Club No: 03373392 Area 33 D ivision J
Editor’s Letter -Usha Mohan
September brings with it all things new. There is a sense of purpose in the air, a chance to achieve goals after a refreshing break. It always starts in a frenzy in Dubai, with people getting back to the Emirate after a long summer holiday. Schools and colleges reopening, traffic woes, office deadlines… In a nutshell, it is getting out of holiday mode and back to the daily routine. There is a flurry of activity in the Desert Divas club too. The newly elected Excom officers are getting on with their roles. The entire club is gearing up for club meetings after the long hiatus. The Divas are now confidently striding out to other clubs to create a name for themselves. We are all of two! We are definitely sure footed if not nimble yet! Two of our Divas have completed their CC and CL manuals. Few more will be following their footsteps shortly. Humbly I embark on this new journey as editor of Reflections, following talented predecessors such as Deepa Umashankar, Vijaya Sukumar and Sowmya Rangarajan. Will I leave my footprints in the sand? Only time will tell. Hope you enjoy this new issue and embrace that September feeling!
Table of Contents President’s Message .......................................................................................................... 4 Mentors and Sponsors ..................................................................................................... 5 Excom (2015-‐2016) .......................................................................................................... 6 Back to Nature .................................................................................................................... 7 Succeeding Together… Supporting Each Other .................................................... 10 Monsoon Diary ................................................................................................................. 12 Recipes ............................................................................................................................... 15 Challenge ........................................................................................................................... 18 Picture Gallery ................................................................................................................. 20
President’s Message -Padma Ramji
Let’s communicate with confidence Have you ever had a moment in life when you had something to say but could not get the right message across? Obviously, none of us want to be remembered for 'faux pas' . Fortunately we are all in the right forum to hone our communication and leadership skills. Desert Divas was launched in 2013 with the sole purpose of providing a platform to encourage and support its members to shed their inhibitions towards public speaking. This journey, in itself, has milestones of learning by active participation. When you are surrounded by like minded people with a willingness to encourage one another, learning becomes so much fun. That is the most distinctive aspect of Desert Divas. We, at Desert divas, are fortunate enough to have gifted speakers who come up with a variety of speech topics that add spice to our meetings. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Being a part of Desert Divas, you are one of the 300,000 members of a larger international organisation spread over 135 countries. All of us stand united in our goal to improve our personal communication and leadership skills. The way we communicate with others, ultimately determines the quality of our lives..
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.
Back to Nature Project 10 Speech, Delivered at the Club Let us briefly step back in time and look over our shoulders at an era gone by. Let’s take a glimpse at that period when life was simple, when gadgets were fewer and people more active, when home cooked meals were the order of the day, when foods, cosmetics or medicines, had more natural ingredients than artificial additives, when a lot more came directly from natural sources than from bottles and tubes. Good morning dear mentors, fellow toastmasters and friends…………. That was a time when our parents and grandparents appreciated nature, recognized its generosity and knew what to do with the ample treasures it held. Every household had an all-‐knowing, resourceful grandma who had a quick fix home remedy for every common ailment. A persistent cough? Turmeric and pepper in hot milk did the trick, a nasty stomach pain or menstrual cramps – fenugreek seeds soaked in curd or castor oil came to the rescue, ear pain in the middle of the night – in went a few drops of warm oil heated with garlic. It was not all about cures; grandmas had a lot of preventive measures too up their sleeve. Has any of you ever had that bitter concoction made with neem leaves that was given periodically to keep the digestive system going strong? Oh, there were a lot of remedies-‐ simple, natural and very effective. Today the pepper and turmeric are still there but at the first sneeze we rush to the doctor and get drugged with medicines prepared in a lab. Scientific research and technology has found cures for several diseases and we have easy access to the best medical facilities but are we really healthier than our forefathers? I wonder – maybe we need to get closer to nature. My father who is 88 has a disciplined lifestyle even today. He has always been an active person and would only walk to get his errands done. Even today he does not miss out on his morning walk. He eats everything, but in moderation. There is a salad of fresh green vegetables with every lunch. He slices them himself without waiting for anyone to do it for him. There is no fancy salad dressing, just a pinch of salt and a dash of lemon to enhance the taste. Despite belonging to a community and generation where certain vegetables are taboo, he has no qualms about including a few cloves of garlic with his meal. His drinking water
flavoured with a few herbs is stored in a copper vessel. At home it is my father who meticulously cuts fresh fruits every day and serves everyone in the family. To sum it up he believes in simple natural measures for a healthier life. In our fast paced life today, everything is about convenience. Instead of peeling fruits we’d rather pour them out of a bottle! Farm vegetables come from the freezer. It’s so much easier to buy bottled water than boiling it at home. We look for exotic recipes with rich ingredients but are lethargic to prepare a simple salad. And then suddenly one day we hear of someone falling sick and in a moment of panic we decide to look for organic natural foods. Cinnamon powder, ginger extracts, lemon, fresh basil, mint…………..they are filled with so many nutritional and medicinal qualities. All we need to do it is identify them and use them effectively and consistently. Can we not get closer to nature? Gooseberry or amla, hibiscus flowers, fenugreek, henna,…………….. Any guesses what our mothers did with these? Hair Oil of course. Oil was processed at home with all these nutrients; it was massaged into the scalp and washed off with the fruit of the acacia plant (shikakai). That was a time when many of us could have competed with those models who flaunt their long thick bouncing hair. Now we have a variety of scented oils enriched with almonds, aloe vera and olives and to wash that scented oil off our beautiful tresses we have protein rich egg shampoos in different colors. What is the result may I ask – most of us can now act as models for hair replacement therapies. Often times we need to choose between cumbersome and natural or convenient and artificial. What do you think? Is it too late to go back to nature? Is it impractical to adopt those age-‐old methods now? Is it foolish to follow unscientific practices? I have a friend, an educated person of this generation, a woman who is as busy as you or me. She has made informed choices and believes in going natural as far as possible. When her son suffers from bouts of wheezing and bronchial congestion her remedy is not nebulization but steam inhalation with carom seeds. To keep her husband’s sugar levels under control, she has been giving him lady’s finger soaked water every morning. My friend has thick hair and is one of the few people who does not complain of hair fall – reason she uses simple coconut oil treated with herbs. She has complete faith and vouches by the efficacy of every one of her methods. Friends, the person I am talking about is right here amidst us. In fact she is our TMOD Bindu Krishnan.
Nature is generous and there are a lot of benefits that can be reaped from it. We need not adopt all but can sift through the old practices, and make prudent choices. We can exploit the goodness of nature and enhance the quality of our lives with simple easy measures. Blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol,. ………………There are natural methods that can help in controlling even if not curing. Let us get closer to nature. To start with I have adopted a practice -‐ I prepare my drinking water every morning with a few slices of lemon, cucumber and a few mint leaves. Perfect for summer this keeps the body hydrated and energized, reduces toxins and keeps the blood pressure under check. Friends step back in time once again, glance over your shoulders and bring back with you some of those natural remedies, habits, and processes and move into a future that will take you closer to nature.
Sowmya Rangarajan is our club VP Education and the first diva to complete the CC and CL manuals. She is a teacher par excellence and an inspiration to our members. Heartiest Congratulations!
Succeeding Together… Supporting Each Other DTAC 2015 was a memorable event of my life. Why? It was because of the knowledge that I gained and for the fun that I had with the Divas. May 28, 29 and 30 was the DTAC weekend. Nine of us from Desert Divas Toastmasters club attended and enjoyed every bit of it. There was a feeling of nostalgia as it reminded us of our maiden days where we would huddle around rubbing shoulders with our friends. Now you must be wondering what DTAC is? Well, it is the District Toastmasters Annual Conference. It is the event and conference where the Division winners in the various categories compete for the District title. The categories are: International Speech, Humorous speech, Evaluation and Table Topics. Generally contests begin as early as February at the club level. The Toastmasters who win at this level move on to the Area level; the winners at the Area level move on to compete at the Division level. Then the winners from the different Divisions get an opportunity to contest at DTAC. In DTAC there are Semi finals and Finals. The winner of the International speech contest gets to represent the District at the Annual Toastmasters International Conference. The Conference was held in Las Vegas this year. With the filtering that takes place, I am sure you can guess the quality of speakers we get to hear at DTAC. It was not only the speeches that we got to hear, we also enriched our knowledge with the Educational sessions that were held. ‘Theatre in Public Speaking’ by Shanker Ramachandran and ‘ The life in your speech’ by TM Mohamed Al Shukri won our hearts. Both speakers left us spell bound and gave beautiful insights into Public Speaking. Coming to contests, we enjoyed a handful of evaluations and Table topics. TM Vinod Raman Wariath and TM N. T. Arasan were very good in the humorous category. Their speeches fascinated us, as they chose general topics that people could laugh at, rather than wife bashing which most other speakers resorted to. Coming to International Category, TM Sam Kodeih from Division F and TM Ali Al Farai from Division D were fantastic. The icing on the cake was hearing District Champion TM Koka Prasad from Division Q. He had a fantastic topic that all of us could connect to. All these 3 speakers were a feast to watch, as their body language, voices and messages were fabulous. After two days of learning we attended a gala dinner. As mentioned earlier it was beautiful way to spend time with our buddies, as we generally miss out on such things as we grow into our family. Each and every Diva was enjoying the ‘me time’ that we had got.
It would be wrong if I fail to appreciate the DTAC team headed by DTM Ramesh Anantaraman. The whole team had done a flawless job by putting in a lot of effort. Kudos! I would like to conclude by mentioning that DTAC 2015 held at Dubai Women’s College was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. The tag line of this event was ‘SUCCEEDING TOGETHER… SUPPORTING EACH OTHER!’ This was truly lived up to.
Sujatha is a devoted mother and a keen Toastmaster.
Monsoon Diary Like all of us ‘Gulfies’, I too feel scorched by the time it is July. I start keeping track of the Monsoon in my home country India. This year the meteorological department warned of a lackluster monsoon. Those predictions made me wonder if I would see enough rain during my annual trip home. Fortunately, the rain gods did not disappoint me one bit. As my flight neared picturesque Mangalore, I could see an oasis of emerald green amid an abundance of water from the Arabian Sea. Literally hundreds of rivers rushed to become one with the sea, as the plane entered a thick cover of clouds. A light drizzle welcomed me as I set foot on my motherland. It was as if a mother was soothing her child by saying, “Here here my child, don’t stress over small things.” The safe landing, sight of near and dear ones, green pristine surroundings, pleasant weather and light rain; as always, visiting home felt like heaven. My monsoon vacation started right away and I set off on a road trip to Mysore via Madikeri. For those who are not aware about the topography of that region, the entire road traverses through mountains. These Mandalpatti Mountains in Coorg district, with their thick forest cover, are always shrouded in mist and fog even during the day. I felt as if I was living a dream rather than being on a road trip.
As darkness fell, this dream started getting a bit scary. The light drizzle had turned into heavy rain and we could see huge lightning and thunder bolts every few minutes. The same green foliage that had mesmerized me earlier started appearing like a congregation of wicked witches, with spidery hands coming to grab me at every turn.
When we reached our destination in the middle of the night, my children, also taken in by the scary side of nature, were eager to rush into the safety of their beds. Mysore showed me the royal splendor of the Vijaynagar Empire and Wodiyar Dynasty. Besides the opulence of a royal palace, I also enjoyed a grand exhibition of Raja Ravi Varma paintings at display in the Mysore Palace, depicting the grandeur of an era bygone. Next stop in my journey was Pune. In Pune, the rains don’t lash at you or scare you; instead you can enjoy their gentle caress. So, going out and about during the rain is quite customary in Pune. I did not lose the opportunity to enjoy a small mountain trek to visit a fort called Sinhagad. It is a very well known historical place in Pune and is a favorite weekend getaway. The Sinhagad scale of fitness goes like this: the fittest Army jawans are asked to climb up in half an hour, and regulars do it in one hour. ‘Gulfies’ like us, who do it once a while, are excused even if we take a couple of hours. Never mind the time, I was glad I could do it at all. This year I got a bit greedy and wanted another vacation in the mountains before returning back to my desert. So we made a plan to visit a place called Shivthar Ghal, a ledge in the mountains where a sage wrote words of wisdom a few hundred years ago. We reached the spot after a three-‐hour arduous drive through the steep Varandha Ghats, which are dreaded for their narrow hairpin bends. As we stepped out of our car, all our efforts of travelling paid off the instant we saw the spectacular sight.
I saw floating mountains, with gushing waterfalls everywhere!!! I was standing at a high altitude, with mountains all around me. White fluffy clouds were meandering across the peaks. The monoliths appeared to be swaying, as you couldn’t see the base. Gazing at the cliffs, swathed in mist and fluff, I wondered if I had stepped foot in heaven. So I pinched myself as well as people around me, just to be sure. The chorus of shrieks came as a relief, whoa! It was so good to be
alive, to be at the top of the mountains. We were inhaling moist monsoon air and watching clouds play with the wind. I was truly in heaven. So my friends, I have come back with a treasure of mist, mountain air and monsoon in my heart to last me until my next escapade. Until then I have to make do with memories.
Anita has recently gone back to work as an Auditor and is a committed Toastmaster.
Recipes -Usha Mohan Try these delicious and simple recipes during the Eid Holidays!
Spicy Bean Burrito
Ingredients: 1. Kidney Beans-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 2 cans drained & washed. 2. Sweet Corn Kernels-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐1 can, drained & washed. 3. Tomato Paste/ Puree-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐1 can 140gms 4. Tomato Ketchup-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 2 tblsp 5. Jalapenos -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ chopped 2 tblsp 6. Red Chili Powder-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 tsp 7. Coriander Powder-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 2 tsp 8. Cumin Powder-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐1/2 tsp 9. Tortillas-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐8 10. Fresh Lettuce-‐-‐-‐-‐ 4-‐6 leaves washed & shredded 11. Tomato-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐2-‐3 washed, halved & sliced 12. Sour Cream-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 2-‐4 tblsp 13. Cheddar Cheese-‐-‐-‐-‐ grated 2 tblsp 14. Salt & black pepper-‐-‐-‐-‐to taste Method: In a saucepan, place the kidney beans, tomato paste, tomato ketchup, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and black pepper powder and gently heat. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and keep aside. Warm the tortillas on a skillet or in the microwave oven. Place a warm tortilla on a plate, put 2 tblsp of the bean mixture along the center of the tortilla. Now top it with the sweet corn kernels and jalapenos, and then add a layer of tomato slices. Now arrange the shredded lettuce over it. Sprinkle with the grated cheddar cheese. Add a dollop of sour cream in the center and fold the burrito from the bottom and then the sides to form a wrap.
Vegetable and Pasta au Gratin
Ingredients: 1. Mixed Vegetables i.e. potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, carrots, baby corn, spinach, zucchini (vegetables of your choice) -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 3 cups, washed, cubed, cut, diced etc. 2. Elbow Macaroni -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 cup cooked & reserve 1 cup of the water you cooked the pasta in. 3. Olive oil-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 3 tblsp 4. Butter -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 3 tblsp 5. All purpose flour -‐-‐-‐-‐ 3 tblsp 6. Milk -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 3 cups 7. Capsicum green & red -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 of each finely chopped 8. Onion -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 2 finely chopped 9. Garlic -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 3-‐4 cloves finely chopped 10. Cheese grated -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 1/2 cups (Cheddar, Edam or even Amul ) 11. Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste 12. Red Chilli flakes to taste. Method: Heat oil in a pan. Fry the garlic for a minute, then add the chopped onions and fry till the onions are soft. Now add the capsicum & sauté for 3 minutes, add all the remaining vegetables and sauté till done. Keep aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Keep stirring till it is well mixed. Little by little add the milk, constantly whisking the mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Keep stirring till it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. In a large baking dish mix together the cooked veggies and pasta. Pour the cheese sauce over it and mix well. If it feels very thick, add some of the pasta water and mix. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese, dot with some butter or olive oil on top and sprinkle the red chili flakes. Bake in a hot oven and grill till the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Serve hot with a fresh green salad and crusty bread.
Ingredients: 1. Jelly Crystals-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 packet 85 gms.(flavour of your choice) 2. Store bought Swiss Jam Rolls or sponge or pound cake-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐2 packets 3. Fresh Strawberries -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 1/2 cup washed, hulled & halved (you can use fruit of your choice, i.e. orange segments, pineapple chunks, peach slices, apple slices, seedless grape, blueberries & raspberries) 4. Homemade Vanilla flavoured custard-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 2 cups (made from custard mix) 5. Orange juice or apple juice -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1/2 cup 6. Whipping Cream-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 cup chilled (can also use Dream Whip) 7. Sugar -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ 1 tblsp.(optional ) Method: Make the jelly as per the instruction on the packet. Cube the jelly when set, keep aside. Slice the Swiss jam rolls into 1 inch slices or cube the pound cake into bite sized cubes. Now take a large glass bowl and layer the bottom with half the jam rolls or pound cake. Sprinkle half the orange or apple juice over them. Scatter half the jelly cubes over this, and then place the prepared fruit over the jelly cubes. Now pour half the thick custard over the fruit. Repeat the layering up to the jelly cubes. Now pour the remaining custard over the jelly. Whip the chilled cream with the sugar till soft peaks form (if using Dream Whip follow the instruction on the packet). Now spread the cream over the custard, sprinkle with remaining fruit and refrigerate till required.
Toastmasters Blockbusters ‘Titanic’, ‘Avatar’, ‘Jurassic Park’ were some of the blockbuster movies which kept us on the edge of our seats!!! Similarly, the ‘Blockbusters’ game is an interesting quiz, suitable for all ages. It is the perfect game for those of us who get intimidated by the very word “Quiz”. A complete entertainer, Blockbusters needs presence of mind more than anything else. So, presenting before you – ‘An all-‐exclusive ‘Toastmasters Blockbusters’! So, let us test our knowledge about Toastmasters!!! 1. Which ‘S’ founded the Toastmasters? 2. What ‘I’ is the first project of any Toastmaster? 3. What ‘G’ does a President hit to open and conclude a meeting? 4. Which ‘E’ gives a feedback of your speech? 5. Which ‘S’ is the first one to speak in every Toastmasters meeting? 6. In which ‘L’ was the 2015 Toastmasters International Convention held? 7. What ‘S’ method does an Evaluator use during the evaluation? 8. All toastmaster meetings are held once every ‘F’? What ‘F’ is this?
9. Which ‘W’ helps the members to increase their vocabulary in every meeting? 10. Which ‘D’ is the only all women’s club in the UAE? 11. A contestant may be disqualified from a speech contest if he/she delivers a ‘P’ speech. What ‘P’ is this? 12. Which ‘Q’ is the 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking?
Radha is a loving mother of two sons and an enthusiastic quizmaster. Please send your feedback and answers for the blockbuster quiz to firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: email@example.com WEBSITE: http://3373392.toastmastersclubs.org/