I delivered this speech on Sunday (17th Apr) at a Toastmasters Meeting. The objective was to introduce body language and vocal variety in my delivery.
A church! (Cross gesture) Jesus, pls help me find a good flat. Ooh, ooh. A temple. (Praying hands) God, pls help me find a good flat within my budget. Wow! A mosque too! (Praying hands) ya Allah, pls help na.
That was my first week in Bangalore.
Fellow TMs and guests. Have you ever longed for the past? Have you ever wished to experience a memory again? Have you ever felt nostalgic?
Nostalgia is a curious feeling. Most of the memories are trivial. But, they always bring a deluge of thoughts with them. Today, I am going to talk about three specific triggers from my life. First, music and how it makes me feel proud of myself. Second, the summer season and its relaxing effect on me. Lastly, my first week in Bangalore and how it motivated me to start a new thing.
So, come, let’s take a trip down my memory lane. (smile)
(Singing like a metal head) “Whiskey in the Jar-o” is a song by Metallica. I first heard that song at 2 am on the radio. I was “studying” for my board exams. Metallica reminds me of how I became a night owl. I have pulled off numerous all-nighters by now. For me, it is the best time of the day.
A friend introduced me to Coldplay. This band reminds me of my crush and how I was too chicken to pursue her. I am more daring now. And, I wish I could go back.
Finally, the Explosions in the Sky. This instrumental band accompanied me on all my late-night walks. Walking did not help me shed my chubbiness. But, it did have a therapeutic effect on me. To this day, whenever I want to clear my mind, I go on a late-night walk while listening to the Explosions in the Sky.
Songs of these bands always remind me of who I was. And where I am now. I am sure that the ambitious younger me would be elated to see the current “me,” equally ambitious. And that always makes me feel proud of myself.
Since first April, the heat has picked up in Delhi, and my mum has been relentlessly cribbing about it. She says, irritated, “It is too hot!. Summer is early this year. Why does it even exist?” I, on the other hand, enjoy Summer. So we go into this banter of which season is best. Of course, I don’t need nostalgia to remind me of this banter. My mum does that every April.
But, summer reminds me of very distinct periods of my life.
Imagine this: The Sun is hot. You feel needles pricking you all over. You take your clothes off and jump in the cold, clean water of Yamuna. After a long dip, you go to a nearby field, pluck a big watermelon and gobble it up. Summer reminds me of that 7-year-old me.
School days. How many people here remember the games period? Huh? How about school buses? I used to walk home from school. Hopping from the shadow of one tree to another, only stepping into the sun when there was no shadow remaining. Upon reaching home, I used to build cool stuff from the broken things at home. Summer reminds me of those carefree school days.
Summer also reminds me of the 1st and 2nd waves of Covid. I stayed in Bangalore. And so did my flatmates. We cooked together. My chapati making skill is top-notch now. We played inside our home. We worked out together. One flatmate and I shaved our heads together. And the cherry on top was how we ended the summer with a carefully planned road trip to the Western Ghats.
Summers are truly wonderful.
My first week in Bangalore.
It happened on the 3rd or 4th day. I was flat hunting and decided to explore Bangalore on foot. Seeing those three holy places in the vicinity of each other made me realize how incredible India is. And how, it turned out, it was an equally incredible experience for me.
I am about to start an experiment in the coming weeks. It is going to require a titanic change in my lifestyle. Frankly, I am scared to even think about it. Thankfully, this fear helped me. It reminded me of my first week in Bangalore. I remembered how much I enjoyed being on my own. For the first time, I was not under my parent’s care. I was making all the decisions. Instead of being afraid, I was super excited! Like the cold seeps through a cracked door, excitement seeped into me. That unexpected nostalgic moment motivated me to go ahead and take that step.
It is the smallest thing, eating a watermelon at a riverbank. But it is shocking how I want to do it again and again today. Likewise, I could have never imagined that my chaotic first week in Bangalore would motivate me in future.
We seldom get to experience nostalgia in our busy lives now. Hence, here is something I want you to do after this meeting. Go reminisce about the past. Past that fills you with warm and fuzzy feelings. And if you feel you do not have such a memory, I implore you to make them. It does not matter how significant or insignificant they are.
Because you never know which tiny event would make you smile, help you discover yourself, or later motivate you to take the next step.