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About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our organization has more than 352,000 memberships. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 16,400 clubs in 141 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.

Club Mission

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

CONTENTS President's address

MTM Seema Mundhra







TM Nataraj T.







MTM Ayesha Naseem







TM Balakrishnan Nambiar






MTM Raham Sithara







TM Jamal Mohammad







400th meeting celebrations







Executive Committee










LAGOON TOASTMASTERS CLUB Meetings every alternate Monday at Rayan Hotel, Sharjah


I was restless. I was relentlessly thinking hard. What

I desire the club members to empower

should be my message for the Club Newsletter? My

themselves, specially our new members. If you have any

fingers were aimlessly playing with the laptop keyboard.

concerns, any suggestions or any new ideas for the

All of a sudden this quote flashed on the screen, 'Setting

meetings—speak out, don’t be hesitant. If you have any

goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the

difficulty in expressing in the meeting, send me an e-

visible.' Simultaneously a light flashed in my mind. Give a

mail with your concerns. We will definitely come out

man a bow and an arrow and tell him to, “SHOOT!” and

with an answer. I want to involve our entire membership

his first response would be, “At what?” When there is

in our decisions and club activities.

no target there is no purpose for shooting. .

This first quarter of term had been power packed and

Fellow Toastmasters, have you set your toastmaster

inspirational with numerous activities and awards—

goals for this year?

Installation of New Officers, New Members Induction,

We the army of officers, the seven colors of the

full attendance at district level first Club Officers

rainbow are all geared up to help you in achieving your

Training, DTM award presentation to Jessie D’Souza,

goals. Goals are important because they give direction

Smedley Award and Lead and Win Award earned by the

and focus. They encourage us in attending the meetings

club. The highlight of the term had been the Milestone

regularly. Every meeting you learn something new. Don’t

Meeting Celebration-15 years of completion of Lagoon

say “NO”, come to the meetings, take up various roles.

Club since its inception in 2002 along with our 400th

Communication is vital, whatever job you have.

meeting. The Toastmasters of Lagoon and the guests enjoyed a wonderful evening and celebrated the success

There has been a lot of activity in membership during

and the milestone meeting of Lagoon. My heart was

the last few months. I extend a warm welcome to all the

filled with pride and I rejoiced each and every moment

new members. New members mean new ideas and new

of that mesmerizing meeting.

speeches, which make meetings more innovative, enjoyable and different, away from the routine. Recently

Together we will enjoy this delightful journey of

we had, “Comedy Evening Live” and a Table Topic

Toastmasters and also work together to make 2017-

session that injected creativity and laughter throughout

2018 a grand success.

the meeting. One of our primary goals is to achieve and retain the President’s Distinguished Club status again this year. To do so, you members have to set your goals to complete your CC's, CL's and DTM's. Lagoon Club is proud to have DTM Jessie D’Souza. She successfully earned this highest Toastmasters award with her perseverance, grit and determination to reach her goal. You too can become better than where you are right now. Let’s have many more of such meetings. I am eager and enthusiastic to get each and every member involved in the club. Members are the heart of the club.







"Do something adventurous once in a while that should

SAGA – is an important destination which is located

stop your heartbeat for a second."

14,000 ft above the sea level and the oxygen level

Where was this voice coming from?

there is very low and if we managed to stay in Saga for two days then we could pass the high altitude test.

Fellow toastmasters, this was my inner voice challenging

At Saga, I had my first heart-stopping moment, I was

me to take off on an adventure of a lifetime.

running a very high temperature, I couldn’t breathe, walk

In the year 2012, destiny gave me an opportunity to

or talk. My roommate immediately got me hot water

experience an adventurous journey where each step of

and medicines. I said to myself, "I can’t continue, let me

the way was so chancy that the odds of reaching your

give up and go back, I have to see my family."

destination hung by the thread of a rope.

But my inner voice said again” Do something

Before I share my experience let me introduce this

adventurous in your lifetime”.

beautiful place located in a remote corner of western Tibet, 18,000 ft above the sea level with an average

Luckily, I got up fresh in the morning. On the 9th day of

temperature of -10 degree Celsius; Kailash and

our journey, we reached the long-awaited place, Lake


Manasarovar - the highest freshwater lake in the world. This place was breathtaking, so exquisite that I thought I

My preparation started 8 months back, with rising

was in heaven. At night, the place is stunning. We could

before the sun, daily meditations, breathing exercises

see many stars, as though they were some sort of

and long walks to make myself stronger.

glittering lights moving from the sky and merging the

On 11th August 2012 when the whole of UAE was


preparing for Iftar, the first leg of my journey began- to Nepal. From Kathmandu, the itinerary was Jamnu which is

But who knew, that in this holy place, a second heart-

Tibet Border, Saga, and Pariyang. We stayed in each

stopping moment was waiting to welcome me.

place for two days for acclimatization before finally reaching Manasasarovar.


Next day morning at 5 am, we all walked towards the lake to perform rituals to take dips, I felt uneasy and my eyes went blurry, I started shouting, "I can’t see anything! I’m feeling giddy!", I started panting and then fainted. Within a second, I was in Sharjah with my family, enjoying a Masala dosa. I heard in the background, "Hey! Call a doctor, someone has fainted!" I said, "who is this making noise and interrupting me from enjoying my dosa?", I heard a louder voice, "Doctor come fast, he is unconscious!" I said, "let me see what’s happening." I opened my eyes, and I could see the dark clouds, I was in Manasarovar again! Later I took a dip in the holy water, and we continued our journey to the Kailash. After Trekking for 7 hours we reached the north face of Kailash and the next day we trekked another 2 hours to get closer to Kailash. Mount Kailash, standing at 22,000 above Sea level, a peak in the Himalayas. When you look at this mountain for the first time, no reaction, except tears of happiness and fulfillment. Wow! We made it! This place is gloriously beautiful with snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, green meadows, blue sky, silver clouds playing hide N seek with the sun. And it seemed like they were in their own world and speaking their own language, and they said, "we are immortal". And in that moment, I bowed my head with respect and realized that every day, every hour, every second on this planet is a gift. Time is counting down Toastmasters, so follow your heart and intuition, and do what you've always wanted to do and make tomorrow better than today. Doing something adventures once in a while is beautiful and visiting place like Kailash proves that. I heard my inner voice and did something adventurous. Now your turn awaits. 5


For the first time since birth, I was going away from

Now, back to the ritual. I did talk to my parents, siblings

home, alone. It would be a long while before I would

and even the extended family. They were busy with a

see my family again.

lot of things. It has been an year since, and I still meet

Relatives and friends took turns guessing what I would

people who ask why I was not at a particular party/

miss the most. Food was a popular choice. It made

function/ birthday/ wedding/ reason-to-gather. It

sense. It was a tangible reminder of the distance.

seemed I had been away for a long time. My response, ‘I

Another one was my bed. What I had terribly feared

was in (insert place)’ continues to apply. I had missed a

the most was a basic convenience – the humble

lot and nothing really, at the same time.


So, did I miss anything or anyone at all?

What about parents? ‘We shall Skype every single day,

You should know, I have never liked the word ‘jealous’.

don’t you worry.’

‘Envious’ or ‘competitive’ usually justify how I feel.

Within a few days of me settling in, all these concerns

Never jealous. All was well, until ritual time.

were put to rest. The food, though different, had

Roomies would speak to their parents for all of 3

warmth. The bed was comfortable and the washroom –

minutes, at best.

gold. Figuratively of course.

Their grandparents would phone, even Skype, while

I had two roommates or ‘roomies’. All of us loved

parents would have to interrupt to get a word in. In

dozing off as soon as we were done with dinner. There

languages and dialects foreign to me, I picked up words

was a ritual which was unfailingly followed before

to address grandparents, before those for parents or

saying goodnight, and nothing, including a flooding


situation in the building, could disrupt this ritual.

I was jealous. Friends at school used to call it ‘being J’.

*drum rolls please*

Never before in all my life yet, had I felt such a yearning.

Talking to the family back home.

Talking to parents did not suffice. I wanted to talk to my

My roomies explained, they had lived away from home

grandparents. You see, three of the four of my

in pursuit of education since they started attending

grandparents bid adieu to this world a long time ago. It

school. They had only ever been home during vacations,

is a wonderful miracle that I can still recall their voices. I

"2 months at max". I realized, me whining about my first

only hope and pray that they do not fade with time.

time away from home, would crown me the unwilling

Mum tries to reassure me that they will not.

drama queen. I mentioned it to them only once. 6

She constantly reminds me, I am a replica of my Naani,

On days when it gets difficult, I try to remember the

my maternal grandmother. Her habits and awesomeness

stories Naani used to tell us. The times when Naana

have only been inherited by me in the entire family.

would put together special meals for us. That time when

Maybe one other cousin to a certain extent, but mostly

Daada told me I had a thing for chess. That helps. Those

just by me.

recipes help. The inner voice that absorbed their logic

My paternal grandmother, Daadi, is alive and kicking.

and morals helps. My reflection in the mirror helps too.


Naani was really pretty.

I could only, I had to and I did speak to her. Poor soul, she had to put up with my chatter, enough for her and the three who are not here anymore. I spoke to her more times a week than I had in months. She did not mind, she told me. I know she did not. But her health could only take so much. During that time, my best friend’s wedding day arrived. We had been counting down the days since the date had been finalized. I could not be with her because something came up. Superb timing. (Please note the sarcasm). We spoke over the phone and Skype, as much as possible, internet connection allowing. Her wedding arrangements were being spearheaded by her grandparents. They were going to be in her wedding day photos, MashaAllah. My aching heart felt worse. I was happy for her, just not for myself. I make it a point to visit them whenever they are in town. They are, simply put, adorable. Mummy and Daddy, as they are fondly addressed by all members of the family, have amazing stories to tell. Daadi is still trying her best to cope with my life stories. A month later, my sister’s wedding was planned around

Every day is a new day. She should really rest more.

my Naani’s wishes. Nine years after she was gone, the

So where does it leave me?

promise had been fulfilled down to the last detail.

I have realized, both jealousy and the reasons for it are

One thinks they get over their loss with time, that the

completely pointless.

absence hurts less. It might feel so but it does not. The

Instead, I have chosen to honour them by being the best

memories come flooding and the gaping hole in the

version of myself, by doing right by myself and going

heart grows when the rituals begin.

after my big dreams.

My granpys, as I call them collectively, and with much

It is time for breakfast so I have to end my piece. You

love, can never be dethroned. They were the

see, Naana always said, stomach comes first. "One

extraordinary people who raised my parents who are

cannot dream big on an empty stomach."

now trying their best to raise us.

In case you are still wondering, where had I flown away to - does it even matter?



The ubiquitous Anglo Saxon tongue with its convoluted

a foreign language unbridled license to take every

syntax and phonetic inconsistencies, also with its myriad

expedient liberty in its use.

of varieties mixed with local dialects is the one language

Particularly in India, the convent trimmed accents of the

difficult to deal with. Mastery over its vagaries is the

microscopic elite give no inkling of the battering

privilege of an elite minority spread over the entire

Queen’s English has taken at the hands of ‘brown sahibs’.

English speaking world. The expression ‘English as she is

Every region has its own very unique style of

spoken in England’ appears to be the product of

enunciation. The Keralites, for example, do things

desperation rather than of conviction. The average

ZIMBLY (simply), Tamilians say goingaaa (are you

Englishman is nowhere near as articulate as one would

going?), comingaaa (are you coming?) and also they


never wash but 'WASS'. A Banglababu and Oriya guy go

When called upon to speak seriously innumerable ‘ums’

to the JOO (zoo). A person from the Hindi belt takes

and ‘ahs’ and ‘ers’ are needed to prop up his delivery as

'MEAYYURMENT' (measurement) and a Sadarji catches

seen in Toastmasters Clubs speeches (that is why they

his train at the 'SATASHUN' (station). Last but not least

have an ‘Uh Counter’) and more often sentences do not

the Marathis blames the 'SISTAME' (system) for all the

arrive at logical conclusions. Comparatively, languages

ailments of society. (After all, what does it really matter

like Urdu, French, Arabic, Persian and even Malayalam

when the idea is conveyed in full)

lend themselves to more precise and cogent expression

Once Nehru greeted a rustic linguist, a politician from

even at layman’s level.

south India “Oh K - it is you”. “Yes Sir, I is” was the reply. Greatly amused Nehru said again, “Oh you are”. Pat

The oddities of this language are perhaps traceable to

came the reply “Yes I are”.

the fusion of heterogeneous cultures resulting from the

It is legendary that a misplacement of a simple coma

earliest conquests of England. Bernard Shaw insisted that

unnecessarily took away a prisoner’s life. The Monarch

under present phonetic norms ‘Fish’ can be spelled as

wrote to the jailor “ Hang him not, let him go” but with

‘GHOTI’, the GH combination representing F (as in

the coma put mistakenly to read as “Hang him, not let

ROUGH), O standing for E (as in women) and the letters

him go” and that is what the jailor did. The speculation

TI in tandem making SH (as in STATION).

whether it would happen in other languages, however, is

The erstwhile British colonies see in their adoption of

best left to researchers.



The year 2009 has immense importance in our lives. In

.and a half minute. Exactly at the 30th second, he rang a

this historic year 2009, we were privileged to be a part

bell and started to speak with full energy, enthusiasm

of the wonderful TM fraternity. Now, maybe friends are

and positivity. We were in awe! At the end of the

thinking, how this crazy family reached this doorstep.

conversation instead of treating us, he sent us to a

Even though TM Rafi and I began our partnership in

Toastmaster meeting. And there we were wonderstruck

September 1991, we were able to start our actual

to see the amazing power of listening and speaking

communication in effective “Husband–wife style” only

skills. Thus we joined Lagoon Toastmasters.

about 10 years later, as we both hail from two different

.Slowly our kids noticed self-discipline in their parents'

cultures and spoke different languages.

daily life. Having said that, practicing something we want

I started working as a mathematics school teacher and

to see in others is much effective than preaching it.

slowly immersed myself in a very busy life as a teacher–

Now ours is a TM family and we cherish each moment

housewife–mother. In fact, I realized that it was really

of our TM journey. As a result, every issue is discussed

difficult to teach simple addition and subtraction to

debated and evaluated on daily basis. Like the taboos in

today’s generation kids, but at the other end I easily

Toastmasters, we refrain from sex, religion and politics

figured out our income and expenditure, which led to

during our sessions. There is an obvious reason for that.

busy discussions at home with lots of thunder and

We husband-wife follow religion and are spiritual to a

lightning during our leisure time.

certain extent but our new generation daughters have

Soon I decided to leave my job to become a wonderful

modern outlooks on religion, sex and even politics.

companion to my husband. But destiny had something

When we try to preach Indian Traditions and

else in her store, with time I noticed something

civilizations, these feminists start lecturing and

seriously wrong with my family. Day by day my partner

questioning the idea of equality.

was entering into his own shell of business and became

I don’t mean to showcase mine as an “ideal family” but

a workaholic. This not only disturbed me but I also

now, we COMMUNICATE a lot more than our

noticed the house atmosphere was like a cloudy sky just

yesteryears and LISTEN to each other. Day by day we

before heavy rains.

have been polishing the chain which links us and that

I realized that, in every family, a little violence is much

bond of understanding helps us in creating a beautiful

better than pin drop silence. I did not want to give up,

homely atmosphere. Now we strongly believe and affirm

so we went to a psychiatrist for counseling, and

that communication can transform a House into a Home

the doctor patiently listened to our story for about 7

and we are really grateful to Toastmasters for this. 9


If you want to learn something, do you feel yourself too

they are doing so because it is something they wanted

old to learn?

to accomplish. The likelihood of improved earning power

Learning is a continuous process and the true learner

is no longer the motivating factor. It doesn’t necessarily

always looks for avenues to learn from anybody and

have to be academics.

everybody. Nobody in this world knows everything. There is no bar on a learner’s age or the age of the

I shall give you an example of Michael Kevin Kearney of

teacher. A young child can teach you something which

Hawaii, USA, who started teaching college at the age of

you may not have learned till now. Similarly, every old

17. He is listed in the Guinness Book as the world's

and poor man can teach you something very important.

youngest university graduate at the age of 10, receiving a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University

Some people learn about things through experiences.

of South Alabama.

People learn from their successes, failures, achievements

Another inspiring story is that of an Australian, Phyllis

and disappointments in life. I heard this phrase once,

Turner, who began her graduate studies at the age of

“Life is a teacher, we are its students.”

90. The 94-year-old great-great-grandmother is the

If we are keen on learning, we can learn anything. There

world’s oldest recipient of a masters degree in medical

is a misconception that when one grows old he or she


cannot learn. Learning occurs at every stage of life. When you were a toddler, you learned how to walk.

It is unfair to introduce an unofficial age limit for

After you learned how to walk, you learned how to talk.

learning. Learning must be for all, irrespective of age. If

Then you were sent to school to learn how to read and

you have the true determination and dedication to learn

write. After that, you were taught different kinds of

then you can do so at any age.

subjects, for you to proceed forward in your life. When

Professionals in Finance & Accounts, Doctors, Engineers,

you proceeded forward in life, you learned how to work,

Lawyers and IT professionals require updating their

how to be a leader and so on. Finally, when one grows

knowledge throughout their careers. The reason for

old, one has to learn how to use a walking stick and how

such a continuous learning is to keep the aforesaid

to chew without teeth! It shows that learning is a

professionals abreast of the new laws and regulations,

continuous process.

current best practices, hear fresh thinking and learn new

There are many people in their 50’s and 60’s going back

skills. The knowledge you learned a couple of years ago

to college to earn their degree! At that point in their life,

become obsolete in the current fast-paced digital era. 10

There are hundreds of thousands fresh professionals who are entering the job markets. How are you going to set yourself apart from this competition? It is only through continuous learning, the regular update of your knowledge and learning new skills. In this way, you will have an upper hand, otherwise, you are sure to fall behind. No human being on the earth can claim himself or herself as an omniscient. Everyone keeps learning until his or her last breath in some form or the other. If you notice that there is a particular knowledge gap in yourself, try to fill that knowledge gap by learning, you will grow as a person. You should not care about what age you are at: EXPAND YOUR MIND. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, GO AFTER THE IMPOSSIBLE! You won’t be sorry. You will grow, even if you don’t succeed in a particular endeavor. You try again, and you will make it.

Editor's note Hello dear reader of newsletters, do you enjoy reading these articles? As you sip your morning coffee, do you ever wonder how could you submit your amazing article to the newsletter by saying to yourself, "Hmmm, how can I submit my amazing article to the newsletter"? Well, wonder no longer. You can submit your article to the Vice President of Public Relations and it will be published in the next issue of Ripples. Armed with this information, in your quieter moments, you may ponder, "How can I reach this person? Where is his email address? " This is his email address: And it's not just limited to articles. If you've got art, poems or photos that you'd like to have published in the next issue, send them to us my dear reader of newsletters. Thanks a lot. Ta-Ta. 11

The founding member of Lagoon Toastmasters, TM M.K.Rajan receiving the Outstanding Toastmaster award from District 105's PQD - DTM Balaji Bhushan

DTM Jessie D'Souza being presented with her Distinguished Toastmaster certificate by the past presidents of Lagoon Toastmasters Club


Newly inducted members with their mentors

Induction ceremony of the EXCOM for 2017-2018 12





PRESIDENT Dr. Seema Mundhra



Nataraj T.

Balaji Donthi



Hamza Habib

Anushma Yesodharan



Manju Bhandari

Krushna Chaitanya 15


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Meetings every alternate Monday from 7:30PM at Rayan Hotel, Sharjah

Ripples - December 2017  
Ripples - December 2017  

Lagoon Toastmasters Club - Toastmasters International - December 2017