District 41 Toastmasters

The speech I still remember

I have heard many inspiring speeches in the past five and a half years from many famous speakers. Those are all motivational, thought-provoking, and mind-changing. But I still don’t remember any of those. Though these speeches have helped me in many ways to grow in life, I cannot confidently say that I have heard this specific line from this particular speaker or that particular person.

When I started my journey as a toastmaster, I was not aware that being a motivational speaker is also a profession or can be chosen as a career. I joined because I needed to improve my communication in English, as I have been raised in my native language. Even after graduation, I was not able to form a sentence in English. I am not ashamed at all to share this now.

When I look back and recall the old me and realise how far I have come… I come from a small village called Nutan Nagar that people have never heard of. There was no medical college back then, no transportation facilities, no proper communication, and no job in the entire state. I never imagined that I would ever be able to see the world’s seventh wonder, which is in our country in Agra, the famous Taj Mahal, and now I refuse to go and see it again after seeing it for the third time. And we now have an international airport, along with a government and private medical college. Trains with Rajdhani Express facilities are available in our small state of Tripura.

Life is strange; it takes a different turn all of a sudden, and the moment you blink your eyes, a different chapter starts opening, which keeps you wondering: have you really come this far?

Life is never a smooth journey. It can never be easy. It has to be rocky and clumsy, with lots of ups and downs and lots of darkness, and this is how you remember and feel proud of yourself. You don’t have to be vocal about saying that I did this or that because your heart knows what you have done so far.

I do remember my first speech, which I delivered in front of 37 people. I was all nervous, shy, and hesitant. Sweating with stress inside the clothes during the winter at the beginning of February, lots of grammatical errors, all the time conscious with the thought process that all these 37 people are judging me because of my poor English and poor accent. I felt absolutely vulnerable with the standing ovation.

I have delivered many speeches after that in the past five and a half years. Within a week, I forgot what I had delivered. But I still remember each single word I spelled out of my mouth on that day. I don’t remember the date, but I do remember how I was dressed, what my posture was, and how my eye contact was with the audience. I was all standing in one place, like a statue, with straight eye contact. I was trying hard to remember the next line and was conscious of the audience reaction to my incorrect sentence and improper grammar. and here I am a totally different person.

People often take motivation from others, but I now take motivation from myself only. If I can be who I am now, then anyone can be who they want to be. It’s our mind that chooses what it wants to become, and the brain simply follows those instructions and leads you towards that.

Monica Banik
Gurgaon Orator Toastmasters Club