Sunday, September 6, 2015

CC Project #7 - Research your topic - Sweetie... I hate you!


I broke up with the love of my life

[Start with a sad voice]

Good morning fellow Toastmasters and Guests

Yes! You heard it right... I broke up a few months back. My wounds aren’t still healed. I was not sure if I should be sharing this in my Toastmasters speech, at all. But I thought Toastmasters is like my extended family and in the past I've shared my happiness with you. Why don't I share this also in the meeting? The bond that I had with her for the last several years is gone... I almost grew up with her since my childhood days and she became very close to me. At one point, we exchanged vows to stay together for life. But today... we are separated. She was the reason why I was able to grow fast... on all dimensions. But when she started affecting my real progress ... I decided to part ways from her and said to her "Sweetie... I hate you!"

(Also read: Ms. Smelly)

Problem of Sugar

She is the reason why nearly 50 million Indians are suffering from diabetes today. It is equivalent of the entire population in the state of Gujarat having diabetes. My sweetie’s vision for India is to make the nation the Diabetes Capital of the world by 2025. She kills more people than both HIV + Breast Cancer combined… according to a report published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Different Incarnations

When a poet admires a beautiful woman, he calls her using different names. Similarly, when a corporate admires Sweetie, they use her in the processed food and call her using different names. She is called the Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose and Lactose, Cane juice, Barley malt, Corn syrup, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Malt syrup, Golden syrup and Maple syrup.

Impact of Sugar

She gets into each one of our lives, easily. The most common form of her entering our life is through the drinks that we often have … coffee and cool drinks. When we prepare coffee, we add a spoon of her … and we add another spoon. But, when they prepare a can of coke, they add a spoon of her … and another and another and another … up to 10 spoons of Sweetie.  A can of coke adds 160 calories to your body. Let us put this into perspective. You’ll be served a glass of cool drink at the end of this meeting every week. If you happen to attend 6 meetings in a row and have 6 glasses of cool drink, you’ll put on 1 Kg of weight. In order to burn those extra calories and lose weight, you’ll have to actually walk in the treadmill for about 30 minutes a day, for 7 days in a row.

A piece of cake or a chocolate bar has about 5 spoons of Sweetie… so, if you eat a piece of a cake or eat a chocolate bar, you’ll have to walk in the treadmill for 30 minutes for a day … to get rid of the extra calories.

Sweetie vs. Fattie

Sweetie is next to God, she is omnipresent. She is in the canned juice that you drink, she is in the cake that you eat, and she is in the chocolate bars that you munch… she is everywhere. Escaping from her is very difficult… She also has a cousin sister called the Fattie… any time you have more of the Sweetie, she gets transformed by our body into the Fattie. Fattie is more harmful to your body than the Sweetie… because she gets to your heart faster than the Sweetie. They both compete with each other to take control of you and your life.

Processed vs. Unprocessed Sugar

It is absolutely impossible to get rid of Sweetie from your life… She is like those ghosts that we see in the horror movies. They’ll come back at the end, for the next episode. Most of the times, Sweetie comes in front of us like a modern girl… in a processed form… with lots of makeover, with lots of glittering ornaments, with lots of shiny clothes. However, her younger sisters … the Jaggery, Palm Jaggery and Honey are like those village girls exhibiting natural beauty… They are good for you. You can substitute the processed Sweetie with her unprocessed sisters like Jaggery, Palm Jaggery and Honey.


Dear friends… today, several millions and millions of people are getting addicted to Sweetie, knowingly or unknowingly. She is as deadly as the drugs. It is easy to say “Sweetie! I hate you…” in the first place, than trying to marry her and divorce her later… by running on the tread mill. A few months back, I developed the guts to look straight into her eyes and say “Sweetie! I hate you…” Dear friends… do you have the guts in you… to say “Sweetie! I hate you…” ?!

CC Project #6 - Vocal Variety - Lessons from the gym


“An apple a day, keeps doctor away. Doing exercise every day, keeps Lord Yama away”

Good morning fellow Toastmasters and guests,

8 months ago, I enrolled in a gym to improve my fitness. I learned a number of lessons in my fitness journey. Today, I’m going to share with you the 2 most important lessons.

Lesson 1: What you do outside matters much more than what you do inside

Many people enroll in a gym thinking that exercising daily helps them to lose weight. When you start exercising a few weeks and step on that sleek weighing machine, you start realizing “OH BOY! THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO LOSE”.

If you continue to eat Pizzas and Burgers … If you continue to drink Coke and Pepsi… If you continue to sleep at odd times and wake up at odd times you aren’t going to reduce weight… no matter how long you run on the treadmill.

Before joining the gym, I used to eat like how a Camel drinks water. I normally eat for the next 6 hours. Guess what, 3 hours later I become hungry. I again eat for the next 6 hours and the cycle continues. The more I ate, the faster my digestive system worked. The faster my digestive system worked, the faster I gained weight. The faster I gained weight, the faster I was getting a hump like the Camel. The only difference was, the Camel had the hump at the back and I got it at the front.
After joining the gym, I learned from my trainer that my eating habits has to change, if I have to reduce weight and become fit. He recommended having 5 small meals instead of 3 heavy meals. He also suggested to cut down on the sugar in my diet. I started noticing the change immediately, after I changed my eating habits. In the last 9 months, I’ve lost 7 KGs.

Lesson 2: When you are not GOOD at doing something do it more often to become GOOD at it

My gym got a new trainer a few months back. The first thing he asked me to do was to do pull-ups. I looked at my new trainer Thiru who was in his early 20s, and asked “Thiru! Are you sure you want me to do that? The last time that I did that was during my teenage” Thiru looked at me and said “Yes Sir. You can do that. Give it a try”. So, I started giving it a try. The bar was about 7 feet high. I was clinging to the bar and trying to lift my body up… like an ant trying to lift a huge mountain. I started swinging back ‘n forth like a monkey on a tree branch, but couldn’t pull my body up. After a few tries, I gave up. I said “Thiru! My arms haven’t gained enough strength to pull my body weight. Once my arms gain enough strength, may be after a few months, I’ll give it a try. For now, I don’t think I’m GOOD at it this and let us pass it on”. Thiru smiled at me and said “Sir! If you are not good at something, you should try it more often. From tomorrow onwards, as part of your warm-up exercises, you should do 15 pull-ups. If you are not able to lift your body weight, at least jump up and start coming down by clinging to the bar”.

I started doing the pull-ups every day as part of my warm-up exercises. The first few days, I was just jumping up and down by clinging to the bar. In about 2 weeks, I was able to lift my body weight up. Today, I can comfortably do 6 continuous pull-ups. Still I have a long way to go to reach the 15 count. But, I’m confident that I can get there.


Dear friends, did you realize… there are more similarities between my Gym and our Toastmasters club. Both the places provide a platform for you to train yourself, to make you come out of your comfort zone and to make you discover your best.

It is not just the speeches that we do in Toastmasters club meetings that transform us… but, the number of books that we read to write speeches, the number of times that we do rehearsals at home, the amount of time that we spend with our mentors. These are the things that play a crucial role in transforming us. So, what you do outside of the club matters much more than what you do inside the club.

I’ve seen budding Toastmasters staying away from Table Topics session thinking that they aren’t good at it. If you aren’t good at it, you’ve to do it more often to be good at it.

Dear friends…

1. What you do outside matters much more than what you do inside
2. When you are not GOOD at doing something do it more often to be GOOD at it

Let us apply these 2 learning from the gym to excel in our communication and leadership journey, in Toastmasters.