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Newsletter from the City of Joy Toastmasters Club

Flint and Flame

Club Details
Number: 1496270
District: 41
Area: H01

Issue: 2016/02
From the Editor Gaurav Agarwal
The Presidents Message Vaibhav Jhunjhunwala
Toastmasters The Beautiful Garden Md. Afzal
Conquering the Fear of Public Arnab Nag
Magical Monsoon Sumit Vanjani

Knowledge is Not Power Vaibhav Jhunjhunwala

Meet our Mentors Himadri Gorai & Vinita
Tackling a Table Topic Arnab Nag
A Dream Sumit Vanjani
Open the Cage & Fly Sushmita Thapa

Insert club group photo

From the Editor

Patience has it reward. Nothing of substance happens in a jiffy.

Gaurav Agarwal

Chinese bamboo tree is a tree which grows to a height of over eighty feet.
It takes around five years and three months for the Chinese bamboo tree to grow to its full height.
But the interesting part is that for the first five years after the seed is planted, you will see nothing. Absolutely
nothing, perhaps may be a little shoot springing and struggling to stay up. But then in the next ninety days, it shoots
up to a towering height of eighty feet.
For the first five years, all the growth is invisible, below the surface. The Chinese bamboos roots create a complex
network, like a miniature version of Indian Railways. It is these strong roots that, when fully developed, help support
a tree that will soar above all else. In the next ninety days it becomes as tall as an eight storeyed building.
In Toastmasters also the growth in the initial months is invisible. While giving the speeches from the competent
communicator manual and taking up various roles in the meetings from the competent leadership manual we build
the foundation that is required for us to reach greater heights. All too often, we are unwilling to wait for the pay-off,
and tend to settle for shorter trees, we tend to avoid giving speeches or taking up roles. Every major achievement is
almost always preceded by years of toil, hard work and determination. Benjamin Franklin famously said Resolve to
perform what you ought; Perform without fail what you resolve.
The Toastmaster year 2015-16 has been a successful one for the club. We managed to achieved the Select
Distinguished Club Award and Beat the Clock membership award. We also had our first triple crown winner from the
club, apart from some achievements at the Area Level Contest. From 10 members to 23 members the club has grown
leaps and bound in the past one year and I am sure we will keep the momentum going in the next year.
It has been a pleasure to bring the second edition of Flint & Flame out. I would like to thank all the members and well
wishers for providing the support and helping me out with the newsletter. I also wish the upcoming EC all the best
and may our club reach greater heights.

The Presidents message

A wise man once said, you dont need to be great to start, but you need to start in order to become great.
City of Joy Toastmasters Club was chartered by an energetic and inspiring group of people on 1st June, 2010.
It was because of their initiative many people including me are reaping benefits and will keep on enjoying it for a long
Toastmasters International is a treasure I found 2 years ago. I was astonished to find a community where people from all
the walks of life were delivering speeches and providing positive feedback to each other. They were applauding for every
speaker. Even the smallest of improvement or effort was being praised and appreciated. Everyone was extremely
encouraging, friendly, supportive and kind hearted. People were meeting with great exuberance and exchanging smiles
with each other. Learning and laughter was the agenda for the day. I immediately decided to be a lifelong part of this

Vaibhav Jhunjhunwala

2 years fast forward, it amazes me how it never ceases to teach something new every time I connect with it. It has not
just made me a better speaker, critical thinker, good listener, keen observer, facilitator and a leader, but has also made
me a better human being. I notice and praise good things people say or do more often. I am able to provide helpful and
constructive feedback in and outside of Toastmaster. I have become a more confident and happy person.
There is a simple formula for reaping the most benefits out of the Toastmasters journey These are 3 Ps Preparation,
Practice and Participate. If we can prepare our speeches and roles diligently, practice them as much as possible and
participate on a regular basis in club meetings, training programs, contests, etc. then our experience can be even more
enriching and fulfilling.
I wish all the courage and enthusiasm to the members and leaders.

Keep Communicating, Keep Challenging and Keep Celebrating!!

TOASTMASTERS - The Beautiful Garden

As a seed unaware of its inner potential...
I laid on the open ground...
I couldn't have got the drive to grow...
Had I not "Toastmasters" found...
Wind picked me up and carried me in its arms...

Through the "Ice-breaker", it helped me to come out of my comfort shell...

Life took control of itself and started chanting charms...

And now I am determined to grow and excel...

Everything remained the same but my life started moving faster...

I never knew that I was destined to be a Toastmaster...

In the beautiful garden of Toastmasters...

Around me, I see beautiful growing trees...

Today, Of the Toastmasters - the beautiful garden, I am a part...

To it, is given a part of my heart...
One of its most beautiful fruit-bearing tree, I want to become...
So as to inspire and help every seed which in this garden, may come...

Who make positive influence on other's lives, with ease...

and where Respect(R), Integrity(I), Service(S) and Excellence(E) is felt in
the breeze...

The environment of Toastmasters - the beautiful garden, nurtures me well...

It helps me explore the potential that in me, dwell...

Md. Afzal

Conquering the FEAR of Public Speaking

Some time back, a friend of mine learned that I had become a
Competent Communicator. He also learned that I had delivered
speeches in other Toastmaster clubs with different audiences in
different venues. He was amazed! He said Wow, you probably
dont get stage fright anymore. I thought about the question
for a while and answered, Actually, I still do. I dont think it
ever goes away. Stage fright only shows that youd like to do
well and care enough to deliver a good speech. The key is to
manage stage fright so you control it rather than it controlling
A couple of years back while delivering a speech at the Division
level, the battery of my microphone (one of those that are
attached to your shirt), came off. I now had a tail dangling as I
moved on stage. The nervousness in me multiplied. (I as already
nervous as it was a Division contest). Looking back I jotted a few
options on dealing with the feeling.
According to Wikipedia, the fear of public speaking affects as
much as 75% of all people. It is generally the number one fear,
even surpassing the fear of death. One cause of this fear may be
due to a bad speaking experience. By that token, if you begin to
have positive speaking experiences, then this fear should
decrease. Volunteering may sound radical, but the idea is to
start small and then build upon these small successes. Start
with small

groups and with topics that you are very familiar with. Impromptu
speaking in Table Topics is one good venue to strengthen selfconfidence and quick thinking. Instead of waiting to be called or
praying in earnest that someone else gets called in Table Topics,
volunteer. The spirit of volunteerism means stepping out of your
comfort zone and trying new things.
If theres one tip that motivational books will tell you, it is
"Practice, practice, practice!" This is where you run the whole
process of learning to organize your thoughts, putting your ideas
on paper, rehearsing the speech, eye contact, gestures, body
movement, vocal variety, etc. There is saying among actors in
theater that the hard work is in the preparation, the relaxation is
in the performance. To them, the delivery is just a manifestation
of what has been prepared beforehand. Practice gains you
mastery. If you wait until the last minute, you will be more
nervous. The more you practice the more you will feel
comfortable and decrease you anxiety.
One of the reasons we fear speaking is the fear of the unknown. If
you close your eyes and visualize yourself successfully delivering
the speech, you will literally trick your brain into believing youve
done it before and you wont feel as nervous. Thats the power of

visualization. Believe in yourself that you will do well. Create a

mantra I will do well. Repeat several times just before you stand to
speak. And chances are, you will do well. Just remind yourself that
you have something valuable to say and act confidently.
Coming back to my tale (or tail), I had the following options
Let my fear conquer me and stop my speech thereby ending my part
in the contest
Stop my speech, adjust the microphone & then continue
Continue my speech with a tail
Adjust the microphone while continuing my speech
Now, I had already done my homework. I had volunteered for the
contest and qualified till the Division level. I had practiced very hard
and knew my speech like the back of my hand. Since I had practiced,
I believed I could continue. So I chose the fourth option-adjusting
the microphone while I was speaking and tweak the content to make
it a part of the speech. I received a huge applause when I ended and
went on to finish second in the contest.

That event taught me that experience, preparation and the proper

mindset collectively helped in managing my stage fright and
The next time you face stage fright, remember in Toastmasters you are
applauded and appreciated no matter what you say on the podium.
So my dear Toastmasters, why not complete the speech and get the

Arnab Nag

Magical Monsoon
And then it rained
The tumultuous raindrops,
the insignia from the heavens above,
The harbinger of mirth, the banisher of melancholy.
The sudden flashes of lightening, the reverberation of thunder,
The elixir of life sans colour !
And then it rained
Somewhere there did a peacock dance,
Somewhere there did a farmer rejoice,
Somewhere there was a prayer answered.
And then it rained
The heavens burst asunder,
The ebb and flow of the tides,
The energy of the waves lashing the shores!!
And then it rained
The rain on the rooftops,
The rain on the grains of sand,
Rain like a dream in the midst of the night,
Rain like a thunderbolt of joy !!

Sumit Vanjani

Knowledge is NOT Power !

There was an era when possessing super natural abilities
was the real power. It was followed by an era when family
and friends were power. Then came an era when land and
property was judged as power. We shifted to an era when
money and jewels became power.

Let us examine certain cases -

In the 21st Century, we live in an era when Knowledge is

regarded as power. Knowledge is a necessity. Knowledge is
important. Knowledge is valuable. But, is knowledge
enough to thrive?

Assume I have enrolled for a course on How to

invest in stock market and quickly become rich.
After few months, I successfully complete the course
as well. After a while, it becomes difficult for me to
find out time for investing in the stock market. Will I
be able to quickly become rich? I am afraid the
answer is No, not even in a century.

Let us find it out.


We acquire knowledge right from childhood from our

parents and family members. We start receiving formal
education when we enter into play school. Completing
School education is a necessity. Graduating from a college is
important. Achieving Post graduate diplomas, Master
degrees and PhD. are valuable. Yet, the students who
acquire tons of knowledge and pass out with flying colours
struggle to become successful in what they pursue in life. A
college degree is a proof that we are capable of learning. It
helps us to get an entry level job. It seldom helps us to
climb the ladder and reach to the top. We need something
more to make our dreams come true. We are slowly moving
in an era when Knowledge wont be powerful anymore.

Because I couldnt take out time to practically APPLY

the concepts and techniques learned in class. After
some time, all the unapplied lessons will become
just information or unutilised data. All what I had
learnt will unconsciously start flushing out of the

The question here is, what is that tool which will give us

One more example Assume, I want to become a

great Public Speaker. I can read hundreds of books
on Public Speaking and know how to deliver
impactful Presentations. I can acquire enormous
information. Yet, it wont guarantee me to win the
World Championship of Public Speaking the first
time I speak in front of an audience.

Do you know why? Its because, I have not practically practiced it

yet. All the unutilised knowledge is like useless information, data
and facts. It is same as hard disk filled with unnecessary files and
folders. It is just taking up disk space.
The real learning will take place when we stand out to speak in front
of an audience and practice it. Doing both the right things in right
ways or even committing horrible mistakes can teach us what works
and what doesnt. But, doing nothing about the acquired knowledge
will lead us nowhere. The trick is to start somewhere, do something
about it, and take even a small step of action.
After thousands of experiments and research studies it has been
found that the best way to learn something is to apply the lessons.
Learning by doing and experimenting is the ultimate method to hone
any skill and become powerful.

Tips for the Topicsmaster

We read hundreds of books, follow blogs and watch thousands of

videos. But how many concepts do we apply in reality. I am not
saying to not get college degrees or avoid reading books. We need to
learn every day. My point is if we can apply even one takeaway from
each book, it has the power to transform our life. Try out new things.
Experiment as much as we can. Become a lifelong learner.

Knowledge is potential power. When the knowledge is applied, it

becomes powerful.

The great aim of education, said Herbert Spenser is not knowledge

but action.

Vaibhav Jhunjhunwala

Be Prepared! Plan topics that reflect the meeting theme.

Dare to be creative and unique, even unconventional.
Remember, Table Topics is not a quiz or test of knowledge,
but an opportunity tothink and speak quickly. Choose
topics that allow this.
One word, short phrases or simple questions are best.
Avoid long explanations or setups.
Keep your introductory comments short, state timing limits
for the benefits of the guests and new members.
Give positive comments after every speech, it will motivate
others to volunteer.
After visitors have seen a few responses, invite them to
participate, letting them know they are free to decline if
they prefer.
Watch your total time. Adjust the number of topics so your
segments end on time.

Meet OUR Mentors

Past Area Director Arnab Nag,
ACG , ALB, is a member of two
clubs, City of Joy Toastmasters
Club & TCS Kolkata Maitree Club.
He works in TCS as Information
Technology Analyst.

speech and I understood how toastmasters can really help improve ones
public speaking skills. Arnab was also the first person to help me about
the process of registering as a member. He has this charming yet down to
earth personality where he easily stands out in a crowd, however you
never feel apprehensive while approaching him for help.

Himadri Gorai joined City of Joy

Toastmasters Club in February
2016. He works in TCS as an
Assocaiate Consultant.

Himadri, Why did you joined Toastmasters?

I came to know about Toastmasters from my TCS colleagues long back. I
was interested about it from the beginning. But my project assignments
never allowed me to join the TCS toastmasters club on weekdays.
However, this year I decided that I will find a Toastmaster club in
Kolkata with a convenient meeting time for me. I found out that the
City of Joy Toastmasters Club holds its meetings on Sundays. There was
no holding back after that.

What was your first impression about Arnab?

On the day I first came to CJTM Toastmasters as a guest, Arnab was
delivering his P10 from the CC manual. I was really spellbound by his

What do you like best about Arnab?

The best thing about Arnab is that he does not boast about his abilities
even though he has been involved with Toastmasters for 3 long years and
given umpteen number of excellent speeches. He likes to do his job
silently but effectively. His performance actually speaks for him.

How does he help you?

Arnab has reviewed all my projects and provided very constructive
feedback about those. Right from small changes like omitting some words
to giving broad ideas like how to develop specific purpose for the speech.
His feedback has always been very helpful and helped me improve my
content a lot.

How has Toastmasters helped you in your job?

Earlier I thought, if I give a long speech people will get bored and will lose
focus. But now I understand that if I mix some natural sense of humour
and pose some questions to the audience then stay involved. This way I
can make people listen to me for a longer period without them feeling
bored. This has been a very good realization for me after I joined

Past Area Director

Pallavi Poddar is a
member of Kolkata
Toastmasters Club

Vinita Dayani , is the current VP Education of City of Joy

Toastmasters Club . She joined Toastmasters in 2013.

Tell us about your mentor?

Pallavi has always been a guiding light, a supportive and motivating
person who never believes in giving up on anything no matter how
difficult it may turn out to be. This is what she preaches and teaches
to all her mentees.

How long do you know her?

I know her since the very First day I stepped into Kolkata
Toastmasters Club, greeted by her charming and lovely smile for
which she is celebrated.

What is the best advice Pallavi has given you?

There are scores of advices which she has given to help me in public
speaking. The one that will always sticks to my mind is -Believing
and being committed to whatever I do or say irrespective of the

How has she helped you improve your skills?

This person has helped me become a better leader than a speaker.
Looking at her determination to quickly rise through the ranks and
become the Area director has been an inspirational journey. The way she
has been able to manage her work front, family front and toastmasters is
truly phenomenal. Her mentoring has really taught me how to bring life
into speeches through detailed descriptions. She has become more of a
friend than a mentor to me who is easily approachable. If you haven't
been mentored by her yet, you are missing out on foundational public
speaking skills.

What is her mentoring style?

She has an artistic way of mentoring-adapting to the other person's
thought process and understanding their perceptions about different
things is what makes her evergreen!

What success can you attribute to Pallavis mentoring?

Well, I can say one thing that after having been mentored by this
beautiful and benevolent person for my very first speech, I got a totally
novel insight of public speaking which boosted my confidence not only as
a speaker but also as a person in different walks of life. I'm that disciple
who would attribute every small victory in her life to this person who
changed it by leaps and bounds.

Tackling a TABLE TOPIC !!

Asalto mentales (mental assault) is probably the best way to
describe the table topics section of a Toastmasters session. This is
when the predator (the Table Topics Master) is on the hunt & the
prey (Toastmasters) desperately look for a place to hide. However, as
Napoleon said, "Impossible is a word that does not exist in my
dictionary", there are ways to turn the tables.
Let us consider a topic "The grass is greener wherever it is watered.


Most of the times, we get so nervous when we are called that we

don't even listen to the topic. Invariably, we either go off topic or
have nothing to say beyond 30 seconds.
The topic is repeated twice so it is best to listen to it carefully & then
start speaking. If you don't listen to the topic carefully, you will start
speaking on "The grass is greener on the other side" (which is a
common proverb).
The length of the topic can vary (5-12 words) so it is extremely
important to filter out certain key words. The words usually consist
of what is being talked about, what is its description/condition and
how it achieved this state. You can then speak on those words &
ensure you don't go off topic.
In the topic, the key words are "grass", "greener", "watered". So we
are talking about grass. Its description/condition is greener. This can
be achieved by watering it.


Once you know the keywords, you need to relate them to

some common activity/event/thing. This will ensure you can
speak easily on it & the audience will be able to relate to it.
Common examples can be loss, gain, opportunity, lessons,
point of view, etc.
In the above mentioned topic, grass being green only it is
watered, you can talk about hard work being the key to
success, patience & perseverance, grabbing or creating
A good start ensures half the work is done. If you begin with
a bang, you will have the audience's attention throughout
your speech (as you only need to speak for 1-2 minutes). You
can begin with a gesture or by quoting someone (as stated
Quoting a great personality of using a proverb/idiom will
enhance your speech & help the relate to it. But you must be
careful to keep it in context.
For example you can say, "Success is 99% perspiration & 1%
inspiration." This means only if keep watering will your grass
be green. However if you can't think of anything, it is better
to avoid using a saying or proverb.

Using it just for the sake of using it will not work. Also please don't
quote something off-topic like, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
A personal story along with relevant examples can enhance your
speech. You simply need to ensure that they are related to the topic.
For the above topic, you can narrate an incident where your hard work
paid off. You can then cite examples of greats like Sachin Tendulkar and
Thomas Edison who practised hard in order to be perfect.
A table topic is like a mini-speech so it must have proper transitions. If
you move jerkily from one topic to another, you will lose the
audience's attention. Smooth transitioning ensures the audience is
clearly able to view the picture you are trying to paint. You can start
with a quote & then move to a couple of examples (as discussed
above) before concluding your topic.
All's well that ends well. You too need to conclude your speech. The
conclusion should be a summary of your speech with a message which
the audience can take home.

Arnab Nag

For example, you can end the topic by saying,

"Sachin kept working hard each day & Edison
did not give up in spite of numerous failures so all you need to do is
keep working hard & success will definitely come your way.


You have 1-2 minutes to speak & this can be too little or too much
depending on the situation.
TOO MUCH: If you are out of ideas, take a small pause to gather your
thoughts. But you must ensure that this isn't too long as it will then work
against you. If you need time at the beginning of your speech you can
repeat the topic.
TOO LITTLE: Sometimes if the topic is simple, we tend to get carried
away & speak so much that we run out of time. To avoid this, use not
more than one story & two examples in your speech. Also you should
start your conclusion as soon as you see the yellow card so that you are
not rushed in the end.
With these simple tricks/strategies you can never go wrong in a table
topic. Remember you only need to speak for 1-2 minutes & you get
applauded no matter what you say. Suddenly asalto mentales becomes
relajacin (relaxation) and you are ready to volunteer not as a
sacrificial lamb, but as a confident speaker.
Would you not agree fellow toastmasters?

A Dream !
And lo! Just then the lights went out. The room was briefly lit
by the momentary flash of lightning, but just for a bit. The
eerie combination of darkness and silence shrouded the
room again. Tumultuous raindrops halted the silence again.
Almost overcome by fear, she groped for the candle in the
drawer. But there was none. Was her memory failing her?
She remembered having kept a used candle and a match box
in the drawer. Absorbed in thoughts, she heard the room
door slam. The wind had picked up speed as if to provide a
heady cocktail in al already strong drink.
The human brain is wired to start imagining things almost
instantaneously. She now heard footsteps. Not outside but in
the very room. Had she forgotten to lock the door? Her
thoughts raced to a few minutes ago. She remembered that
when she had returned home, she had locked the door. There
cannot be anyone in the house. Had a burglar sneaked in?
She found herself unable to move. Excitement and fear
together create a force strong enough for us mortals to
temporarily suspend all out faculties. Was it a apparition?
She did not believe in the goblins? She never did. She found
her strength returning.
Just then she heard a knock on the door. Soft initially, and
then louder, and louder. Open the door! It was a heavy voice.
It was not a request. Someone commanded her to open the
door. Open the door NOW. Her hands trembled. In the near

dark room, she stumbled while she tried to reach the

door. As if the command was not enough, there was a
loud clap of thunder almost pushing off her feet. She told
herself - you need to be brave, let there be
no fear. Hands still trembling, she reached for the bolt.
With a prayer on her lips, she slowly opened the door.
One voice in her told her to run away. But courage seems
to have got the better of her. She did behold a short and
rather stout man with unkempt hair and bloodshot eyes
looking straight at her face. He was clad in rather old and
worn out clothes. He held a candle in one hand. It was
flickering, and the glow from the candle created grotesque
shapes all around, with some shadows as if there were
goblins lurking all around her. The man reached out his
hand and said Here is the candle you were looking for, I
have lit it up for you, and have a rest - well restless night.
Good Night.
Scream ! She sat up in bed. There was no rain, there was
no power outage. There was no goblin in sight. All was
calm except her recent shriek. Welcome to DREAMLAND !

Sumit Vajani

Open the Cage and Fly !

Dedicated to all the children who are the victims of abuse

Let it flow; let it flow;

How can you loose hope and say you have lost the battle

Let the precious pearls of your eyes flow,

Open your eyes and realise your inner power.

Like a river flowing with rage and pride.

You are as mighty as the holy Ganges,

Dont STOP it

As strong as the great Himalayas,

Today is the day to free yourself from the grief.

As free as the eagle, flying above as high as the sky.

But I must ask you, who do you think you are?

You are not a looser;

A slave engulfed with pain and shame?

But a fighter, winning every battles of life with courage and


Or a tiny and timid creature who has no value?

Do you really deserve to go through this hell?
What are you scared of?

Wake up! Wake up from the deep slumber of hopelessnes.

Release yourself from the chains of cage
Prove yourself to those who have destroyed you.

Did you forget:

Show them the real you.

You are the Gods beautiful child made with love and care.
You are the angel of your mother,
Little princess of your father,
Apple of your brothers eye.

You know what you deserve

Life is still to be lived

- Sushmita

Re born yourself and move on with the new hope

Remember you are always special and beauiful.

Vinita Dayani
2nd Runners Up for the
Table Topic Contest
at the Area Level

Vaibhav Jhujhunwala completed

his CC, CL & ALB and the
first member to have won a
Triple Crown from the Club

A round of applause for the EC members for successfully

leading the club to theSelect Distinguished Award in the Club DCP Goals.

Executive Committee Members, Founder Members, Toastmasters from other clubs &well wishers.
who have supported City of Joy Toastmasters Club endlessly during the past six months to reach newer heights

we cant thank you ever enough!

GOD FATHERS of City of Joy Toastmasters Family

We can never thank you enough for being our guiding stars at
each and every step!!

Toastmasters International Mission

We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.
District Mission
We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.
Club Mission
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and
leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Toastmasters International Values
Integrity, Respect, Service, Excellence
Toastmasters International Envisioned Future
To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.

Executive Committee of the City of Joy Toastmasters Club (January to June, 2016)
President: Vaibhav Jhunjhunwala

Vice President, Education: Ashish Baid

Vice President, Public Relations: Madhurantika Moulick

Secretary: Souvik Sen

Vice President, Membership: Vinita Dayani

Treasurer: Gaurav Agarwal

Sergeant At Arms: Madhumita Sahana

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