Sunday, March 13, 2016

CC Project #1 - Ice Breaker - Lost & Found

When was the last time that you lost something and later found it?

Good morning fellow Toastmasters and guests

It was the year 1975. My parents heard the sound of their first baby in the family. However, the sound and the associated happiness were lost too soon… in fact, in a matter of 2 months. In 1977, they heard the sound of the baby again. They were happy that the lost sound … the lost happiness was found again. They named the new found happiness as Saravanan. But, the new found happiness soon became a headache, as I started to grow up.

I was too naughty at home and my parents didn’t have enough patience to tolerate my nuisance. I was thrown into a school at the age of 2.5 years, itself. From breaking pencils, to slates and at times even the head of fellow students… I grew up as Mr. Naughty in school. If my mom had to pull off a hair every time she gets some complaint from school, she would’ve looked like me today.

“Get lost!”… that’s how my mom shouts at me whenever I become intolerable. And … I did get lost, one day. Yes! … When I was studying 5th standard, I had been to Vandalur Zoo with my aunt and cousins during summer holidays. I was running all over the zoo… from one cage to another… glazing at the animals… with eyes kept wide open… with full of excitement… like the kids that you might have seen in Jurassic park movie. Suddenly, I realized that my cousins and aunt weren’t near me… I shouted their names... but no response. I roamed around the zoo in search of them, but I couldn’t find them. I walked out of the zoo... thinking that they might've gone out to board the bus. I couldn't find them there as well. Without knowing what to do.. I started to cry. An elderly tender coconut vendor near the bus stand approached me and asked "Son! Why are you crying?". In a trembling voice I said "I am lost and I couldn't find my aunt and cousins". He asked me where is your home? I told him it is in Choolaimedu. He said "Don't worry my son! When I'm done with my business in the evening, I'll take you to your parents”. He offered a place for me to sit. I sat down..but tears were  still dripping from my eyes. I was eagerly waiting to go back to home. Suddenly, I saw my aunt coming out of the zoo, with her kids. My joy knew no bounds. I thanked the tender coconut vendor and ran towards my cousins. I hugged my cousins in joy. That was the first time that I was lost and later found.

The gigantic flywheel called life started spinning very fast… I grew up, finished schooling, completed my Bachelors in Engineering and joined HCL Technologies in Chennai. When I graduated from college, my goal in life was to earn Rs. 1 crore and “settle” in life. That goal took me to US in the year 2002. I worked really hard and achieved that goal very fast… my life became a big question mark after that. My identity was my title in office… My success was measured in terms of the $s that I was earning. My happiness was defined by the number of movies that I watched during the weekend.

That is when I found Toastmasters… and it helped me to find a new purpose in life. I realized that you can have an identity beyond your work, I realized that success is multi-dimensional… and it includes not just wealth, but also health and good relationships. I realized that happiness is the feeling you get, when you help others to excel in life.  Zig Ziglar had put that rightly as “You can achieve everything in life that you want, if you can help others achieve what they want”.

Fellow Toastmasters, we lose our health and find our career, we lose our relationships and find our money, we lose our happiness and find our success, . We lose something to find something else... the question is, "What are you losing and what are you finding?"

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