Toastmasters is a platform that I joined recently in my organization.
Cross-posting the transcript of my first speech – The Icebreaker
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts”
Good Evening Toastmasters and guests,
These lines from the play “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare suggest that each stage in a person’s life calls him/her to play a different role. Let me take you through some of the many parts Shakespeare talked about! I am Vijay Sankar, and back in May 1984, I was born in this city – Trivandrum.
I walked half a kilometre to my school – Loyola. The years in Loyola laid the foundation – for my interests, for my character and life, in general. I tasted failure quite early at school by failing for an exam in first grade. My mother, who was nursing my infant brother at that time, was completely taken aback when she realized that the first grade of my times was quite different from theirs. Thanks to her prayers, I never disappointed her again in similar fashion.
As a school kid my ambition was to become a space engineer, my parents being scientist engineers at ISRO. Watching or reading about rocket launches by ISRO still gives me goosebumps every time.
My father introduced me to a library for children – FunTime Library. A small room full of books opened the world of literature and an even bigger world of imagination to me! My love for books continue to this day, and I hope it stays so, forever!
My time in Loyola helped me develop a few facets – I became a sportsman, a writer, a performer and an academic – probably in that order. Some parts still remain! Loyola blessed me with outstanding teachers, loyal friends and fond memories.
I walked again – this time from home to College of Engineering, Trivandrum. College was a different experience, especially for someone stepping in from a boys’ school. I took quite some time to break the shell. Strikes, bunking classes, combined study sessions when exams arrive, sports and cultural events. It was fun.
Somewhere along, the space engineer dream lost the race to the IT boom. I accepted the offer from Infosys and joined their Mysore campus in 2005. A grueling but enjoyable six months of training in Mysore, followed by another month of training in Chennai.
Finally, I was posted in Bangalore. It was my first stint away from home. From the luxury of having homemade food to being content with food from restaurants. There was a bright side to it – I was able to appreciate my mother’s culinary skills better.
In a couple of years, my transfer to Trivandrum materialized. I have been here ever since. The last two years have been spent with an enthusiastic bunch here at Oracle.
My interest in photography was rekindled while in Infosys. It has been journey of discovery in many ways: I made new friends, learned to appreciate finer detail, connected better with nature, observed people. I also learned to appreciate classical dance, Kathakali and other traditional art forms.
Along the way, I met Amrutha, when I was requested to record her violin performance for an event in Infosys. She became my wife in later years and continues to enthrall me with the violin.
My little brother, Unnikrishnan, gets the largest piece of my heart. My family revolves around him. I was excited to welcome him as a baby to the family. But soon, I felt something amiss about him. I couldn’t quite understand why my parents gave him so much of their attention – to the extent of ignoring me many a time.
As I grew up, my mother explained about his epilepsy and dyslexia. From that day on, I became his protector. My mother gave up her career in ISRO to look after him. She ensured his successful completion of high school and higher secondary education. His struggle continues, and our efforts to support him have never taken a back seat.
My family brands me short-tempered, impulsive. My friends say otherwise. It is my zodiac sign, you know. Gemini!
Let me conclude with the words of Ella Wheeler Wilcox
“Don’t look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.”