Archive for the ‘Life’ Tag


I heard this Poem at the Göteborg Toastmasters Club meeting today.. It was written by Rudyard Kipling of the Jungle Book fame.. It’s very well known (except to me, that is..) and was even voted to be the “Britain’s favorite poem”.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

—Rudyard Kipling

Shifting’s a Bitch but…

When I last moved, I had complained about how shifting is a bitch. This time however, I am using MANY of the things I mentioned about last time.

1. I am taking MANY days to pack.. I have started sorting almost 2 weeks before.

2. I am not taking MANY MANY things with me. Those will either be stored with a someone in Singapore, or sent to India with parents.

3. I am trashing even more things. This is the big one.. As I keep sorting, I come across many things which have no use now, and will most probably have no use in the future.. So what to do with them?? Trash them!!!

4. Scanning most of the documents I need. Bills, IncomeTax stuff, CFP stuff, financial stuff and all are getting scanned and saved to something like Evernote. That way I will have access to them everywhere and not have to lug thick folders around. Now only if I had that Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner..

Hopefully with all this, I should be able to fit everything I need to bring over in the 30Kgs that I am allowed and the box I am going to ship over afterwards. Let’s see!!!

Europe beckons.. and I will go!

Last year in March, I blogged about wanting to to go Europe.

Europe has always charmed me with it’s culture, it’s people, the food (especially the food) and the way people think. It might not be the best place on earth, but I do like it quiet a bit.

Having had a great exprience during my exchange days in Denmark, I have decided to go back to Europe for further studies. I will be studying Sound and Vibration, at the Chalmers University in Goteborg, Sweden.

I’ve always loved to study. My days at NUS were some of the best till then. I am hoping to learn and explore even more things in another area of my interest while I am there in Sweden. Hopefully it will open many news avenues and give me many new opportunies in the next few years.

So yes, a new chapter to my life will start in about a month’s time. It’s a two year course and so I’ll be Goteborg for next two years… :)

P.S. If you’re gonna be in that part of the world, just drop me an email/im and we can surely meetup.. :)

Where Toastmasters has brought me..

This post is a continuation from the last one, to talk about Toastmasters club.. And specically the kind of experiences and opportunities it gave me..

Being a semi-regular attendent of the club meetings (it was first year and I really didn’t have anything better to do), I was encouraged to take up the position for the club ex-co in my 2nd yr.. After much convincing I agreed, and together with my good friend who’d introduced me to the club, I stood for the ‘elections’.

I rememeber, due to some last minute changes, my election which was supposed to be a walk through (the old ex-co had planned it all), I had to stand up against my own mentor from the club. It was a wierd election speech if you’ve ever seen one. Finally, I was voted in as the SAA (Seargent-at-arms) and thus started another ride.

Being in the exco was fun and yet challenging. Managing people was hard, but successful meetings and growing members made us feel really great. We ourselves got loads of chances to become TME (Toastmaster of the Evening) and TTM (Table Topics Master) and as Evaluators as well. That was a great time to learn organisation, logistics as well as communications and public speaking.. Though we did not get to do many projects ourselves..

In my 3rd year, I went for exchange to Copenhagen. During my 6 months there, I managed to attend 1 meeting of the only local Toastmasters club. It was a bilingual club, with alternate meetings in Danish and English. I managed to attend the English meeting and take part in not only the table topics but also be the ‘Ah counter’. It was a very different experience.

The next few years were the busy years. With other commitments, my time in Toasmasters reduced to just attending meetings. Though I managed to attend quiet a few workshops, do a few more projects, take part in a few competitions, visit many other clubs. I was just trying to keep up with Toastmasters rather than acheiving anything.

Last year, two very enthusiastic ladies in my old company decided to start a Toastmasters Club inhouse. I was really excited. I attended all the meetings and was ofcourse nominated for the ex-co again having had Toastmasters experience before. It was great to see a club starting form nothing. We put in loads of efforts to spread the word, get more people in, get them excited, teach them the way of Toastmasters and make them grow.. We had to create the club culture, and induce enthusiasm into the members.

Toastmasters has really brought me a long way. The thing I learnt there don’t just stop at public speaking and communication, but are lessons in life itself. It is there I have heard some of the most motivating and also the most heart-breaking speeches.

If you’re interested in finding our more about Toastmasters, check out Toastmaster’s International. And here’s a list of clubs in Singapore.

How I started Toasting..

After listening to an episode of the The Public Speaker from the Quick and Dirty Tips network, I thought about blogging about Toastmasters.


I joined Toastmasters in my first year of university. I remember going to the matriculation fair and seeing the booth. Although I did not sign up there. I did keep a mental note to revisit the club when I had a chance.

I had been very nervous of public speaking then. I remember being made to deliver an inspirational speech at a workshop in secondary school. We were supposed to inspire and motivate our groups with speeches, to get them to rise against the other group. While the ‘leader’ of the other group gave a great speech, I, having been “saboed” by my group to be the ‘leader’ made a complete fool of myself by copying the other leader’s speech.

4 months after joining NUS, I joined the NUS Toastmaster’s Club. The meeting was in a tutorial room in the Science faculty. I was warmly welcomed and quietly sat at the back of the room. Everything was going fine, the speakers introduced the club, and how things worked and started of the meeting. And then, they asked everyone to introduce themselves! I still remember the butterflies in my stomach when I it was my turn. I had prepared my introduction before hand and was rehearsing it in my mind. When it was my chance to speak, I stood up and froze. I couldn’t get any words out of my mouth. After muttering a string of words which didn’t make any sense.. I sat down.. This was going to be a looong ride..

It took me another 6 months before I did my first speech at the club and many many more to be loose the fear I had of speaking in front of an audiance. I also ended up taking up a role in the ex-co of the club and hosting many meetings. It was a great experience and it taught me not only speaking/communication skills but also made me conformable is many situations I’d have been otherwise very nervous in..

That’s how I started with Toastmasters.. :)

You can listen to the episode of the The Public Speaker here..

Mumbai.. 26th Nov 08..

It’s really sad that I can blog again about another devastating incident in my beloved city of Mumbai.. The last was when the trains were attacked..

While I still want to say what I said last time, I think this track from A.R. Rahman’s from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I heard today, sums it up just nicely…

The word “Zikr“,  is supposed to mean the though/rememberance/memory of Allah. But you can think about anything else that incites such devotion/passion/love in you..

Ahl-e-talab aja tum ko bulai ahed Allah
Zikr se budh ke nahin hai amal koiee hai farman-e-rasool Allah
Neejaat milti hai unko yaqeenan karein jo qalb se Zikr Allah
Zikr se sur kat-ta hai Nafs ka beshaq Zikr hai saif-ullah

Zikr aman hai Zikr hai fatah Zikr shifa hai Zikr hai dawa
Zikr is Peace…Zikr is Victory…Zikr is Healing…Zikr is the Medicine

Har gul mein har rooh mein, har shey mein noor-ullah
In every flower… in every soul….in every creation is the Light of Allah
Har dil mein har pal mein reh Zikr-e-illallah
May Allah’s Zikr stay in every single heart and in every single moment

Zikr hai behtar nafrat se; Zikr hai behtar ghaflat se
Zikr is better than hatred…Zikr is better than making mistakes..
Zikr hai behtar hujat se; Zikr hai behtar gheevat se
Zikr is better than arguments…Zikr is better than backstabbing

The Indian Adventure..

Going to India is always a bitter-sweet struggle for me.. While I love the place for some reasons, other things get on my nerves. But I always manage to get caught in an “Adventure” every time I am there.. With crazy car rides, weird cops, scary weather, riots, closures.. you name it, you can get it there.. And every time, there is a guarantee that your adrenaline will get pumping by the time it’s over.

And hence I prefer to go on short vacations, too much adrenaline has never been good for anyone. And then also, by the time it starts getting on my nerves I am out of there…

But I have managed to come up with a list of “Must Do” things for each of my trips to India, and specifically to Pune.

So here is the checklist for my recent trip.

1. Have an Adventure – Check (Crazy neighbor quarreling about the fence. :S )
2. Eat great Marathi Food – Check (2 great meals, at my Aunts and Sis-in-Laws)
3. Eat great roadside Food – Check (On the way from Mumbai to Pune)
4. Drink Neera
5. Eat Paan – Check (Twice :D )
6. Shop for Clothes – Kinda Check (“Stole” from Bro.. :p)
7. Restock Music from Planet M – Check (Got around 20+ CDs/DVDs )
8. Hang out with cousins – Kinda Check (Only 1cousin was around :( )
9. Get a haircut – Check (Just made it on the last day..)
10. Go on a road trip – Kinda Check (Traveled from Mumbai to Pune in Bro’s Car )
11. Ride motorbikes – Check (Rode just a bit.. but was fun… :) )
12. Attend a concert – Check (Though had to rush off halfway through it )
13. Climb the Tekdi (hill) –

So I managed to get almost of my points.. except Neera.. Damn I crave for it now.. oh and the Tekdi.. :)

Anyway.. here are some pictures I took on the way from Mumbai to Pune..



The Road…



The vehicles…


The roadside food… Wada Pav :)

A solution for TVMobile

“Find me one sbs-transit regular who acually likes TVMobile and I will pay for your dinner”

– A close friend…

While I have not gotten my free dinner yet, I agree that TVMobile is freaking annoying.. While I am not the easiest to satisfy, with respect to entertainment, among all the people, I can’t see how anyone can enjoy watching lame TV shows, on minisucle screen, 10 feet away, with audio which breaks left and right, all of that while looking at such an angle that is sure to give you neck-aches..

But, all that I am willing to give up for a bit of peace on the bus. All I want after a long day at work, is to sit back and listen to a few tracks of the music I like, but I am forced to listen to boring TV Shows, or god forbid, overplayed episodes of “Just for Gags”..

For all those who recommend increasing the volume of my music, I do care about my ears..

Anyway, ranting aside.. I decided to come up with a win-win solution for TV Mobile, and I really hope someone from SBSTransit or relevant authority takes a look at this.. Here goes. (Please bear with me with all the assumptions I make to be fair to all parties involved.)

Problem : TV Mobile is too loud. In the already noise polluted landscape of Singapore, TV Mobile just helps to increase the noise levels in the buses. So much so that I can’t speak to the person on the next seat sometimes.

However, the investment SBSTransit in TV Mobile should also be protected. And so removing or just muting TV Mobile is not an option..

Solution : Mute TV Mobile on all buses. But keep the audio on radio, as it is already being done. And start giving out (for free) portable FM radios to SBSTransit customers. I remember getting really simple portable FM radios with only a few preset stations, a coin cell, for like a dollar. These can be given out with a pair of el cheapo earphone. Total cost, with mass production can drop really low. We are talking a wee bit more than a dollar here..

This way, people who want to listen to TV Mobile will be able to listen to it, and the others can do whatever they want, and not get annoyed.. Furthermore, there won’t be complains that TV Mobile is exclusive to only people who can afford radios.

Finally, if the portable FM radios are made such that the can only tune into one station (TV Mobile), they can also get sponsorship from the advertisers since for sure people will listen to TV Mobile.

Any more suggestions to make this case?

An afternoon at library@esplanade.

I have always loved libraries. All the books, all the potential for learning, understanding new things, picking up new ideas, concepts and arts, never fails to make me excited. I used to read a lot when I was young, but as I got older, I started having lesser and lesser time to read, and so did my visits to libraries.

The first time I came to library@esplanade was to attend a live concert of a local band Lunarin. That’s when I made a mental note to come back to this place. It was such a lovely place.

So when I found out that one of the books I needed to borrow was only available there, I decided to spend the afternoon reading and ‘working’ from the library.

And, as I found out, this place is really amazing.

(AND I really need to get a camera… really..)

The view of the Marina Bay and Singapore skyline is stunning as always. And it’s an inspiring sight when you take your eyes out of your book and look out of the window.

The library is dedicated to the Arts. There are many book, CDs, DVD about various types of arts. And the library is classified by Music, Dance, Theatre, Film… et al.

Being surrounded by all these works of artistic academia, I always get motivated to explore my own artistic side (just realized that I do have one!!). Start a new creative project.. take up something different and new…

I love the place.. And I will be hanging out there as much as I can…

The highlight of the anniversary party…

I possibly can’t talk about the awards and stuff as SOOO many people have already blogged about it. I will just link to them..

Here, Here, Here, Here… and Here..

But IMHO, the best part of event yesterday was this….

The Affogato.. or “Something Perky” as per ridz

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the real thing.. So I am just stealing one off flickr.. If anyone did have one at GT please send me the picture..

Oh and of course not to forget the great TCSS session at Brewerks and supper with DK and ridz..