One fine Saturday, just like any other normal human being, I was out there, checking my mails, for the usual stuff. And then this subject, caught my attention.
To: Ashwini C N
Subject: Invitation to speak at TEDx@RSPuram on May 25 at Taj Coimbatore
During my speech, about ‘What Blogging has taught me about Life’
The minute I understood what exactly I was getting myself into, my happiness knew no bounds. It was just an out-of-the-world feeling. I can hardly describe in words the emotions that ran through me at that point of time. I was so happy that if someone had asked me to get them a truck load of Ice creams, I would have happily obliged. At that point, nothing mattered much to me, than to tell it to my family and watch their reaction and excitement.
So, after a few calls with the organizer, a few mails later, when I pinched myself sufficiently enough to prove that I was not living a dream, I sat down to ask myself the question that everyone had been asking me when they learnt of this development.
What do I speak about?
To be very frank, I cannot single out one subject and say, ‘Here is the book, ask me anything you wish’. As much as I would love to utter those words, it just isn’t true. So I decided I would stick to my home ground, the very reason I was invited for the TEDx event : Because I am a Blogger. Now, almost every third person knows how to start a blog, and I am no SEO expert, So I was wondering what to speak on Blogging, which people wouldn’t have heard before. I somehow couldn’t come to a conclusion and I did not force myself to conclude. The organizer had advised me to go through the guidelines in the TEDx community website and asked me to even watch a few talks, to get a hang of what it was all about. That proved really a valuable tip for me. As I was reading, one particular point stuck to my mind. It emphasized on the need to narrate one’s experiences, narrate a story from their own lives to be able to connect with the audience, in a better way.
And yes, there it was, clearly written out, exactly what I was looking for. Since I’d been blogging for over 6 years and the fact that I’ve written a lot of abstract posts on Life and about a few experiences, I decided it would suit me best if I narrated my experiences in the Blogosphere. Though it was not exactly a rags to the riches story that I had in mind, I was still finding it tough to come up with a decent script, with the time slowly ticking away.
A week later, after a lot of thinking, brainstorming, talking to myself, I came up with what I was going to talk. I decided I would narrow down 8 important lessons or experiences that blogging has taught me about life and relate the happenings in Blogging to life, lessons that I learnt about blogging, lessons that I learnt about life from blogging.
The one thing with all the TEDx videos was that, the speakers were all very causal and they seemed to be telling simple things, simple ideas, in the simplest form possible, without complicating things. I felt comfortable with watching this, since I knew that I would probably be talking something in a very simple language, sans any jargon, primarily because I was just going to share my experiences and there was nothing fancy about it.
I had to time my speech to 18 minutes, because I read that no speaker was allowed to exceed the time limit and I knew I’d finally have to work hard on something. My sense of timing. Normally, you give me two minutes to talk,I would have to hurriedly conclude my thoughts after about 6 to 7 minutes, with an iota of doubt that I might have probably gone a little overboard. So this was the most challenging part that I came across and after intense practice and with a little common sense, I did manage to time it to around 16.5 to 17.5 minutes. I was a very happy person.
Finally, the D day did come. I am not sure if was nervous. Speaking to an audience from a stage is not new to me, but what was new or rather special about this was, my parents had come with me to watch my talk. That was the most special of all. All these days, they never got to see me speak on stage and I was happy that they finally would get to see me talk, live.
All I remember was, taking the mic, starting off with Robert Frost’s quotes and my mind went blank. The mouth however seemed to be going on and on for 17.5 minutes, thanks to the timer the organizer had placed, and at the end, I came back to my senses again when I was just about to sign off with Frost’s poem again.
When I was done with my speech and came back to my table along with the other speakers, I just couldn’t believe my own self that I’d successfully pulled it off. Just when I was about to ask myself as to how I would have spoken, I saw my parents faces, beaming at me. At that minute, all I wanted was to look at their faces and smile back. I did not want to ask anything, nor did I bother with trying to find out how I spoke (Although, later I remember bugging mom and kept asking her,on an infinite loop, as to how I spoke) and let it sink on my mind and heart that I’d done it. How good or bad, I don’t know, but yes I gave it my best and I’d done it.
After the day- long event was over, it was heartening to see so many people come up to me and speak about what I’d spoken. College kids who either had a blog or who were considering starting one, others who had a thought to share about what I’d spoken, each and every one of them made me feel so very happy. I was happy that so many people listened attentively to what I had spoken and were asking me a few questions about it. I was flying in the air and I was trying to enjoy every second of those moments, till they lasted.
It was one of the best days in my life. A day worth cherishing for the rest of my life, or till another such opportunity comes my way.
Speaking of which, I like many others was curious as to how I was selected to be a speaker. I asked the organizer since I was curious and this was the answer I got when I asked him how he had selected me. He said ’I wanted a blogger, I came across a few bloggers and yours was the only blog with an e-mail ID’
It’s as simple as that. An email ID that was on my blog, is what got me this opportunity. I cannot thank God enough, still Thank you God 🙂