfection. Every child gives a different experience.

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.

The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them how to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.

Teach your child to take his own decisions in life and be responsible for it. Movie 3 idiots had lot of take aways for parents as well as children. Let them carve their own path in life, we be only the mentor and navigator and not the path finder. We should not impose our decisions on them. We as parents should expose them to multifarious faculties so that they broaden their vision and deepen their roots.
Every child comes to this planet with certain tendencies and basics which cannot be changed. Encourage them to dream but let’s not give them false hopes.

In spite of lecturing them day in and day out there was a time when my children were not very docile and I will have to repeat everything at least three times before they listen. Once I told the younger one, ‘when daddy tells you something you listen immediately where as I keep shouting at you the entire day and no one is bothered.” He replied, “When daddy threatens us with some punishment, he means it but you keep saying but don’t do it so we are not scared of you, we know you only give hollow threats.”
Your child will teach you how you need to discipline him.
That was the time when I had to discipline myself first. Disciplining is a value which is as much required in childhood as much as in adulthood. If you were not disciplined as a child, you cannot be disciplined when an adult and you will have a hard time organizing yourself in life. Discipline is like a fixed deposit; you pay now and reap the benefits through out life. Discipline is not an antithesis to freedom. In fact only a disciplined mind can be free. I have understood this with my 27 years experience in parenting that disciplining does not come with preaching.

If I have to raise my child all over again
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.

We need to practice first and then preach. Walk the talk at home. Children hate sermons. They believe more in action. You cannot say I can do this because I am a parent and you cannot do this because you are a child. You can’t preach “exercise daily, get up and go for jog where as you are happily sleeping.
Good or bad, whatever parents do, children end up adopting many of those habits unconsciously.

My mother had been a working woman all her life. When sweets were distributed in her department on some occasions, she used to bring her share of sweet, divide into three and give to us. It was not we could not afford it but she used to say, I know you like sweets so I didn’t feel like eating without sharing with you. We three sisters used to criticize her ‘why can’t women think about themselves, it is always husband and children.’
Twenty years later when I am a mother and a working woman, I have kept a small box in my desk. Whenever we have a celebration and office boy comes and puts a piece of sweet in front of me, I quietly put in my box and take it home for my two boys to eat. I always think of my mother when I do this.
I realize how children copy parents when they grow up even if they don’t like a part of their behaviour.
If I have to raise my child all over again
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I saw some eyes blinking in disbelief when I mentioned that I have 27 years of parenting experience. Yes, you got it right, it is 27 yrs. My older son is 16 years and my younger one is 11. Raising each child is a different experience.

Childhood comes only once, the parenthood also comes only once. Responsible parenting is the best gift you can give to your child. Right parenting determines what your child be in adulthood. Parenting is a great responsibility and we should do whatever best we can to make our children responsible citizens.

Mysteries of Parenting

‘I am going to give a speech on Arts of Parenting in my Toastmasters club meeting,’ I announced to kids when I reached home.

The house is literally upside down when I reach home in the evening. Literally and not virtually. Kids jumping all over, music full blast, school bags thrown in the living room, smelly socks on sofa, the younger one still in uniform so and so forth. The moment they see me they hurriedly start picking up things running here and there like piglets run on seeing a big cat around.

Coming back to my speech on art of parenting, my two brats have given me creamy rich experience on how to tame the kids.
‘I will start with the lyrics… Give me Some sunshine , give me some rain, give me another chance , I wanna grow up once again,’ I said loudly to grab their attention. None of them was paying any attention to what I was saying.

‘But I am not going to sing the song, I will only speak the lyrics,’ I declared on seeing a bewildered expression on their faces when I grabbed the elder one; the younger one slipped out of my hands.
‘There are various ways to train the children, you see. You need to discipline them, you need to listen to them, pampering is as important as disciplining, don’t give hollow threats, practice and don’t preach, be a friend ….’

None of them was interested in listening to my expert opinion on how to tame the unruly lot.

‘Mom, I have a suggestion.’
I was proud that I have groomed my kids in such a way that even 11 yrs old can give suggestions on better parenting. ‘End it with another version of song that you are crooning. Give me another chance I want to become a better parent once again; mouthing this he sprinted to his room.

‘How creative! That’s the perfect way to end your speech,’ said my sweet sixteen.

Never mind the feedback from children. After all they are only small children; I have still decided to go with my fistful speech on Mysteries (read Art) of Parenting on 12th Aug

Mysore Blues

Mysore may offer a great weather, minimal pollution, no traffic jams, excellent quality of life. Surprisingly it has been declared the second cleanest city in India though what I see everywhere is filth. Spot a street, a gali , a road, a corner which is not littered with filth and garbage. If Mysore is the cleanest then how about the rest? Heritage city, 2nd cleanest city.. tags are good for its image but it definitely lacks in terms of quality of education that it offers though websites boast of twelve colleges for undergradation, four for Engineering etc etc but the reality is different.

After SSLC there is not much of choice. KV and DMS are the only schools which offer CBSE. KV offers only PCMB and PCME, if you are keen on doing Commerce then go to DMS but DMS is strictly not for those who are not fluent in Kannada. Your child will be a frustrated lot by the end of first semester. The only known college for PUC is Sadvidya where the fees charged is as per the paying capacity of parents and not the merit of the candidate. But if you don’t get it here, then where?

Mahajana was once a revered college of Mysore and known for its excellent faculty but like everything else, things have changed here too. A friend whose son goes to Mahajana college says, ‘let your child sit at home and study privately but don’t send him to Mahajana. Neither anyone there is interested in teaching nor is anyone studying.’

A dog’s Day in

Today is his 3rd B’day , don’t know which present to take.

Hubby suggested Toys

What will he do with the toys?

‘Story books’ , came another suggestion

‘Have you gone nuts?, he will chew them and shred into bits and pieces.’

‘Something to eat?’

May be, sometime you do talk sense.

‘But pedigree costs Rs 400/ , I gave a box of building blocks on Neesa’s son’s b’day last month and that cost me Rs 200/. For her child’s b’day a gift worth 200 and for her dog’s b’day worth 400.’ Even if one adores dogs and is an animal activist still this doesn’t sound logical.

‘What to do, quickly suggest something’, I prompted hubby

‘Take half the packet of pedigree which will be worth only 200’, his brilliant idea did not seep in

What will we do with the rest of the pedigree? We don’t even have a dog, who will eat that? You? , I was out of my nerves now

I dig in to the closet to look for any unused things which a dog might want to possess

‘But how will anyone know what a dog likes? Did her dog tell you?’ Hubby had a point

I found one ball which was not new but was almost new

Today, Carrot, the b’day dog was not tied outside in the veranda unlike the other days. After all today is his b’day and he can’t be tied in one corner on this day

The guests invited to the party were treated with cake, chips, sandwiches, coke. Carrot roamed around freely unleashed in all the rooms sniffing from one object to another and from one guest to another. After all every Dog has his day.

Alien on one’s own soil

Even after 15 years I get a shock … I get a cultural shock after visiting north. Every time I come back from Punjab I get a cultural shock. I am not so shocked when I return from Europe but north to south is a cultural shock even after so many years. It is not about which is good or which is bad. It is also not about the aggression, flamboyancy or the lack of it. It is about the difference. More shocking is why one should feel like an alien in one’s own country. I am sure people don’t feel the same when they relocate or visit east to west coast in US.

Even if you know the language, eat the same food still India’s cultural diversity is unwelcoming. A north Indian feels as much alienated in South as a south Indian in Punjab. Even after fifty trips from north to south to and fro in past fifteen years I am unable to find out why? Why everything feels so strange? We all take pride in our language, culture but perhaps we also take pride in being closed cultures

Wake Up Sid

Karan Johar must have run out of ideas on how to show extravagant display of emotional family drama, high end glamour, designer houses , exotic foreign locations, pretty faces, jazzy clothes , foot tapping music , climax , lot of noise halla gulla so he thought of making something entirely different something which audience especially young generation can effortlessly correlate.

While watching the movie, I must have at pinched my 15 yrs old son least six times ‘ see Sid is like you’ Filthy messy littered room , eating only junk, shouting at mom and later regretting it , not a worry about future, taking life as it comes. ‘We don’t know what will happen in future but let us enjoy our present to the core’.

After intermission he changed his seat.

The movie is very refreshing , fun to watch, ; for a change it is cool to watch low budget, non fiction, down to earth movie RK did an awesome job. For sure, he is a face to watch for in future. Konkana Sen too was very good and was just apt for the non glamorous image of the character. I wonder how Kareena Kapoor / Preity Jinta / Ash would have looked in this role!

What Next?

I know all about him what he eats… what time does he sleep… which book is he reading these days… his weekend plans… grade his kid got in mid term exam and even gift he gifted his wife but I haven’t met him for the past six years may be seven. Guess who is he to me! Can’t guess. Ok one clue. He is my friend. Confused! Na he is not my friend, he is my facebook friend.

What is it in facebook that is not there in real flesh and blood people? He has 500 facebook friends with whom he loves to share all irrelevant updates of his life.

‘I make it a point to visit facebook at least once a day to keep in touch with all in one shot’ says he in one of his sweet tweets.

Besides seeing him only once in person seven years ago I have seen him only on facebook,. when I first met him on facebook he looked very different from the real self may be some people look different in pictures or may be he had changed. Thanks to his new digital camera gifted to him by his brother (he updates all his irrelevant details), I see him in different moods. serene, bustling, naughty. 100 % sure, firstly I will not recognize him if I see him in real life again because I am so used to seeing him on facebook. Secondly he is not as handsome as he looks on facebook.

He and one of his real life friends who lives in the same city….

‘Real life friend: ‘hey lets meet sometime’
Facebook friend: ‘too much of work, very busy, let’s catch up on facebook’

Facebook and twitter are the trendiest way to keep in touch with people. You are old fashioned if you are not on facebook , no matter how many good friends you have in real life, number of friends on your facebook account and followers on twitter are metaphor of your popularity and amicability. I just crossed 50 facebook friends last week since I opened my facebook account eight months ago.

Old adage: You are judged by the kind of friends your have
New adage: You are judged by the number of facebook friends you have.

First came emails , then e messages , e cards, e shopping and now e friends , what next?.

Khan Kaun

‘You do not know who SRK is, then you know nothing about India and Indian culture …what a waste!!’

The long term effects of this episode are only positive. The first direct benefit from this episode is it has given spice hungry media some juicy news, and public to think life beyond SWINE. The second benefit is MNIK is a must watch now even by those who are not SRK’s die hard fans. The 3rd – now SRK is famous in US too. Sure this news must have made small or big headlines in US too.

Why such a halla gulla about SRK being detained and questioned at airport in USA? Americans are capable of questioning even Obama if need be.

If there is one thing that India can learn (though we don’t believe in learning either by our own misfortunes or thro others’ experiences, we only believe in giving sermons!) from this episode: spare no one when it comes to the security of your motherland. That will be the perfect way to do tit for tat instead of detaining Angelina Jolie as suggested by madam minister.

‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ only bounces back on us when we open our doors, hearts to anyone stepping foot on Indian soil, water without checking their complete credentials.

Budget for whom?

by karthik kumar
The idea of India is very urban. The idea of progress is very urban. The idea of government is very urban. The idea of civil society is very urban. Most of the cities in our country fall in the penumbra of urban consciousness.

When we think of people who live in these cities, we see them through the eyes of a government that has the same empathy that the British rulers felt for the urban populace. They are them, they are not us. That is why tribal villages in India evoke thoughts about insurgency more than they do about development. That is why silently, the patches of ungovernable areas within the country are growing while we are making our cities gated communities.

For one, the annual budget exercise of a Central or a State Government meant nothing to people. It came and went; in the few educated homes the passing item of interest was the excise duty on consumable — from cigarettes to cement and, later on, it was the personal income tax slab. Decades after, the middle-class mental poverty has expanded just as government receipts, spends and deficits have.

India needs change at the level of her soul.

The people who are in charge of the budget, those who go spend the money and the rest of us who fill our stomachs with it until the next year, need to believe that the country outside the cities needs to be included. That they are us.

Before you think I am a cynic, I must tell you that my staple diet is HOPE. Because, outside the cities, even today, there is no sewage system. And drinking water does not come out of a tap.

Every policymaker in India, every bureaucrat, every businessman must read a book titled Paraja — this is a novel by Jnanpith winner Gopinath Mohanty. Fortunately, an English translation by Bikram Das is available today. It is the story of a tribal from Koraput, Orissa, whose life is in the clutches of petty government officials, moneylenders and the police. The story is set in the early days of post-independent India. Decades after, his lot has not changed. Only his innocence has been lost.

On that note, goodbye until the next budget.