"'Truth is strange," you know, "stranger than fiction' - besides being more to the point" - Edgar Allan Poe

August 10, 2005

Wotrashi -2

[This is a speech I helped a friend of mine write yesterday as part of his toastmaster's induction. The first speech, called an 'icebreaker' is basically an introduction of the speaker to the club; this is what we came up with.]

It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.
But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the Emperor remains an Emperor.

Good Morning one and all,

Surely it’s not a virtue to procrastinate, yet this, I must admit is one of my vices. Don’t hold it against me, I thankfully keep my deadlines and manage to give a jolly good show when it is required. My ‘Icebreaker’ speech I now lay before the toastmaster’s club for your approval. I begin with a brief introduction of myself, so listen closely if you don’t want to miss the lurid details.

I was born in the mountain village of Ra ‘His Kal, a southern province of the Narniac range. I learnt the traditional sword fighting techniques from the Elder ones, and by the time I was 9 I slayed my first cow. In the cleansing that followed in the deceased cows blood for the next 7 days and nights, I was taught the scriptures of ancient wisdom as is passed down from generation to generation in the only allowed manner- as my father spoke the words of deep and profound meaning into my ear, I was welcomed into the brotherhood of men, and I was no longer a child from that day forth. My father was very proud indeed, for now his heir-apparent was privy to the sacred ritual of goat milking that our tribe was renowned for across the Great Desert. And when the 12th moon had passed after that, I was given nothing but a goat-skin canteen, bread, cheese and lady luck. And I set off on the dusty trail as every young man must, to seek my fortune and make my destiny. In the years to follow, I read many wise books and saw many a strange sight. In the nights, with but a stylus and many sheets of papyrus, I translated Dante’s Inferno into 3 separate languages, including Barrachan, the words of which must only be read and never spoken aloud, or so the elders say. I have scaled the walls of that structure called the lady of liberty in the disunited states of yonder, and must say the view from her crown is one to behold. I saved the lives of young tiger cubs in the harsh unforgiving Sahara, and fed them with my own bare hands while the desert storm raged around us. When I aged to be 15, I had figured out the solutions to end poverty, famine, disease, pollution, cancer and plague and had realized the answers to bring about world peace and prosperity… unfortunately, my sheets of papyrus were stolen by bandits in Ramgarh to be used to heat their rancid bowls of soup.

[10 second pause]

Of course I’m kidding, who’d you expect, Superman?

My name’s S_ R_. I’ve been born and brought up in Bangalore, and have lived a peaceful life forever. My primary, high school and pre-university education were in schools and colleges you’ve definitely heard about, and passed by without a second glance; yet to me they signify years of torture and punishment. I’ve played our national pastime cricket and become a master at the other national pastime, namely sledging. My daily routine for the past ten years include rigorous channel surfing, burping and trips to the fridge. I’ve troubled every boyfriend my sister brought home for parental approval, and hence have been extremely girlfriend-less forever. I didn’t mind it too much, I had time for other educational experiences, and I am of course talking about video games and the internet. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my elders, it’s to leave wet towels on the floor and never leave a tip for a waiter. The books I’ve read are profound and deep, especially the ones where Jughead always gets the better of Reggie. Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham and Dan Brown have taught me the essential principles of life- that if you’ve got a half baked idea with the words ‘thriller’, ‘suspense’ and ‘murder’ in them, you can make a million dollars overnight by making a half baked story about it.

I like listening to all types of music – be it the stomach churning lyrics of Cradle of Filth, or the melodious tunes of Tchaikovsky. I also have influences ranging from Upendra’s “15 to 20 danger” to the street talk of Eminem and his profanities. I tried learning to play the drums for three months, but gave up when I realized I had no talent… besides, I needed an actual pair of drums, and the tablas I was playing with were wearing thin.

I’ve been an English Movie buff all my life. My all time favourite movies include Ben Hur, Schindler’s List, and Meet the Parents. We all have dreams, and one of my dreams is to see my name on the silver screen someday, as the director of a major movie, sold out to crowds across the world. The real dream? That this movie would be one in a series of cinematic adaptations of the Ramayan and MahaBharat. Far fetched? Maybe, but that’s the power of dreams, my friends; to take an imagination and make it reality.

My parents love me… which is why they take a one month trip to a European locale every year, just to get away from me. Don’t get me wrong, I love them too. They’ve always supported me all through my life, and shared my happiness and sorrow alike. They’ve always let me make my choices throughout my life, and though this might mean that I’m still confused about which path to choose, I’m atleast happy that I have the freedom to make my own choice of path… and truly I’m happy to say that I’m satisfied with these choices, and owe a lot of this freedom to Mom and Dad.

My sister’s a perpetual oddball, and this was always reflected in her colour of nailpolish. I love her too, because she’s always taught me to fight society and be whatever it was I wanted to be. Too bad she doesn’t know I want to become a gynecologist.

And that’s my story so far, Ladies and Gentlemen. I like the person I’ve become. And I’m unsure of the future, as many of you must be too. I have hopes and dreams, admire the past and the future, have tasted success and failure, justified the pros and cons of my life, been an optimist and pessimist, been a skeptic and a believer, and season my meat with salt and pepper.

But seriously, that’s all there is to me. I’m you’re average Joe, a guy on the street. I’d like to finish my speech with a story I recently heard…

[Some story meant to distract the audience]

I’m done for now. Over to the MC.