Hi !  I am Ashma Dahal, and I have always been a nerdy girl who does not communicate much. Silent, studious, shy – these three words best describe my personality. 

I was always confined within the closed walls of monotonous study pattern, away from homeland, enchained in hours of studies. So, I never got a platform or chance to get out of my shell, face a crowd and speak. 

But in early 2019, a turning point arrived. A turning point that was to introduce a new Ashma, or as I would like to say Ashma 2.0. 

I saw one of my friends had shared about a “Speech Contest” taking place at Himalaya Toastmasters Club. It was a Thursday and my office was over by 5:30 P.M. whereas Himalaya had the program from 6 P.M. So, I took a chance and went there.  I enjoyed the session a lot that evening and took back lots of learning from each of the speeches I heard. 

After witnessing this contest, I went to the next meeting where I thought of participating the table topics session. As reluctant as I was to speak, unknowingly I raised my hands on the third topic. As I was walking all the way to the stage, several thoughts bombarded my head. I was as cold as a refrigerated chicken when I shook hands with Table Topics Master. But once I spoke, I felt so relieved and thought – “I did it. I spoke!

Then soon after that day, I joined Himalaya Toastmasters. During the initial months I hardly took any roles and just focused on Table Topics. It was only after my Icebreaker speech that  I began taking up other roles. But I have to say, I faced the true challenge when I took the role of TMoE. It was only when I took the role, I understood, there is no better way to develop your leadership and public speaking skills than by taking the role of a host who is responsible for every minute detail of the meeting while making sure the vibrancy of the meeting is maintained throughout.  

Since that maiden role of TMoE, I have taken many roles and delivered many speeches. And with each role taken, each speech delivered, I have become closer to the realization that Toastmasters is like a school where you work hard, are mentored by seniors, evaluated by coordinators, and refined directly or indirectly. 

After these many months at Toastmasters, by taking mentorship, being evaluated, and learning by doing, I am learning the nuances of becoming a better communicator and leader bit by bit. 

I am being a better Ashma with each meeting, and I hope I would be an even better version of Toastmaster Ashma Dahal in the days to come.

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