There was a faint chill in the warm May air and a calm that bought a feeling of change; a change as ancient and intangible as time.
I was lying on my bed in a pale yellow nightdress staring into the dark space. Million thoughts, one after another kept floating in my mind. Dead silence and a deep settling void were my only companion besides the empty black sky. And all I wanted to do was break free.
Good morning madame Toastmaster of the day and fellow dreamers. The year was 2010 and I was still an engineer in making. A profession I so hated that I was ready to do anything to escape it. However, there were 3 things I realised then
1. I wasn't a risk taker
2. I didn't want to disappoint my parents
And 3. Drinking mountain Dew doesn't really help. And so the struggle continued, internally. Being in a college where everyone was happy to pursue their dream I felt like an outsider. With no one to befriend I started recoiling in my shell. Have you ever felt that? An hankering need to have a companion? A friend with whom you could be yourself, and yet they won't walk away from you. I needed that friend as I was slowly falling in the whirlpool called void. Days turned into months and December arrived, the month when I was supposed to go to my college Industrial Visit up north. I was afraid, how would I enjoy? During my two years of blogging I ended up making a lot friends. It was then for the first time ever that I talked to one on phone.
Mishti: What's up Fatima. How are things going on?
Me: Hi mishti Travelling! Out on a trip from college currently in Corbett heading to Nainital.
Mishti: Wow did you see tigers? So must be excited?
Me: Haha no tigers. Excited yes content no, I'm travelling with a group yet I'm all lost and alone there seems to be a void.
Mishti: Try to at peace even when your emotions are bubbling on the surface. You're travelling forget mean classmates, explore the place. At the end only these moments matter, they are the ones that bridge the gap between you and I and what fills the void within.
And just like the winding roads that connected places, a connection was born.
She, I felt understood me. Instead of abandoning me, chose to stay. It's not about someone making us happy. Friends it's about who fills the void within, the emptiness that surrounds.
Times changed, I graduated, did my post graduation yes in engineering. And started working two jobs six days a week to dedicating half the Sunday to Toastmasters yet something was missing.
In spite of the fact having decided to not follow the rat race and turn into a money making monkey, I turned into one. It felt like a cat and mouse game where I was happy yet not truly content. At that moment when I was again drifting apart Toastmasters came to my rescue in form of Confluence 2016. I realised connections are not always supposed to be the ones that give you a high. Sometimes a connection is that soothing feeling that brings in peace and makes you feel at home. Just like the ocean was breathtakingly beautiful with the wind, stars and moon as its companions.
I found the connection within myself and in turn with everyone from MTM, I got a chance to connect to the real you Namrata, Pankaj, Prashant, Harsimran, Ravi and others outside MTM. I had gone to Goa to escape but what I found there is something which can't be expressed but only felt.
Friends remember this, "Life is a series of hits and misses and sometimes there are only dark days at a stretch. Don't lose hope or let the void overpower you, hold on. Just like the sun, that shines after a long dark night!"
P.S: Won Best Speaker Ribbon for this speech.