After getting freed-up from the (actuarial) exams, I had run out of things to run after and hence started running! Since that was not enough, I also joined a Toastmasters Club in Bangalore to overcome one of the most dreaded fears – stage fright. Yesterday, I took my first project – The Ice Breaker. Coincidentally, it happened to be the day after I got to know that I flunked in my last actuarial exam which was around communications. Interestingly annoying coincidence!
Anyway, the idea of the speech was to break the ice and introduce yourself to the audience. I thought of doing it in the form of a story. What follows next is the short speech with hint of humour and life lessons followed by a not-so-great delivery of the speech!
“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize.
Henry Ford and not I said this. However, I still have something to say, a story to tell!
Good evening Mr. Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and guests, I am Sumit Ramani and I am here to tell you story of a child and the lessons he learnt along the way.
Long long time ago, a child was born in the steel city of Bhilai and much before he realized he was moved to a small town called Kanker in Bastar, with his parents of course. A town so small that even Google Maps would struggle to find it.
Like any normal child he would go to school, come back, play, eat, sleep, get-up again, crib before going to the school and unwillingly go the school. This looks perfectly normal for a child. The only thing missing though was homework, which he never did. However, he did ensure to find a new excuse every day and ensured that his mom does it for him. Everyday.
This continued for a while until one fine day the mother decided to put an end to this practice. The child was punished in the school for not doing the homework. However, he learnt a life lesson – to be responsible for the thing that impacts you. And since then he has never made an excuse!
The child grew old and to everyone’s surprise turned out to be the brightest student in the class. He topped every exam for two years consecutively. While this would have made most parents proud, his were worried. The reason for their worry was the arrogance that had started creeping-in in their child’s mind. They took a difficult step. They decided to move to Bhilai, where students were apparently brighter. They were right, the students there were definitely smarter and the child never came first after that. Although he did learn to be humble for he (and for that matter no one) is the greatest on earth.
While he could never top the class, he was still amongst the best, if not best. Everyone hoped that he would make it to one of the better IITs. He couldn’t. He had missed the opportunity to grab the tag that was considered as passport to a “good life”. He did graduate as an engineer but not from an IIT. However, he did pursue actuarial science and is now a nearly qualified actuary, short of just one exam. To put things in perspective, there are about 300 qualified actuaries in India. It took him about 7 years to do that and is now leading a “better life” than most of his IITian friends. Another life lesson was learnt – there is no secret ingredient; it’s you!
While the life has taught him many lessons (and that’s story for another day), he has learnt that he lacks the skill of public speaking and here he is to break the ice!”