Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Its all in the name - icebreaker

After coming back to Chennai, I've re-joined Toastmasters. In a span of 11 months, the people who were my "batch mates", have improved leaps and bounds and it feels so happy to see them sauntering on the stage, as if they own the place. The kind of confidence that they exude is amazing and having seen both ends of their performances I am Live witness to their growth story. I wanted to start afresh and was pestering the folks to give me a chance to get back into the groove. It took a whole 6 weeks for them to even consider my "petty-shun" and finally they told me, if I could find a mentor I can start giving my prepared speeches. Luckily the best speaker of the lot was available on the very day I was searching for my guru and he willingly agreed. Another victim unknown of the proverb "look before you leap".

Ice breaker is the first topic in the Competent Communicator manual, per which one has to talk about themselves for close to 7 minutes. Somehow the people who have designed the categories have decided that, for nascent speakers, talking about themselves. Year after year when it comes to the self appraisal time, how much of a struggle it is, is something most of us would've felt and undergone. And since I had already spoken once on the same topic, its doubly tougher. So, here goes nothing. Another attempt to win the coveted ribbon :)

Chennai and month of May are synonymous with 2 things.

Its little wonder you would hardly find many Chennai born Gemini's. 3 decades back, it was no less cooler. On a tar melting Thursday afternoon, a lady was struggling on the labour ward of a leading hospital to deliver her first born. And yeah. That was me. I wasn't told whether they were present in the hospital or not at the time of my delivery, but it seems like most grand parents, mine too was very eager about my time of birth. Right on dot I was born at 2.45 PM, at peak rahukalam, a not so auspicious time of the day. Rahukalam became my name call for my granddad, much to the chagrin of my mom.

At my naming ceremony, my mom had wanted me to be named Shankar. Somehow the elders of the family always want to thrust their spear of importance on such occasions. My uncle, decided to use his veto at that very moment and he wanted to include his guru's name in mine. So what would've been just Shankar got a Vidhya prefixed to it and so were scores of embarrassing situations, Vidya being a common name amongst girls. Just to give an oneliner on those situations, there were 3 vidhya's on my class, me being the only guy and to add to misery there were a couple of Nithya's and Divya's as well. Till today, whenever someone says YEAH loudly, I would turn in that direction, wondering if it could've been me, they are addressing. And since I was studying in a CBSE school, the demography was a mix and match of kids from all over India. So naturally, vidhya went through many transformations and finally settled on Bidda. I seriously doubt if anyone from my school would know me by my real name or full name.

After a dozen years, having been addressed by a variety of spelling, I entered into my UG course, with hopes of making a "name" for myself. Preferably my original one. Fate had different plans for me. To put it mildly, the nick name I was rechristened, stuck with me forever and it has almost became an alter ego of mine.

Then I moved on to my office life. And had forgotten about my name related issues for a while. All throughout I had always thought mine is an unique name with an even unique spelling. And contrary to the saying that lightening never strikes the same place twice, I am now in a team where my manager is also a vidyashankar. Almost every single day, atleast one mail per day gets addressed wrongly to us and after a lot of debating and arguing and wrangling, we have finally decided that I would be addressed by my full name and he would be called as vidya. As they say, life has come a full circle.

For the very first time, in my conscious life, an official decree has been passed on my name and everyone is addressing me by my full name. For my manager though, its still not redemption time, yet. Until, another vidya enters the scene, I guess I will enjoy the ownership. So long folks. Will try to catch up with you soon. (This is what I've planned to say coming Tuesday, if things go well and I do get a chance to speak)


Ramesh said...

Simply brilliant. Are you the big boss of Toastmasters ??? You don't need any mentor or coaching, when you can write a speech like this.

Plizz to webcast the event. We'll all cheer madly for you.

Seriously, you have written this so so well.

Anonymous said...

Record it in your mobile and whatsapp us please

Asha said...

A rose by any other namennu...avaru baatukku sollitu poittar illa? Bidda nna telugu la sister-in-law/baby...andha peru eppidi vandudu?

Anonymous said...

you promised to call me and do a trial run remember? :(
BTW, idhu epidi projector la pottu padikkardhukka!!! :D
- Vid :)

Preethi said...

Captivating narration!
I loved the opening; very cinematic. :)
And advance wishes for a happy birthday...

gils said...


thanks thala :) big boos thaan :D adutha vaaram thaan pesings..pona varam mothers day eventngarathala cancel panitaanga

gils said...


hmmm...recordlam panuvangala therila..wl chk


hehehe..vidya->vidda->bidda..nenu manchi bidda :D so baby is the rightu meaningisthaanu :d

gils said...

:)) projectorlaam ila...manapaada paguthi


heyy :) thanks