Saturday, November 29, 2008

Entertainment Speaker (Project 1) - Life on the Wheels

AC - Entertaining Speaker (Project I)
Life on the Wheels
November 28, 2008


We take so many things for granted, in our life. For example, any time we open the tap in the kitchen or bathroom we assume there is going to be water. Any time we turn-on the television or the air conditioner, we assume there is going to be electricity. But, I realized the importance of these simple things, during my trip to Glen Canyon in Page, Arizona. Today, I'm going to share my experience of living in a Recreational Vehicle (RV).

Friend dropped out

My friend & I decided to go to Glen Canyon for the Christmas holidays, last year. We were very excited because we had booked an RV for the trip. Unfortunately, the day before the trip, my friend's daughter got sick & he had to drop out. I have never driven a RV before. The longest vehicle that I've ever driven is a 10 feet U-Haul truck. So, I was in a dilemma whether I should cancel the trip (or) should I go ahead with the original plans. Finally, I decided to go ahead with the original plans.
The RV

My wife, kid & I flew to Phoenix and rented the RV there. It was a 29 ft motor home. It was so huge. I was staring at the RV like a tiny little kid standing in front of a huge elephant. The RV had all kinds of appliances like stove, microwave, fridge, air conditioner, television etc., It had all the facilities that you would typically have in a house - kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, sofa, dining table, etc., The RV also had a generator to power-up the appliances.
Driving Experience

I have always enjoyed driving. But, for the first time in my life driving was so unpleasant. Driving a car is like riding a horse. You can go really fast. But driving a RV is like riding a camel in the desert. The RV was going very slow. A 3 1/2 hour drive took us nearly 6 hours.
The worst thing about driving a vehicle of this size is - you don't have a rear view mirror & you cannot really see if a cop is behind you. For the first time in life, I did something that I've never done - Driving within the speed limits.

RV Park in Page

By the time we reached our camping area in Page, it was 11 pm and it was completely dark. The weather was very cold. I was literally shivering when I hooked-up my vehicle to the water, electricity and sewage outlets in the camping area. We were so tired. We had our dinner and went to bed immediately.
Frozen Pipe

The next day morning when we opened the tap in the kitchen sink, we didn't get any water. I wore several layers of clothes including a sweater and a thick leather jacket. I stepped out to see why the water supply stopped.
I was amazed when I stepped out of the vehicle. Our camping spot was near Lake Powell. The lake had completely frozen due to the cold weather. I looked around and we were the only party to camp there. I went around the vehicle to check the water connection. The water in the tap & the tube had completely frozen. That is the reason why the water supply was blocked. We waited for a couple of hours for the sun to show up & melt the ice.

We got ready & visited a few places in Glen Canyon. When we were not in the camping area, we had limited access to water and electricity. We were so tempted to turn-on the heater when the vehicle was parked. But, we cannot let the generator run forever. Otherwise, we would run out of gas.
We cannot take a long shower when we were not in the camping area. Water was precious :)
Nice things about RV

Though we had some shortcomings, there are several nice things about living in a RV. Have you ever thought about lifting your home, placing it on wheels and taking it along wherever you go? Well, that is exactly what an RV is. Whenever you want to drink coffee, you don't have to look for Starbucks. You can pullover the vehicle and prepare hot coffee with fresh aroma. You don't have to search for rest areas along the roadside. Because ... the roadside itself is your rest area. I mean, you can pullover and use the bathroom in your vehicle.
How many of you feel drowsy when you drive your car during the sight seeing trips, especially after a heavy lunch? Did you ever feel like taking a nap? Well, if you are driving a RV you can park your vehicle and take a comfortable nap.
We stayed in the RV for 3 days. I realized the importance of water & electricity during our trip. I have been conserving water and electricity, since we made that trip.
Our trip to Glen Canyon is very memorable because of the RV. We enjoyed our life on wheels. We had quality time.
Ladies & Gentlemen, if you are planning for your next trip, you should definitely consider renting a RV. I bet you, its lots of fun!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Table Topics: Theme "Thanksgiving"

Thanksgiving provides as an opportunity to meet, greet and celebrate. The following are some table topics questions for your toastmasters club meeting with the theme as "Thanksgiving".

(Also read: Table Topics - Theme "Halloween")

1) What is your most memorable Thanksgiving cooking experience? Why?
2) I hate Thanksgiving weekend because ...

3) If you would like to call someone as a turkey, who would that be?

4) Give us 5 reasons why we shouldn't eat turkeys on Thanksgiving weekend.

5) If you get an opportunity to go on a date with someone on Thanksgiving day? Who would that be?

6) I love Thanksgiving weekend because ...

7) What is your most memorable Thanksgiving weekend? Why?

8) Whom do you like to Thank the most in your life? Why?

9) If you get an option to change the Turkey in the Thanksgiving menu, which one would you go for (instead of Turkey)?

10) If you have to convince a vegetarian to eat Turkey on Thanksgiving - what would you do?

11) You are a boss in the IT company. You have to convince your employees to work during the Thanksgiving weekend. You are employees are sitting in our club. How would you persuade them?

(Also read: Table Topics: Theme "Christmas")

(Table topics conducted in TGIF club in 2008)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Be Hopeful About the Future

AC - Story Telling (Project IV)
The Touching Story
October 31st, 2008

I want all of you to close your eyes for a few seconds. Now, think about the worst thing that ever happened to you in your life ... Something that was a huge loss to you. Something, that made you to regret. For example, a lost job, a strained relationship or lost money.

You may now open your eyes. We all would've had at least one such bad thing that happened to us, in our life, which had a lasting impact on us. Whenever such bad things happen, we have two options. We can think about it again & again and continue to worry about it till the end of our life. Or, we can forget about it and be HOPEFUL about the future.
Today, I'm going to share a real story. I read this story recently in a magazine. This story is about a person called Naresh who became successful, just because he didn't lose HOPE, when a terrific incident happened in his life.


Naresh was born in a village in Southern India. His father is a truck driver and his mother is a housewife. His parents were illiterate. It was 1993, and Naresh was 6 years old at that time. He was fair and a bit tall. He had very beautiful eyes and lots of hair. He was very naughty and he used to run all around the house playing with his friends. At the same time, he was smart. He did very well in his studies. His parents had high hopes about Naresh's future.


It was January 11, 1993, the fateful day. Naresh and his parents were ready to go to a nearby village for a family function. They got a ride in Naresh's father's friend's truck. The front cabin didn't have much space. Naresh was made to sit close to the door.

The elders were busy talking about something. Naresh was playing with the truck door's latch. All of a sudden, the door opened wide & threw him out. He was lucky enough to survive the accident. Nothing happened to him but his legs were severely injured. He was immediately admitted to a government hospital.

The doctors in the government hospital treated his wounds & bandaged his legs. He was there in the hospital for a week. When the doctors removed his bandage they were shocked. They found that the tissues in his legs were decayed because of insufficient blood supply. Naresh was immediately rushed to a district hospital. The doctors in the district hospital examined his legs. The doctors didn't have any option than to amputate his legs. In no time, both his legs were cut off up to the hips.

Naresh woke up after the surgery. He had lots of pain. He pulled over his covers and was shocked to see that his legs were missing. He asked his mother, "Mom! Where are my legs?" His mother burst into tears. She doesn't know what to tell her little son. Naresh was in the hospital for three months.

Return to Home

The day Naresh reached his village, his house was flooded with curious people; all of them wanted to know how a boy without legs looked. But he was not bothered. He was just happy to see all of them, after a long time.
Life without Legs

Naresh got admission in a near by school. His sister was also put in the same class though she is two years older. His parent thought she could take care of Naresh if both of them were in the same class. Naresh's sister never complained. Naresh was so lucky to have such a loving sister. She carried him in the school for a few years and after a while, his friends took over the task. All his friends saw to it that Naresh was part of all the games they played; they carried him everywhere.
Through out his childhood days, Naresh didn't lose hope. He was very confident that he can lead a successful life. He wanted to be an engineer when he grows up.

Life at IIT- Madras

Time ran fast. Naresh completed his high school education. He got good grades. He decided to join an engineering college. He got admission into one of the premier educational institutes in India - Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Naresh felt privileged to study with some of the brilliant students in the country.

The world is full of good people

Naresh got help from total strangers without him asking for it. He got new friends, who took care of him during his college days. There were people who were taking care of his hostel and college fees.

Naresh's college had in fact arranged a lift and built some ramps at the Computer Science department for him. His fellow college mates got him a powered wheel chair, so that, he can move around the campus on his own. His life changed after that. He felt free and independent.

Internship/Job Offer

While he was doing his college, he got an opportunity to come to Boston to do his internship. After completing his studies he got a job offer from one of the leading technology giants in the industry - Google. Today, Naresh is working in Google's Bangalore office.

Be Hopeful

Think about it for a moment. What would you do, if the same thing had happened to you? What if you had lost both of your legs? Will you be what you are today? Naresh has proven that "if you are HOPEFUL & motivated, nothing can really stop your success". Quite often in life, we face bad circumstances. Are those circumstances, really bad like the one faced by Naresh. If Naresh can achieve something in life, you can too. Believe in yourself & be HOPEFUL about the future. Nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.