It has been a privilege to be the President of Toastmasters Community Club, Bhubaneswar.
There’s a quality of infiniteness, more so to some memories than the others. Not necessarily because, they occupied the longest stretches of time in our lives. But because, some memories just stay. When you go back to them, you stumble upon something new each time. It’s baroque. That newness is able to find a place in something of the bygone is an indicator of the enduring presence of that memory in our present lives. That you revisit them shows something, means something. For me, one such infinity was being the President of TMCC. I enjoyed being a member of the club, a member of the Executive Committee as well. But to be the President was something else. A matter of immense pride and austere dignity.
It was like hosting a grand party. You were the face of the show, the charming host of the party. Where everybody gorged themselves on the umpteen delicacies on offer. There was no entry restriction. Anybody and everybody were allowed a seat at your party. You only had to welcome them, make them feel at home. You could spot an initial reluctance beneath their nervous smiles and anxious claps, melting into an unadulterated joy once they were on the same page as you. Inevitably, almost miraculously, that happened unfailingly every single time. The guests were pleased by the end of the party. They left boisterous praises and on rare occasions told with honesty, how the party could have done with different drinks and lesser loudness.
The cooks, the musicians, the singers, the light guys, the manager, the event coordinators, the bhaiyas (folks you fall back upon whenever you need something)- the big crew arranged the show. However, when the guests arrived, and the music played, the spotlight was on you, or so you thought. At first, you took a moment to take in the grandeur of your own show. You felt powerful. You smiled at the view of so many stars gravitating towards the spell of ‘your’ show. You rockstar-ed into the welcoming, and then into the next episodes, that the manager took care of. You could then spot genuine smiles, peals of laughter. You felt the high of cocaine. But then, slowly as the first dose of euphoria left you, you summoned up some wisdom, to notice, quite clearly- how the food prepared with blood, sweat, and tears by the cooks, was being appreciated, how the lights set by the light guys brought a creamy glow on your guests, how the manager kept the guests engaged with his anecdotes, how the musicians played tunes they had been practicing for days, how the event coordinators tried their bit to embellish the gold of your party, how the bhaiyas were always on their toes to deal with an unexpected exigency. At that moment, you felt an unmistakable wave of gratefulness washing you over, triggering a realization within you- it wasn’t solely your party, after all. It was the entire crews’. It was their kindness to let you be the face of the show. You couldn’t help but feel an ocean of gratitude towards them.
You are the president. Your crew is the Executive Committee(EC) and the role-players.
Well, that was quite an analogy. To be honest, a little too long. One tends to get emotional while writing. It is the curse of the writer. Or should I say it happens more so when one is writing about things held close to heart? For my part, let me clarify.
I became the President of TMCC on 1st January 2019. It’s been 8 great months, involving one re-election too. The first tenure lasted 6 months, as is the norm of Toastmasters International. The opportunity to do something for the club seduced me into another term. During this time, we became the President’s Distinguished Club, won some other awards as well. The credit for all of these goes to each member of the club.
To be honest, the presidentship journey has also been full of crucial learnings. To coordinate with the EC and work with my club members to make every session a success was a driver to me like few other. You learn that not every team member is like you. Different people are driven by different aspirations. People management is 90% ego management, and it is true in every sphere of social life. It also taught me how a true leader should always be open to suggestions and feedback, while simultaneously holding onto his own.
Presidentship did to my attitude what life does to a learner. It kept teaching my attitude, steadily, and in the process shaped and subsequently, transformed it. During my time, I have had so many moments that I am going to keep with me for long. As you can see, perhaps I am too fond of Presidentship of TMCC to abandon it. But.
I will avoid the cliche, ‘all good things must come to an end’. What I will tell you though is this. Life is always constantly changing. Goals change. Accordingly, our schedule. If somebody asked me in the middle of the night to preside over a TMCC session, I would happily do it. It was that important and fun an affair to me. But as I said our lives are in constant motion. Due to my focus on some other goals, I think my stepping down from the post has become inevitable, and pragmatic. It was not an easy decision to arrive at. But such is life. We are hopping from one to the next, missing the past and hoping for the next to be the best, till the last.
Toastmaster Saurya is going to succeed me as the President of TMCC. I wish him all the very best. I would like to thank the entire ECs of the two terms for their constant teamwork and unwavering support. A special thanks to TM Anand, TM Abhishek and TM Sipa for their valuable guidance. One of the founding fathers of the club, TM Abhishek has put some solid frameworks in place that differentiate TMCC practically from every other club in the pack. He deserves a mention solely for that.
When you can’t put all the photos into a single collage as there are so many of them, you know it has been fun and memorable. To think that ‘Good Evening fellow Toastmasters and my dear guests. I welcome you all to the 185th session of Toastmasters Community Club, Bhubaneswar’ was my last time, is hard to swallow. To imagine that ‘We take immense pride in the fact that TMCC is the only community club in the state of Odisha’ wouldn’t be uttered again by me makes me emotional. There’s a silver lining to this though. From now on, one wouldn’t have to bear a tall guy sporting a big perennial smile!
It has been an absolute honor to be the President of TMCC.