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Q1 Spring 2014

MINDSpark The Quarterly Newsletter of the Orator’s Club, Pune

In This Edition Face-to-Face An interview with ex-Office Manager, TM Joseph Mahendran

Solecism A fresh new look at some common Grammar mistakes.

Club Round Up What? When? Where? Who? How? Need we say more?

Voices Compositions from the Toastmaster’ Club Members

I, think. Write what you think. Don’t think much on that!

Gathering Paradise Something new. Period.

Black & White An argument for the sake of a conclusion, and an argument.

The Editorial Team Editor in-Chief: Editors:

TM Ankur TM Diana TM Ravi TM Anurag TM Sushobhan TM Vikrant


The Editorial


Dear Reader, It gives me immense pleasure to dedicate this Edition of the MINDSpark to you who have so lovingly lapped up the previous edition and written such kind words to us. It is not perchance that in this time of the year, that I am reminded more often of P. B. Shelley’s lines: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” And I am mesmerized annually when my mind answers a resounding, emphatic “No!” And so, spring has come bearing gifts of a new harvest, a new crop, a new proclamation of life. And lives are not spent in monotony, solitude or introversion. We speak because it is the verification of our existence. We think, and that is verification of our humaneness. The theme of this edition is ‘Springtime’ and indeed one is allowed to spring on the pogo stick of courage and put ideas into words to string a garland of the choicest flowers of beautiful writing and create a bouquet as sweet as a meadow in spring time. While at it, do not forget to write into us or email any of our Editors who have painstakingly sifted through reams of articles and chosen those that deserve their place. Talking of Spring time, some people are as cheerful as the season itself. They have a lucid lightness about themselves, a casual, yet respectful demeanour that allows one to feel comfortable and responsible simultaneously. One such person is TM Joseph Mahendran, CC, CL, (almost) ACB whose term as the Office Manager ended this Quarter. In his six-year term at the Pune office, he taught every professional a fraternal way of living and gave every one the requisite attention. An orator par excellence he was the mentor to many an inchoate professionals and coalesced them to finally form the Orator’s Toastmaster group. His exuberance was manifested in everything he did—from the carillon sounding “Good Morning!” that was the clarion call to ’work better!’ to his sugar-coated castigations and jibes that left everyone in splits. An unsullied character and charismatic voice, he is hence remembered as the god-send who touched all souls in his unique way. As a pioneering Toastmaster in every right and the cause for genesis of the Club in the Pune office, we dedicate this Edition of MINDSPARK to him and rededicate ourselves to his values that we shall swear by every breath. We thank him forevermore. Towards the end, I dedicate this edition also to all the women in the office and beyond and end with a verse from Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi’s “Aurat (Woman),” (1956): “There is another heaven not in the arms of your man, On whose independent firmament you have to dance, Rise, my love! You have to walk alongside me. “ 3

-Ankur Mathur


President’s Message


TM Anurag Sharma, CC

Club Round Up


TM Vikrant Mehar

Face-to-Face: TM Joseph Mahendran TM Ankur Mathur

Solecism: Gramatically Speaking TM Sushobhan Dutta

Voices: Screenplay

…………………...7 …………………...9 …………………..10

TM Priya Tikhe, CC

I, think: Women’s Day 2014 A public connect column.

Voices: Yes! You Can

…………………...11 …………………...13

TM Vikrant Mehar

Black and White: Valentine’s Day TM Anurag Sharma, CC, CL and TM Ankur Mathur

Voices: Spring It On!

…………………...14 …………………...15

TM Sushobhan Dutta

Gathering Paradise: Daddy Long Legs TM Ravindernath Bathula, CC, CL 4


I sit and clap in my living room after receiving a text message from a fellow toastmaster. TM Ankur Mathur, TM Shashank Jha and TM Amit Jha had represented our club in the Area level contest in Goa and the latter two secured a podium finish! I am super excited at the prospect of seeing them in action and giving tough competition to other contestants of Area I-1 and I-2 for the Division-I level contest in our office premise on 5th April’14.

The President’s Message

These contests are so very exciting, as they display an array of colours. Energy displayed by contestants reflects red and orange; white and violet are the colours of calm contestants; friendly contestants depict green and yellow; and blue are all about that ‘cool quotient’. These colours, an array of them make one ride a wave of emotions. They were in full galore during Holi and Rang Panchami celebrations. Where boys and girls, men and women, young and old, locals and outsiders, employed and unemployed were seen with painted faces; the faces that were difficult to recognize.

-TM Anurag Sharma

Our Toastmasters club members also represent various colours. These colours are displayed in their demeanour, roles which they play, speeches which they give, roles which they take, formal evaluation which they do, informal feedback which they provide and of course through the impromptu table topics. This array of colours has got extended to this edition of our newsletter as well. How can I finish this address without thanking all the women of my family, this office, this organization and the whole world? I thank each one of you and everyone who has touched and invariably shaped my personality and my life. To quote Mark Twain, ‘What would men be without women? Scarce, sir...mighty scarce.”



UND UP -TM Vikrant Mehar

Top-up OTP & JTP (OTP: Officer’s Training Program, JTP: Judge’s Training Program) The refresher OTP & JTP was held in our office on 15th February’14 and around 20 toastmasters attended these sessions. These training programs were conducted by the Division and Area Governors. Such training is held twice a year. International evaluation Speech Contest (Club Level) It was held in BV Pune office on 27th February’14. The following toastmasters emerged as winners and will be representing our club at Goa for the Division level contest held on 29th March. 1st Place; TM Shashank Jha 2nd Place: TM Anish Thuse International Speech Contest (Club Level) It was held in BV Pune office on 5th March’14. The following toastmasters emerged as winners and will be representing our club at Goa for the Division level contest held on 29th March. 1st Place: TM Ankur Mathur 2nd Place: TM Amit Jha CL certification for TM Ravinder Nath Bathula CL i.e. Competent Leader: On successful completion of 10 projects under the “Competent Leader” manual Upcoming Events: Joint session with Toastmasters Club at Bangkok BV office on 2nd April Division Level (I Division) Contest at Pune BV office on 5th April

n Dutta a h b o h s u -TM S Thrifty (adj.):

“His upbringing to be thrifty and careful helped him when business went dull”.

Parley (n.):

"A parley is in progress and the invaders may withdraw."

Bonhomie (n.):

“The bonhomie on the field was evident even as the Indo-Pak match went underway”.

Phraseology (n.):

“The phraseology used during the International Speech Contest exhibited the maturity in the participants’ language”.

Clinch (v.t.):

“He timed his run perfectly to clinch the first spot with more than a yard between his rivals”.

Clairvoyance (n.:

“She stared at the card as if she could contact its writer by clairvoyance”.

Salubrious (adj.):

“My wife cooks salubrious meals aiming to reduce salt and sugar intake in my diet”.

Pragmatic (adj.):

“(The parliamentarian) had a pragmatic approach to politics.” 6

on. It was that good. MS: So many years travelling from one site to the other, how did you put yourself in one city, one place, office for 6 years?

As we begin the ground work for yet another edition of MINDSPARK and presumably the last one where YM Joseph Mahendran, CC, CL will participate in a direct way, I am extremely honoured and privileged to interview the Office Manager and a preeminent Toastmaster, Mr. Joseph Mahendran. A Civil Enrineer by qualification, he is many people to many people and we are always assured of a kind word whenever we approach him with our queries. So, let’s see how hw defends the questions we throw at him. MS: Good afternoon Mr. Joseph Mahendran! You’ve been here for such a long time. So, what has kept you here in Black & Veatch (BV) for so long? JM: Are you talking about Pune? Or BV in general? MS: BV in general and then of course, specifically, Pune. JM: The reason I’ve been here

for a little over twenty years now is that here, nothing is monotonous. That gives me the opportunity to learn, grow and expand the horizons. So, although it’s time for me to leave, I’ve enjoyed every bit of my stay here. MS: So for as long as you were in the Kansas City (KC) office, and then transferred to the Pune office, (sic) are you hinting that the challenges there weren’t as gigantic as that of setting up a brand new office? JM: (laughingly) Man! I think you’re trying to put words in my mouth. No, no! That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, I’ve been travelling and out of the 20 years in the firm, I’ve been on site for the largest amount of time. And to answer your question, this certainly wasn’t less challenging of a job but I’d not done this before. It was planned that I’d stay for a shorter period. But after the first year, I loved it so much that I stayed


JM: Excellent! If you recall previously we were in a different location. We moved here about an year and a half ago. So you see, it wasn’t really one place and one space! In fact, it has always been a give and take thing. I don’t know much they learnt from me, but I sure did learn a lot from them. That’s what’s kept me going. MS: You must’ve started your journey with some aims and objectives. How far have you been able to accomplish them? JM: Fantastic! In terms of developing an office and running it, I think we’ve been successful. There is the infrastructure ready. In terms of developing manpower, I did come here with one objective and that is, to push the guys into areas where they’ve never been before. So the answer to whether I’ve achieved this aim will come from the people working here and not me. MS: In short, what were the three concentrated aims that you set out and how far would put numbers to them in terms of achievements? JM: First of all, larger assignments to make this an execu-

attended 7 sessions on becomtion office is what I wanted it to ing a TM. Initially I was not conbe. The second part was to vinced that this programme therefore create the manpower would work. Little did I know associated with this—general that it’d be so captivating. I was and specific—and the third part hooked right in two speeches. was to make the people here The feedback that you'd get believe in themselves. They was very generous and genuwere self-believing although ine. I finished my CC in less they needed a push. Within one than an year. And the very next week of me taking charge, I year, I was elected President of thought these guys are far more the Group. The healthy excapable than what they were changes among the 25 memgive credit for. We were also bers conable to achieve the jump from being a production This newsletter is an tributed immenseoffice to an execution audiobook! ly. As far office. Anand Pattani, Brahmendra Thakur, Listen to the entire as fluency lanNageshwar Rao helped talk with TM Joseph of guage is in getting us moving on Mahendran @ conthat front. They were instrumental to a large Y:\Toastmaster's_Club cerned, it comes degree in we getting our from beown jobs and executing ing a TM. Most of think that it’s them. The only thing is that we public speaking. I think we tend haven’t got projects coming as to become a little more listenfast as we can finish them. ing intently. We become very MS: Okay! So now is the time critical listeners by being when I ask you what you about Toastmasters. It has helped not what you’d do next. So what is just me but several other s cope tit hat you'd take up after this? with being put on the spot. That I have learnt from being TM. JM: Frankly, there are a umber of areas that I could get into. I would want to get into Business Development. But the geography will be decided in the next 4 months. However, KC might have other plans. So, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. MS: Now let’s jump into the more Toastmasters type questions. I understand you’ve been a member for a very long time. So how seriously did you take TM seriously? JM: I took all my speeches seriously. Before I took this on, I

MS: Now that you’ve become a competent speaker, and its evident in the Open Houses we have, have you always had this loquacious a nature? I used to participate in school debates and competitions. I enjoyed the attention and the feedback—not as comments, per se, but more in terms of people enjoying what you say. The best about it is when you say something bad, you get instant feedback from their reactions. You’re then able to ad8

just what you want to say effortlessly. This ability has come to me from TM. MS: You’ve been a part in the US and now in India. How open have you found Indians against the Americans in terms of feedback? JM: I find that the group here is more vicious than the guys back there. Although, TM is American, it ahs a lot to do with international flavor. Here there are some people who’ll go after you if you’ve done something wrong. Similarly, there are people stand with you when you do things right. So when I go there, I’ll apply things there and see what responses they have. MS: Has there ever been a speech when people have lambasted you? JM: I’d not say, no! There was once a speech which was poor by my standards and because I am the Office Manager here, people didn’t speak up! That as a little difficult for me to digest. However, when Leena was my EA, she never held anything back. She came back and gave me a earful: “How in the world could you say such things?” So, there you go! MS: What was the one topic you enjoyed speaking he most about? JM: Find out what JM said and listen to the entire talk on the address on page #7.

-TM Sushobhan Dutta

Avoid these Office bloopers: People of science couldn't care less about why the 'e' should go two places ahead and how that makes any difference but sometimes you better not ignore it. So when someone in a meeting request mentions – “I will be a couple of hours late, please bare with me”, do not get scared. He/she is actually asking you to “bear” with him/her for his/her negligence. In this case also bear with his/her ignorance.


Again, “please be presented to our office” does not mean someone wants you to be wrapped up nicely in a box and presented but simply be present at the office at the designated time. More harmless ones like “do a sanitation check” instead of “do a sanity check” may go unnoticed in our conversations. Grammar site of the quarter: Look up the ‘Build your vocabulary’ section for some fun learning quizzes! Learning by doing: Point out the mistakes in the following:


ANSWERS: 1. “Linguists” instead of “linguist’s” 2. “…with just colored paper…” instead of “ …in just...” 3. “drunk” instead of “drank” and “eaten” instead of “ate” 4. “read” instead of “readed” 5. “Wishing well” is right as it is used as a noun but the other one means “Wishing you well” instead of “Wishing good”

-TM Priya Tikhe Fade in/Exterior Scene 1 It’s 9 pm at night. Not much traffic on the road. We see car/ rickshaw/bike passing by the road. There’s a bus stop across the street. No one is at the bus stop. Bus comes into the frame. Bus stops for a few seconds. After the bus goes out of the frame we see Mahesh walking on the street slowly. Mahesh is 49 years old with greyish pepper hair at the sides. He is fair, wears glasses. He is of medium build wearing formals. A laptop bag is hanging by his shoulder. He is carrying a trophy like something in his hands. Scene 2 A glass window of a showroom. We see a car through the glass. Mahesh comes into the frame. He is viewing through the glass. He is looking at the car. Scene 3/Interior Inside the showroom - A Female sale representative (FSR) is briefing a customer about a car. The customer sits in the car and starts feeling the interiors of the car. Scene 4/Exterior Mahesh is watching the FSR briefing the customer. He sees them talking for a while and then goes away. Scene 5/Interior Inside the flat - It is a 1BHK flat

with modest furniture (TV, sofa, chair, tea table). On one wall we see a portrait of Mahesh’s wife with a garland on it. Door opens from outside. Mahesh enters. He closes the door. He keeps his bag on the chair. He keeps the trophy on the table. Trophy reads “On successful completion of 25 years of service at JM Inc“. He sits on a the sofa. He sees answering machine attached to the landline blinking. He presses the button. Scene 6/Interior Mahesh opens the fridge. The fridge is empty. He sees two eggs. He cracks the eggs and transfers into a vessel. He stirs it. He cuts an onion. Mahesh pours the egg on the hot pan. While he is doing all these activities we hear the messages on the answering machine First Message “Baba, Kab se phone kar raha hoon. Mobile band kyun hai. Phirse charge Karna bhool gaye hoge. Accha, jaane do, meri GRE preparation ki fee bharni hai 30 tarik tak. 40000 ka DD bhej dena. Mai details sms karta hoon. OK bye.” Second Message Arre Mahesh, I checked your IT Returns and we need to do a lot of work on that and it looks difficult. You have a home loan and above that 10Lakhs Education loan! Looks very challenging. What yaar? Please call me and we’ll talk in detail.

Third message “Bhaiyya, Revati bol rahi hoon. I have good news for you. Tushar has got his admission in medicine (sic). I need to arrange for money to pay for his admission and do not have that much with me. I wanted to check with you about selling our Panvel plot, only if you agree and feel like doing so!” Mahesh is having food when Revati’s message plays. His eyes lit up when he hears the message. He stops eating and listens to it carefully. Scene 7/Interior Mahesh is sitting in the bedroom on the bed. There is a desk beside the bed. On the desk we see a Mahesh’s family photograph (his wife and son along with him). He is browsing through newspaper. He comes to a page where we see an advertisement: “Europe tour in Rs.1,49,999 14 days/night” Mahesh looks at the ad for a while and then leans back on the bed looking at the ceiling. Scene 8 Mahesh gets up picks up the cell phone. Searches through his contacts. Clicks on Revati. And as he is about to press the call button, he hears FSR’s voice. Mahesh is baffled FSR: Congrats!!!...

10 Need to know what happens next? Read the entire script of The Capsule at Y:\Toastmaster's_Club

I, think. A public connect initiative of the club.

What change has women

Is there always a woman

brought to your lives?

behind successful men? Is Success o nly the priv ilege of men can’t we sta ? Why rt thinking in our minds th women can at be successfu l too if they support fro have m men. Is ‘s acrifice’ only for women? meant Women mu st be encou to participa raged te in the ma in roles inst supporting ead of role for mak ing both of successful. th em Many times women pre be in their c fe r to omfort zone . Encourage en to provid wome equal/mo re contributi make them on to successful. Sandeep Jo shi

ht many Initially, my girlfriend broug to be my d positives in my life. She use me to cheerleader and encouraged But later chase my goals and dreams. I had t she started complaining tha e selfish. changed totally and becom dreams and That I was only chasing my her. In didn't have enough time for brought in short, no changes have been my life. Indrajeet Nikam

Women’s zed that roAfter marriage I reali e. After marmance is not all in lif gedy, horror, riage, life is full of tra My wife made suspense, irony, etc. death, if you go me realize that after ce and if to heaven you feel ni el like you go to hell you fe home. Pratik Mehta


Yes! Becau se the main reason is: man is born into this wo rld from a mother only . She is the o nly who takes care, puts in effo rt s, along with love— from those in itial 9 months un til her last b re a th. Mothers are gen uinely com m itt ed to her child. Pankaj Pag


The sta temen t is nice for sur to hear e, but I am wo why I h nderin ave ne g ver hea woman r d a say tha t about Still, I h men? ear me n say a time th ll the at ther e is wo hind th man be em. Indraje et Nika m 11

Choose your rebirth avatar: man or woman?

be a womI’m very happy to n an opan today and if give like see the portunity I would being other side of life by born as a man . TM Priya Tikhe, CC

Epitome of love , purity and bea uty, who else, On the contrar but women! y, Men are stro n g but harsh, pun egoistic. After ishing and a while, the st rength in a man those women dwindles, but starting with yo ur mother, wif tinue to shower e and sister co you with all th neir warmth, un with that unbro diminished love ken spirit. Her mental strengt her virtues of h manifests as patience and to lerance. A wom expiry or need en ’s love has no to take retirem ent. Though as when inside th babies we kick eir wombs and thereafter ever she can relega ywhere, only te the sufferin g and look forw with those man ar d to continue y unwearied sa crifices to exper in living a life u ience the bliss nderstood only by women and ways had this not man. I alstrange belief in re-birth and never wavered my sixth sense on this idea th at all men will women and al be re-born as l women as men . Maybe it a nat act. Now do I h ure’s balancin ave choice? g TM Ravindern ath Bathula, C C, C L

Why a single Woman’s Day?

If mom’s/wife’s cooking is best, why restaurants?

ce makes a MAN It’s said that “practi out women?! I feel perfect” but what ab ct. They are God’s they are born perfe tically we celebrate best creations. Prac l in India as a tribute every other festiva ctness of the alto the feminine perfe e a single day is suffi mighty deity. Henc for blessing this cient to thank god creation. world with His best

For me people w ho cook great fo od are artists of the high est calibre. They please all your senses— sight, smell, touc h and taste. And my m other surely is a gifted artist. But, you ca nnot truly apprec iate the beauty of a verdant valley fil le d with beautifully colo ured flowers un til you have seen barren land. Similarly to remind myself that my mother cook s the best food I need to eat something she hasn’t cooked.

Heramb mayadeo

rough the There are many days th er’s, fayear like friendship, lov there be a ther’s, etc. Why can’t mother? special day for a special to show One day is not enough me. But how much you mean to e my gratithis one day, I use to giv one day tude and love. It is the takes a back when everything else first. In one seat and mom comes word she is Goddess. TM Saritha Siripireddy

is I do not buy into th “a concept of having day”. If we have to ve a then we need to ha ’s is week at least, that for the time required tice. people to take no Prasad Jamkhindi



Atmaram Joshi

I wish we asked the men - A day in a year or a month or a week (like wom en’s day/ birthdays/annive rsary, etc.), the son/husband making the best food for his mother/wife? Why go to a restaurant? TM Priya Tikhe, CC

YES! YOU CAN TM Vikrant Mehar

Imagine yourself competing against an opponent better than you more favored than you. You are already a game down. You know you are better prepared you always were. Standing in there against an intimidating opponent and equally hostile crowd circumventing you, looking in their eyes you close yours. Retrospecting the events in your life, that made you who you are. Rejuvenated and determined, you open your eyes, take a deep breath and with all the will power you are ready to embrace the fiercely heartless and ferociously powerful opponent. What happens next depends on what you chose to live with, back in the day. Ladies and gentlemen, is it so difficult to stand up every time we fall or rather giving up is too easy? There’s only one thing that can reinforce you against the winds of failure and that is the will, the hunger that yes you can do it, now and every time. When I was in 2nd grade I came across a phrase, “God help those who help themselves.” I was dazzled, intrigued and said to myself, “Why do God need to help those who can take care of themselves and neglecting those who can’t.” Lost to such an extent in this thought that one day my friend said to me, “Get a life bro!” “Who to and not to help is none of your business.” But then my curiosity was insatiable.

Once while playing at my friend’s place I saw something scribbled on his wall. I took a closer look and saw these 4 words, “I CAN, I WILL.” I asked my friend about it to which he said, “This happened to be my brother’s study room. He wanted to be a doctor but was pathetic at studies. So one day he wrote this on the wall. Whenever he was low on confidence and would find it difficult to focus anymore, he use to look up to these words, “I CAN, I WILL” and would go back to studying. Such was his perseverance that sometimes he studied for 18 long hours a day. He is a surgeon now!” At that very moment, the significance of that phrase got crystal clear. The Almighty helps those who are willing to give 100% or more than that. Justified, I would say. Luck is when 1000 things fall in a place but you need to get those 999 pieces of hard work & tireless doings and then HE will place the final keystone completing the jigsaw. If you say situations maketh a man, than I would argue that even in bad circumstances if a person can take out time to eat, pray, love then he/she can certainly devote some time to self development. You need to awaken that urge, that quest in you, that “Yes I can” do it now & every time. The world out there is mean & nasty. It’s gonna hit you to your knees & keep you there permanently if you let it. You will be 13

nobody. It gonna hit as hard as life. It ain’t about how hard you get hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. Deep down you’ll find a voice, “Yes you can” propelling you against all odds. Now if you know what’s your worth then go out and get what’s your worth. But you gotta be worth to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t what you want to be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you, you are better than that. Friends and my dear optimists believe in yourself. It’s the single most important thing believing in which made some plebian people – Megastars. Be yourself at all times. To be yourself in a world that constantly tries to make you something else, is an accomplishment. Now with all the hard work done go back, competing against the fiercely heartless & ferociously powerful opponent. Finish the game. Whatever the result maybe, you know you have spoken the truth. And that truth is that you did everything you could, there wasn’t one more thing you could have done. Can you live in that moment as best as you can with clear eyes & love in your heart? With joy in heart…? If you can do that, than ladies & gentlemen, “Yes you have done it!”

BLACK & WHITE Q. Should there be Valentine’s Day? FOR

-TM Diana Davis

Valentine’s Day was initiated because of St. Valentine, who was imprisoned for solemnizing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering persecuted Christians. St. Valentine died on 14th February on Via Flaminia in Rome and thus the day began. St. Valentine’s Day is also called Feast day. Basically Valentine’s Day has a religious significance. During his imprisonment, he healed Julia the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Valentine day is all about sharing and confessing your love and affection towards the one you wish to see smile. It’s completely wrong to have this day only for couples. Actually, this day is for everyone who loves someone. May that person be his/her mother, father, sister or brother... and out of many Biblical quotes that the religious Valentine took along were: I Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over multitude of sins” Mark 12:31 “the second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as thyself’. There is no commandment greater than this.” It’s a special day celebrated to say to your loved ones a “Happy Valentine’s Day” or “I love you” or to show how much you matter to them by saying “I care for you”. Valentine’s Day is a day of hope. It’s just like a drop of water to a dying relationship to know how it started and what is it that that keeps it together. Many political people try and ban this day by protesting, saying that this day is an English festival, something that should not be supported by a traditional country like India. But what is the point here? Should we not celebrate it because it comes from outside? Or are we too adamant to change? I am sure that even an anti-Valentine day person will be happy to hear “I love you” from his loved one on any other day of the year or may be on this day too. The irony is, this three worded sentence is making him happy too. Perhaps after that, he will start favouring Valentine’s Day. If this is the case, then it’s a behavioural issue and not a celebration issue. It’s all about what you think. If you think negative you will see negative and vice a versa. One who commits suicide for not having a beloved on that specific day is like a school student who dies for losing his medical admission by half a mark. This doesn’t stop the merit rating in entrance exams neither will the true lovers stop saying “I love you!” If spreading love is crime and then one should first try and stop the real crime and corruption that is happening in and around us. At last I would like to say that the unfortunate consequences of Valentine’s Day among the teens and youngsters occur due to poor knowledge and the exaggeration of this day and none other than us can spread the true sense of what St. Valentine did – a sense of bringing the loved ones together.

-TM Ankur Mathur AGAINST A day full of love can be celebrated in more contexts than one. In the pursuit of categorizing everything to make sense of it, man has tried to compartmentalize abstract ideas—like love. Love cannot be confined into one second, minute, hour or day. So February 14th , like any other day, cannot claim to be the day of love. Rather funnily, the full volume of love that one ahs cannot be rendered in one day alone. This contradicts the idea of having a single day of love. Yet, one sees February 14th being just as anticipated as 15th August or other national festivals. And it’s not even a holiday! So, I wondered why then, has socio-cultural selection not eliminated this already. Why is it that it has survived for so long? Who needs a Valentine’s Day? Harrod’s, a famous store in London, claims to sell ‘everything under the Sun’. So, when they were challenged to sell ‘love’ by a priest, they accepted the challenge and made the Greeting Card. But that’s a myth. However, not entirely unimaginable. The revolution in consumer products, including teddy bears— frightful and irritants,. The top of the list are the most impersonal greeting cards that have cheeky and platitudinous messages written on them. They reek of repetition and lack originality. Another huge industry that lobbies for Valentine’s Day is the telecommunications industry. Deals on phone calling rates and text messages reduce the opportunity cost to avail them. The increasing demand contributes to huge revenue despite lower prices. Seen from a macroeconomic perspective,, Valentine’s Day has become a way to loot the customers and sap the love out of market economy. A third and most compelling argument comes form the people themselves—those thoroughly in love deny the need for one day when people rush to chocolate stores and jewelry shops to buy their wallets out and max credit cards. They are indifferent to the day in particular because love , mentioned is not the work of a ‘day’. It is the struggle of a lifetime that yields fruits only to the most dedicated. What it takes to love is really nothing that can be associated with Valentine’s Day now. The Feast of a certain St. Valentine in Italy must’ve definitely been a solemn occasion for all to remember his humanitarian and selfless work. But largely thanks to unethical market economies, making money has become first nature for most of them. In embracing this culture we act no better than out primate cousins who perform tasks just to ‘fit in’ a group. Science has proved that even for them, it’s ‘love in first sight’, not on a particular date. With love... 14 Don’t agree with what is written? Then worry not! Write into us at or

Spring It On! I am not sure if the “spring-inour-stride” comment originated through the luxury that the spring weather affords along with the associated healthy energies. But most of us will agree that compared to the hot summer or chilly winter or the boring rainy season, this is the time to go out and enjoy. The spring months used to be around February, March and April just around the exam months in India. The exams, rather the final exams (I doubt, even the ‘final’ tag as, to this day, I have not seen the exams coming to an end!) used to end in March and then we used to go for a one month long summer vacation. Now, while writing this speech, I realize that the education guys realised the benefits of spring and it’s onset far back and wrapped up the exams just in time for us to enjoy the lovely weather. In fact, now, as they see the weather playing up (the summer heat starts bearing down even before the end of February. Well, that’s what I have been seeing in most of the places I have stayed in India) and summer setting in early, they are even contemplating having the exams further ahead in January. I remember in my college days,

TM Sushobhan Dutta

when the power went off, I used to go to the terrace, take off my shirt, roll it into a pillow and lie there in the shade of the coconut trees till the power was back (only a few hours that is J). The temperate weather used to trigger a strange thought in me. Who might have decided upon or planned this scheme of alternating harsh and temperate climes just the same way our body craves rest after a period of stress. Was it deliberate? Thus we keep repeating these cycles of rest and invigoration, living handsomely for some sixty odd years at the least. If spring was not there, who knows, our average life expectancy might have exponentially gone down. It’s surprising that spring matches most of our body’s needs so perfectly. So, if you want to enjoy your springs for years to come, you better think when you are waiting at the traffic signal with that engine running. You better think before buying that land for a park in the vicinity and have a multi-storeyed building constructed on it just for the sake of investment. All those clever investment plans better have some thoughts of your spring days invested in them too otherwise those stocks may take a beating in the near future. Use water a little more wisely. Apply recycling to the best of your ability. Get rain water harvesting in your house. 15

While you are playing with colours do not forget to encourage the natural ones so that you do not end up messing up the ground water. Stop buying those plastic items indiscriminately. Stop being a little more greedy, put a reasonable amount of thought to your needs. Remember these so that you and your future generations will enjoy the spring for centuries to come. Most of my life, I lived in a hustling and bustling metropolitan city where there is hardly any space for people to dwell, let alone have lush green parks, tree lined avenues, etc. to make you realise the essence of spring. These cities are already showing signs of what is to come. Even the rains and hailstorms in Maharashtra a few days back or the flash floods in Uttarakhand - if you were wondering who to blame for taking spring from your kitty so early in the year, blame it on the minutes you left the ignition on while waiting for the lights to turn green and so many ‘minor’ mistakes you made to mess up the environment around you. We need to work hard to continue having “spring” in our stride. Otherwise it’s only the hot summers, the chilly winters and the boring rains.


-TM Ravindernath Bathula

Unlike me, my son has an uncanny interest in reading literature. Though annoyingly, I have to admit that he has had better schooling than I did due to which he has developed a knack for picking good scholastic reads and classics which also happen to be appreciated by learned men and women alike.


good, and describes a weekend at Aside from this personal jourher friend’s home, where she sees a ney of discovery, and lively, adorable mother and father and family life for voice of Judy that can’t help but make the first time, and marvels at it. you fall in love with her from the very first page, there is also the fasciHer discovery of the world, nating account of Judy’s time at coland desire to learn and discover and lege in the early 20th century, and educate herself are just so beautiful, how much she relished the opporand unlike anything I’ve read before. tunity to study full time. The descripHer lack of a conventional upbringtion of her comfortable dorm room, ing and ignorance of things like famiall ‘brown and yellow’, the coffee ly vacations meant just how many of parties, formal meals, skating trips the ordinary life experiences Judy and hours spent in longs to have experienced. Judy the library all misses the fact that she has no family sounded wonderand longs for parents very keenly. ful, and gave a real Despite the lightheartedness of this insight into what book, it is very touching. college life was Judy stops to take notice of the like for women in things most people have learnt to America at that take for granted by her age, and this time.

After he is done, usually in a few days, the books are tossed my way and I happen to come in possession of his copy, usually torn and mutilated. I always get flustered to read second-hand for the ones I pay first hand. I opened the dusty, dirty dog eared pages of this copy of Daddy Long Legs, and started reading. I was instantly enchanted by the character of Judy, whose personality comes leaping off the pages. I appreciated delight in everything she sees, and why my son did not part with this thankfulness for everything, no matbook, until and after he was done. ter how small, make her both beautiDaddy Long Legs is an episto- fully childlike, and wonderfully optilary novel, formed of letters from mistic. Despite her often loveless and Judy Abbott, an orphan who grew up difficult childhood, she has managed in a children’s home, to her benefac- to grow as a generous, warm, has a tor, a trustee of the children’s home, big heart that loves passionately and who has anonymously given her the rejoices in the world that has dealt funds to go to college once she turns her a pretty hard hand. She frequent18. The only glimpse of this trustee ly says that she has nothing to be Judy has had was his long, thin shad- sorry about, and everything to be ow as he left the orphanage, and so thankful for, and this determination she decides to affectionately name not to dwell on what she doesn’t him ‘Daddy Long Legs’ in her letters. have, but to be happy about what she Judy has no family to write to, so she does have, is a lesson I am sure many tells Daddy Long Legs every detail of of us could do with learning again her new life at college. Intelligent, through the eyes of Judy. Judy can’t enquiring, and terribly naïve due to change the fact that she has no famiher lack of education and exposure ly, so she doesn’t pity herself. Into family life, Judy’s observations, stead, she works on creating a surroemotions and ambitions are often gate family of her own, and her deinnocently hilarious, and incredibly sire to love others in the way she was heart-warming. She asks Daddy Long never loved herself sees her making Legs if he had ever heard of Hamlet, many friends throughout her time at 16 because she has found it to be very college, and falling in love.

Judy wants to be a writer, and she is given plenty of encouragement by her teachers, and her benefactor, to do so, which is quite rare to come across in a book of this period, and something that I think would really inspire many young readers. Judy has a dream, and she works hard to make it happen, while also enjoying her life to the utmost and being grateful for every day. She has a wonderful character, and by the end of her letters, she has grown into a sparkling, vivacious young woman who is ready to take the world by storm. Judy’s discovery of the joys of life, and her lack of bitterness despite her often harsh childhood experiences, will open your eyes to the beauty of the world around you, and make you more thankful for the simple things you take for granted in life.

P T J P/


Members attended the OTP/JTP held in the BV premises on 15th February.

Member Talk

Greetings! The best and the most useful way in which TMs helped me is writing this article! The biggest obstacle in putting forward any idea is the lack of proper communication and contrarily

good oratory skills encourage you to communicate more. TM has helped me in enhancing my soft skills by inculcating the essence of English language.

Result of which … From writing an email to ordering a pizza, I’ve done it all with panache. All thanks to Toastmasters!

It was my first week in September 2009, when Bhooma pulled me to my first ever TM meeting. I was tricked to join, naïve and obligated I responded ‘sure’ while wanting to say a big ‘No, Thank you’. Repenting and regretting, I parted with the enormous fee. I decided to quit on the first opportunity but the thought of non-refundable fee kept me going. My ice breaker speech was a disaster and my speech evaluator tore into me ruthlessly, totally destroying my confidence. I started to hate TM and became more skeptical, but I thought it’s wise to just be present and enjoy the butchering of fellow TMs. Not to be, I was always given a role, forced to participate. It was like dying a hundred deaths and was ‘terrifying’. Yes, every TM moment has been a torture, but wow, behold, today, I agree it was worth that entire trauma. With CC & CL feathers firmly

embedded in my cap, I am emboldened to keep looking for opportunities to participate, mentor others if I could. I will always be indebted to the many faces for criticizing, encouraging, supporting my journey through years which in turn helped me rub shoulders with all-time greats. Thank you TM International.

-TM Ravindernath Bathula, CC, CL

-TM Vikrant Mehar 17

For internal circulation within Black & Veatch only. For membership contact: TM Milind Sabardande, VP-Membership Photo credits: 1. 2. 3. 5. http:// sarahlon don. files. wordpress. com/2014/02/valentines-heart.jpg 6. http://img. wallpapergang. com/ 164 processed/free%20hd%20valentines%20day%20love%20wallpapers.jpg 7. 8.



Quarterly Newsletter of the Orator's Club, Black&Veatch, Pune

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