My niece’s random paintings have been motivating me for months now. Her color-stained hands, dirty palette with inter-mixed colors and a montage of random colors splashed on the white sheet of paper, look beautiful to me. She is not a virtuoso at her work, but she embellishes her zeal on the tip of her brush as she paints. More importantly, she is a beginner. 

I began my journey at Himalaya Toastmasters three months back. I entered the venue, Sap Falcha, one particular Thursday, enveloped in mixed emotions: anxiety, curiosity, nervousness, and a few ounces of hope. I had been looking for a public speaking platform. I was hoping this could be my panacea to cure my public speaking woes. 

I stood at the corner, frozen by fear, and overwhelmed by nervousness. I wanted to mingle, introduce myself, smile and act natural, but some powerful fear gripped me as it had done since my childhood. My parched throat and frozen limb had fallen prey to my fear of meeting new people – a fear that had always troubled me, and with years I had learned to accept it as my shortcoming. When a few people approached me with a smile and warm gesture, my heartbeat almost escaped a beat, and I desperately tried to avoid eye contact. A few courteous faces greeted me with warmth and energy. I conjured up the courage and started mingling with the guests and Toastmasters. It not only opened new doors for self-improvement and self-confidence, but it also made me understand how fear only cripples us as long as we become its slave. The same day I decided to join Himalaya Toastmasters and embark on a new journey of continual self-improvement.

“Great teachers emanate out of knowledge, compassion, and passion”, quoth APJ Abdul Kalam. The significance of a mentor is immense in any assignment, project, and life. My mentor has guided and supervised me in eternal ways that extend beyond the premise of Toastmasters. Not only my mentor but everyone at Himalaya Toastmasters has been supportive and helpful throughout these months. 

Little did I know as I entered the premise for the first time, a couple of months later a group of strangers would transform into friends sharing a strong bond, where everyone is uplifting each other to realize one’s true potential via continual learning.

Being an introvert, I always found the whole world outside the comfort of my cozy room as a place of gloom and doom. As I reminisce the day I decided to step out of my comfort zone, the world is no more a place of eerie; strangers are not Brobdingnagian creatures, but people I have not yet initiated a conversation with; public speaking is not voodoo but a skill acquired with gradual and continual effort. 

Like my niece’s painting, my Ice breaker, the first project of my Pathways, was far from perfect. It may take many moons before I perfect the art of public speaking. This is a start. This is me sailing away from the safe harbor into the virgin sea with a compass of enthusiasm and map of continual self-improvement. 

Bishrant Katwal, Himalaya Toastmasters Club

Published in Inkspire Issue 2. Click here for the full newsletter.

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