Monday, 7 September 2015

From TOASTMASTERS to Everything Else......

Today, I am going to introduce to you the readers & present to you a story of grit, determination, immense belief in one's self & above all the motivation to live life on your own terms. I am talking about my dear friend Mayur Shivakumar's story. He had an almost life-ending accident couple of years back. He went  through hell with having to see his face & forehead completely restructured post multiple surgeries.

He was really kind to have chatted with me about a variety of topics & more importantly he was gracious enough to tell his story to you , the readers. In this conversation I had with him which forms the content for this blog post, we speak on a wide range of topics..

So Mayur, for the benefit of the readers who may not know you , can you introduce yourself??

Mayur: I am an Electrical Engineer from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. I have spent most of my life there.  I am a sports enthusiast, movie buff & an avid reader.

Having heard about your personal tragedy, & the amazing, miraculous way in which you bounced back can you share something about that it could help the readers know you better & also inspire them?

Mayur: Indeed those very testing times, my dear friend. It was back in 2009 when I fell of a two-wheeler, without a helmet & had a severe head injury. The aftermath of that injury lead to eleven surgeries, twenty-four backlogs, and an additional year to compete my engineering graduation. My vision has been partially compromised, That was what you could call a turning point in my life. I was patient & had to work hard just to keep my head from drowning. I managed to survive & have been an engineer for the last two years.

Who were the personalities or what were the books which kept you motivated and determined in the toughest phase of your life?

Mayur:  People who just survive don't become personalities. It was the belief that this cloud too shall pass one day that drove me. It was a big struggle just to get out of bed & walk up to class everyday because I was struggling to pass every subject let alone excel in it. That was when I found my true purpose of doing  Engineering. Somehow, I slowly started to enjoy what I had to do instead of looking at it as a burden. Marks were irrelevant to me. The curiosity of what or how an Engineering product worked tickled my brain & inspired me to solve those mysteries.

Coming to Toastmasters Club which you have been a part of over the past 6 months or so, for the benefit for all who don't know what it is & how it functions could you educate them about it?

Mayur:  Toastmasters Club is almost a century old institution, which has it's presence all over the globe. Members of this club meet periodically. The motto of this club is 'where leaders are made'. The two main attributes of a leader are communication & organisation. Toastmasters sharpen their communication by giving speeches & socializing while their organisational skills are honed by managing or being part of this club.

What made you join the Toastmasters Club? And what keeps you going back there continuously and repeatedly?

Mayur:  In our daily life, we do different things to keep ourselves motivated and engaged like sports, art etc. When I was looking for one such hobby, I came across Toastmasters Club. I like speaking & the idea of a club that not just improves your speaking but also allows you to socialize & meet interesting people sounded attractive to me. After joining the Toastmasters program, the organisation has just rubbed off on me. Since my first visit to Toastmasters, there has not been a single week where I have failed attend a Toastmasters meeting & I must admit it has become a healthy addiction!!

I am sure there have been many great motivational speakers who were or are Toastmasters Club members. Any speech/speeches you would want to recommend to the readers?

Mayur:  I have been greatly influenced by speeches made by Harsha Bhogle & Rahul Dravid made at NASSCOM.  The aspects of survival & excellence that they preach through the game of Cricket was easy for me to understand.When I was watching one of those videos, was when I came across Taostmsters for the first time. It was the championship speech of Toastmaster Dhananjay Hetiarachi,  called "I see something" that opened this new world to me.

Looking at the popularity of the TED talks, where prominent, eminent  personalities from various professional  backgrounds give inspirational speeches, how different is Toastmasters Club to that? Your thoughts on this..

Mayur: The amazing part of Toastmasters is that not all the speakers are imminent personalities. People who are shy & hesitant to express their thoughts will find a voice. A speaker is appreciated for his initiative  that he has put in to come up & speak in front of a group of people. The learning that a person takes away from TM is immeasurable. Whereas , TED is a platform where people generally share their experiences & innovations.

How would you describe your journey at Toastmasters Club so far?

Mayur: As a Toastmaster, it's been really amazing where I have made lot of new friends. The experience of shaking hands with new people just pulls me back to a TM club, every week. I have had lot of amazing experiences from attending Toastmasters Club meetings in cities such as Coimbatore, Pune & Chennai.

And finally, for those who will read this blog post, what would you like to say to them with regards to Toastmasters Club & why they should and join one of them?

Mayur: Glossophobia is the fear of Public Speaking. A person will only realize that they have this fear when they walk on to a stage and give a speech for the first time. This club will help them vanquish this demon. Also, there are people who are suffering from loneliness, anxiety & depression. Toastmasters Club is a one stop solution to all these problems. It's just that a person should keep aside two hours a week for TM's and this will be the time that he/she will be investing on themselves.

To sum this up, I would say it's a privelage for me to have known Mayur, who was introduced by my mother last year. Since then hearing his miraculous life journey has definetly inspired me. I also have the passion for writing but never took it seriously. But after hearing his story, it bought a new resolve within me that whatever happens & however busy I would be, I will continue to write,

Do what your passionate about & don't bother about the hurdles that come in your way!! A statement epitomized by my friend & the hero of this blog post, Mayur!!


  1. The most exciting and special cricketing moments have been highlighted in the blog. A great read. Australia is my favorite team. Simply invincible.

  2. I like this a lot. Thank you for sharing. I'm always looking for upcycles like this. In the end, you don't know it was a shipping pallet to begin with!
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  3. It was indeed a very inspiring story! Mayur thankyou for sharing this part of your life with me! :D

  4. It is a great story of a man and his struggles which is quite inspiring tbh. Thankyou for writing it down for the readers. Cheers to both of you.