Heavy thundershowers pelted Kathmandu and we were skeptical how members and guests will turn up on the monsoon evening of 6th August. By 5:35 we had started panicking as the trickle of people coming to the 3rd-floor conference hall at Brihaspati Vidya Sadan had stopped altogether. Without losing heart the Bodhi Ex-Comm members cheered the ones present and shook hands warmly. Silently we were praying to the rain gods, for the rain to subside. One minute to go and two role players ran in, glad to have made it at the last minute. We started the meeting on time but took a recess as our GE was stuck due to rain. Toastmaster Shreya Ghimire from KU-SOM Toastmasters Club kindly volunteered to be the GE a few minutes later and we started. When we looked around we saw the smallish meeting hall moderately full (we ended up with 10 members and 15 guests – not a bad number for a rainy evening).  

The meeting started at 6:00 pm and our Presiding Officer shared about the wonderful time the musical Toastmaster group (that’s what the unofficial name is apparently) had the night before, hosted by Toastmaster Shivraj Thapa, and related it to the theme – “Hangover” which was for all the good times spent together. The meeting then followed as per the agenda sheet conducted by the TMoE Chandrayan Shrestha. We had three table topics which were promptly taken up by toastmasters from other clubs – Toastmasters Alex, Sam, and Shivraj. We had two prepared speeches by Toastmaster Sonee Maharjan who delivered her Level 1 Project 2.2 speech and Toastmaster Niroj Maharjan delivered his Level 2 Project 1 on understanding your leadership style. These two speeches smelled of quality – Toastmaster Sonee did a good job of incorporating feedback from her previous speech. She had controlled her generally-excited delivery style to a large extent with purposeful body movement. Her speech was interspersed with an excellent choice of vocabulary which was a pleasure to hear. Toastmaster Niroj spoke of his inspiring journey of how he graduated from being a classroom teacher to the Principal of a school. His unique way of engaging the audience at the beginning of the speech – “I am going to ask all of you a question at the end, and the one who gives the correct answer will be rewarded” – was a show-stealer. 

We got to know our guests better during the networking break, while the GE along with direct and indirect evaluators deliberated on the feedback session. General Evaluator Toastmaster Shreeya gave a very good review of our meeting – this was the first time that she had attended Bodhi. She mentioned that she had a lot of learning from our meeting such as the double “thumbs up” given when someone uses the word of the day, the speech objectives at the end of the agenda sheet, and the word of the day placard. 

Toastmaster Chandrayan, being a person who enjoys food and drinks, did good justice to the theme but overshot speaking time because he had so much to share on ‘Hangover’. The audience, however, seemed to have enjoyed the theme. Toastmaster Sam won the Better Table Topic Speaker Award, Toastmaster Sonee Maharjan was adjudged the Better Featured Speaker, and Toastmaster Kumar Thapa the Better Evaluator. 

Strangely Bodhi Toastmasters has always had guests outnumber club members on meeting days – we don’t know whether we should be happy or dismayed. But, we consider ourselves blessed in getting this support from members of other clubs. Special mention needs to be made of Toastmasters Sagar, Sam, Dipesh, Manesh, and now increasingly Toastmaster Alex – they have been coming to our meetings regularly and now have become an integral part of Bodhi besides their clubs. 

Toastmaster Kumar has been driving Mentor-Mentee meetups with much enthusiasm and this has had amazing results – the speeches are better prepared and the mentor-mentee relationship has reached new heights for us. The speaker’s reflection toward the end of the meeting has also added value to our meetings. 

The superb meeting was adjourned by our Presiding Officer Toastmaster Niladri with the note that the next meeting would be a joint meeting with Himalaya Toastmasters Club on Thursday, 15th August 2019, and Toastmaster Kumar would work closely with the VP Education, Toastmaster Ekta Lamichhane from Himalaya to conduct the same at SAP Falcha, Babar Mahal. 

Chandrayan P. Shrestha, VPPR, Bodhi Toastmasters Club   

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