Tag Archives: public speaking

Chicago Traveler

Buckingham Fountain

There are certain stories which are so motivating that they become promises. The story of Swami Vivekananda addressing the Chicago religious conference of 1893 holds a special position in my heart. I was 9 or 10 years old, going through a stage fright when mother told me this story. That was the first lesson in public speaking. I was so inspired that I made a promise to myself, I would visit that stage one day. Years passed, I completed my education and started working. There were many times I passed through Chicago, once my flight got cancelled and I spent a night in Chicago. I began to wonder why I always have long stop overs in Chicago. It took me a while to realize, it was the promise of that 9 year old me.

Downtown

Garden

Finally last Friday, I visited Chicago. That auditorium is part of The Art Institute of Chicago. By the time I checked in to the Hotel, it was almost time for the Museum to close, so I wandered around. The downtown presents an amazing combination of History as well as modernization. The heat of the summer is cooled by the Buckingham Fountain. It is surrounded by sprawling gardens. One can easily spend hours roaming around it. There are ice cream and juice shops nearby to sit and talk. But I started walking towards the cloud gate. Although it was Friday, the streets were crowded with tourists. I passed through the Art Institute which was about to close. The Cloud Gate was another beautiful sight, everyone wanted to see their reflection. It is very entertaining to see people coming up with unique poses for their photos. A walk in Gardens, Cloud Gate and Buckingham Fountain. That was my first day as Chicago traveler.

Cloud Gate

The Ultimate reason

They say a motivated person can meet any challenge. Also when you are focused on something, circumstances will complicate. This turned out to be absolutely true for me this weekend. I had qualified for the Toastmasters division contest for motivational speaking which was scheduled on 18th March 2017. The only problem was that the venue was 80 miles from my home. I had always had someone guide me while driving whenever I went for long drives. But this time, there was no one. If it were something else I would have cancelled, but it was public speaking my passion. Hence my only friend was google maps. A day before, it snowed heavily. Below is the status of the road.

A day before

My mother suggested me to go ahead and trust Almighty. I kept practicing my speech but all the while the drive was a big tension. A day before leaving I requested my manager to be available on phone incase I get lost. He replied, I would be able to make this drive if I have driven atleast 10 miles alone. This was very encouraging. Also everyone in my Monroeville Toastmasters club motivated me. My friends Ravi and Saritha also supported me. So on 18th morning at 7:00 am, I set out with google maps indicating the direction. After driving for 2 miles, the map holder slipped. I had to park at a nearby mall and fix it. Then I started driving. The snow on the road had been cleared but it was raining. At some places, the fog was so dense that one could barely see few steps ahead. Luckily there was less traffic and often it seemed, I was the only person on the road. At times I wished there was someone to take pictures of the road. There were postcard views with clouds shadowing the trees. I made it to the venue before time. I gave my speech at the International speech contest for Division C. Once I heard the speeches, it was worth the drive. Once done, I drove back home again 80 miles. This time there were many cars on the road. Although I could not make it to top 3 speeches, this trip will still be memorable to me as it was the first time when I drove all on my own. Challenges are difficult but all you need is the Ultimate reason to meet it. For me it was public speaking. I thank, Monroeville Toastmasters Club, my mother and to everyone who supported me. Without you all I would not have made this trip.