Monday, May 17, 2010

Icebreaker Speech @ Toastmasters

Mother Teresa once said "Life is an opportunity, benefit from it".

Dear Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests,

Life is indeed an opportunity gifted to us by God. In another 5 minutes time, you will get to know, how I made the most of it.

I was born and brought in Supaul, a non-descript remote place in North Bihar. I come from a very humble background, all of my relatives except my father were uneducated farmers. When I descended on earth, my family was in a state of struggle financially, because my father didn't had a job. But soon after my arrival, he got one in state government. People took it as a message from God and instantly I was their lucky-mascot. Unaware of all this attention bestowed upon, I grew up quietly in my village.

I didn't had any schooling till standard V. Whatever I learned during that period, I owe it to my mother. While my father was busy settling into his government office, she was the one, who taught me everything, be it science, maths or english(whatever little she knew). She wanted to see me become a Bada Aadmi, make her proud and be a role-model for the entire village.

When I finally got a chance to join middle-school at standard VI, I noticed that class-rooms didn't look as fancy as it used to appear in books. There were no benches, no desks. All we had was this huge-room without any roof and all of us would be sitting on floor doing our bit, while the sole-teacher in the school was busy multiplexing across different classes. I used to carry a plastic cement-bag-cover every day to school. It used to serve two purposes, it was meant for sitting inside class-room and at the same time, in absence of an umbrella, it also used to serve as a rain-coat during rainy seasons !! But I never complained about this nor the fact that I had to walk 2 kilometres every day to the school. In fact I made the most of it, being a topper throughout my school.

After finishing schools, I got into a +2 college in the same-place. After two not-so-eventful years, I had finished +2 as well. Now I didn't know what to do, nor did my parents. Most of my relatives suggested preparation for clerical-jobs, but I had this friend of mine, who knew all along that I was meant for bigger things in my life. He suggested me to go to Patna and prepare for IIT entrace exams. That's was the first time, I heard this word IIT and I got terribly excited@ the prospect of being an engineer, I had no idea about IITs, but I somehow wanted to do it !!

That's how I reached Patna, the first time, I went outside my district on a train !! Life in Patna was not easy, I had to do everything on my own,be it cooking, washing clothes, cleaning utensils. But I knew there is no gain without pain. So I just gave IIT my best-shot and to everyone's(including myself) amazement, I had cracked it with a three-digit rank. Here again, I had made the most of my meager resources !!

I opted for Computer science in IIT Kharagpur, even though I hadn't even touched a computer till then. In fact, I was so ignorant of computers that on being asked "What would you do, if you have internet an your hostel-room", my answer was I will download a CD-Writer and a CPU, as they are very expensive !!

When I went there and saw convent-educated english-medium students all over, I knew I was in for a hard-time. I was nothing but a frog, who had just came out of its well and will quickly be found wanting. And that's exactly what happened. Despite my best efforts, I languished at the bottom in my class. Before I could realize, I was into my 4th year and placement season was ON. Even though I was lacking horribly in communication skills, I knew I was not too bad technically, so I was quietly confident. So when God gave me a chance, I made the most of it and got placed into Cognizant Systems.

My first job took me to Chennai and believe it or not, this was the best thing that happened to me. I started talking fluently in English, something I had not done all my life. No body in my circle knew Hindi and it was a blessing in disguise. I knew this was my last chance to learn English and improve upon my communication-skills and that's what I did !! I made the most of my short-stay in Chennai and I got into Oracle with my newly acquired skills.

Not everybody is born with a silver-spoon. God is not an idiot, he consistently creates these wonderful characters, who come out of nowhere and make a lasting impression on our minds, not for months not for days, not for weeks but for years and generations along.

From somebody who gave his lab-vivas in Hindi to someone, who is now speaking in front of a software audience; From somebody who couldn't distinguish between hardware and software@ age of 18 , to someone who is a star performer in a Fortune 100 software company, I surely have come a long way. Yes, I made the most of my life. With that note, Friends, I would call it a day and like you to introspect, whether you have made the most of this opportunity, that is life. Thank You.

PS: This speech fetched be Best Prepared Speaker in yesterday's toastmaster session :)

1 comment:

vichu said...

Nice Speech. Congrats!!!