Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships by Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D., Thad Lacinak, Chuck Tompkins and Jim Ballard


The Blurb:
A compendium of straightforward techniques on how to accentuate the positive and redirect the negative, increasing productivity at work and at home.

What do your people at work and your spouse and kids at home have in common with a five-ton killer whale?

Probably a whole lot more than you think, according to top business consultant and mega-bestselling author Ken Blanchard and his coauthors from SeaWorld. In this moving and inspirational new book, Blanchard explains that both whales and people perform better when you accentuate the positive. He shows how using the techniques of animal trainers — specifically those responsible for the killer whales of SeaWorld — can supercharge your effectiveness at work and at home.

When gruff business manager and family man Wes Kingsley visited SeaWorld, he marveled at the ability of the trainers to get these huge killer whales, among the most feared predators in the ocean, to perform amazing acrobatic leaps and dives. Later, talking to the chief trainer, he learned their techniques of building trust, accentuating the positive, and redirecting negative behavior — all of which make these extraordinary performances possible. Kingsley took a hard look at his own often accusatory management style and recognized how some of his shortcomings as a manager, spouse, and father actually diminish trust and damage relationships. He began to see the difference between “GOTcha” (catching people doing things wrong) and “Whale Done!” (catching people doing things right).

In Whale Done!, Ken Blanchard shows how to make accentuating the positive and redirecting the negative the best tools to increase productivity, instead of creating situations that demoralize people. These techniques are remarkably easy to master and can be applied equally well at home, allowing readers to become better parents and more committed spouses in their happier and more successful personal lives.

What I Felt About The Book

I saw this book on my manager’s desk and as usual was curious to know what he was reading. Honestly, when I first had a look on the cover, title and back page; I had the impression of another blabbering self help book. But still, I read the first few pages and was glad to find that the author(s) have chosen to teach the lessons through story telling.

ABC Of Performance
ABC Of Performance

What I Liked About The Book:
1. Short Book and thus short chapters having big font: Yes, the really like the books with font big enough to be read with naked eyes without much concentration. Full marks to the publishers for it.
2. Failure Scenarios: Generally, book like this skip the hardships people face while applying the underlying strategies or techniques. I really liked the part where Wes had trouble applying Whale Done Principles in his office. The detailing could have been better though.

What I Did Not Like About The Book:
Though it is a very very short book, I got the jest of all in less than half of pages. After that, everything was just the repetition of all excellent principles and it did get a bit boring.

In a very short book too, there were instances when I found myself nodding sharply and smiling at others. Picture below lines from the book:

Catching people doing things wrong is easy.

The very basic example is how we help and groom our kids with basic activities like walking. They never ever succeed in first attempt.

Good thing I didn’t spank the kids when they didn’t stand and walk perfectly the first time. We’d have had teenagers crawling around the house.

Another set of lines were around common gossip we all do when we see a person yelling for no reason – “must have got into a fight with the spouse”, “must have got a good hearing from the manager”and many more.

Ripple effect of GOTcha. The boss yells at one of his managers, that manager yells at one of his associates, who goes home and yells at his spouse, who yells at the kid, who kicks the cat.

And there were more:

When you’re dealing with an eleven-thousand-pound animal who doesn’t speak English, you do a lot of learning.

The more attention you pay to a behavior, the more it will be repeated.

You got to ac-cen-tuate the positive, e-lim-inate the negative, Latch on to the affirmative…

The one thing your competition can never steal from you is the relationship you have with your people, and the relationship they have with your customers.

And the final and most liked ones – i think;

Toastmasters Evaluation Contest – My first experience – I WON!

This was my first ever participation in “Evaluation Contest” at Toastmasters – oops anywhere. Before I share my experience, let me brief what it is.
A Toastmasters Evaluation contest is where competition is on between the evaluators. There is a demo speaker who delivers his/her speech and multiple contestants/evaluators evaluate the speaker. Good and bad luck – both for the speaker 😉
The judges fill lout the judge’s guide and ballot for the evaluators. The Evaluation contest – Judges Guide and Ballot and be found at below link (It’s free to purchase for members):-

And, guess what, I won the club level…: D I won! I won! I won…! Don’t believe it, here is the proof. Well, there were only 3 contestants, but still, I was first among them. 😛


To be very honest, I did not prepare much for the contest. It was just a day before that I realized that contest is tomorrow. I went through some videos available online and made some notes – which I again forgot to revisit before going to the contest.

  • At the contest, the contestants were briefed, about the process.
  • There would be a demo speaker giving his/her speech.
  • All the contestants may take notes.
  • After the speech, all the contestants would be given 5 minutes time to finalize their notes.
  • The sequence of contestants was chosen via draw.
  • The SAA would take the notes from all contestants and keep in the contest room.
  • 1st contestant would remain in the room and others would be escorted to a different room so that they cannot hear the evaluations.
  • SAA would call the contestants one by one and their notes would be handed over to them for reference.
  • Contestants would give their evaluations.
  • Judges would give the ballots at the end of all contestants and results would be announced.

Following is the snapshot of notes I made while the speaker was delivering its speech.

Following is the snapshot of final notes I prepared in the time frame of 5 minutes for my evaluations. I wanted to highlight the main points, but I ran out of time… 🙁

I was second evaluator. I was shaking from inside. I am not sure if that showed externally or not!
Well, after some fun discussion while the judges were busy finalizing results, it was result time.
Certificates awarded to role players.
2nd runner up – It was not me…J
1st runner up – Not me…J
And the winner is “AMITA”… (Though the surprise broke at 1strunner up because of less number or participants, but hearing my name as a winner was altogether different)

Who knows if I go on to win next levels, I may come up with an experience where I can share some learnings as well…
WISH ME LUCK… fingers crossed



Toastmasters – Project#5 – YOUR BODY SPEAKS – An Evening at DDA Sports Complex

  • Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and achieve your speech’s purpose.
  • Make your body language smooth and natural.
TIME: Five to seven minutes.
I had written this speech long time back but did not deliver it as my mentor feared that the content was so easily available online. I could not help it. I thought of topic and as I googled it, there were many results. Anyway, I tried my best to make it as original as possible.
I also used printouts for each category and pasted them asking the audience to guess the type by looking at picture. Here it goes…
An Evening at DDA Sports Complex
Every evening, my mother in law gets ready and calls – “Chalo Ricky”. Ricky ignores and keep on hanging in between my knees or on the pockets of my jeans. He continuously repeats – ‘Ma, ma, ma”. Reason? Because, I have the car keys in my hand. So I would be going out!. The car keys switch hands and Ricky’s hanging garden switches along with that. We start the engine and steer ahead to Ricky’s favorite place – The sports complex. The moment you step into a sports complex, I cannot help but notice the different types of mommies over there. I have tried and categorized them into 5 common categories. Obviously, there are more moms than papas. May be this is the reason I would be referring mom and not papa. Of course the points I noticed applies to papa as well.  
The first and most looked up to is the –
The Super fit/unfit mom
Well, be it a boy or a girl, we cannot “not turn around to get jealous or admire that rocking body.” She had a baby a month back? She could be an inspiring workout buddy. In the meantime, ladies, do not get your guy notice that. If she has been noticed, have a look around, you would definitely get a mom who is in a bad shape than yourself.  Pradeep, my husband get to hear – “Have you seen xyz??? If I was fat, I would have been like her!?”.
Baby No! – Mom
The kid tries to jump off that slide, “No baby”. The kid runs to next ride and she has to get up and follow him, “No baby”.  “No, do it this way, Darling,”.  this mom will not only direct her child as to what playground item to play on next, but will tell you and your child what to do as well. She may be the one who is continuously on her latest iPhone. “Yes yes… The presentation was awesome”. Beta don’t go there. “ya… Oh you got those stilettos!!!”
The Poor mom
There’s no missing this one. She’s exhausted! She’s broke! She is Poor lady. Her kid is at its best at throwing tantrums. He/she is lying flat on the grass or the worst in the middle of a slide when 4-5 children are waiting patiently for the slide to get clear. What the kid is doing lying there? Crying at the top of his voice. Nothing is going to calm that child. He himself has forgotten why he started crying. He is just – aaaa   uuuuu….. His eyes are flooded with tears, his cheeks have gone blood red and the poor mom is trying everything in the world – Get up beta. Beta at least tell me what happened. Ok, get up and we would have a chocolate. Look there is a peacock. See the aunty is saying – haaaww, such a bad baby!!!. Get up now… or you are going to have the worst moment of your life. Ok fine. Keep lying here. I am going.
But here’s what’s actually pretty good about this mama: You’re off the hook when it comes to small talk. You don’t have to contribute anything but a few nods.
My nine month 11 kg kid does not eat anything – mom
She is running behind her kid all the time with a box of sandwiches, a fruit, or water. She’s convinced that her child is on the verge of starvation and that it’s only a matter of time before he faints from malnourishment.  And the child of course he is starved to death. He is doing whatever he can do not have that food. Deny, run away, cry, plead, take in mouth and throw away. Everything!!! Reyansh? My kid? He would pretend he is not listening. If he does, he would poke his finger into my own mouth and try to push the eatable into my mouth
The perfect mom           
All the moms, no need to feel guilty. All the fathers, no need to go back and give an example to your better half. And all those who are still not parents, no need to look up for some one. This “Perfect Mom” does not exist.
Every mom is funny In her own way. But, don’t forget that she is funny because she loves you. She would anything in world to get a hug from you and see that little twinkle in your eye whenever you smile. She does not have any other task in the world but her child. I learned this after I was born again on 7th april 2012 – the day I became “Ma”.
So, repeat after me – “Mummy,”. “I Love You”. Excellent, now do not forget to reciprocate it to your mom! Thanks.

Below was the evaluation:-

  • Met the objectives
  • Good use of body language
  • Constructive suggestion would be – try and make your pauses bit smaller.
Timer report – 6 minutes 2 seconds
Grammarian Report –
  • used he-hear-her for him/her
  • Used “that” does not exist, but corrected herself for a human– “She” does not exist.
Ah Counter Report
·         Used cannot – not turn around (Although, I do not think it was mistake since it was meant to speak like this)

·         Used like-like twice

Toastmasters – Project#4- How to Say It – What is ToastMasters – Overview

I do not know why, but I decided to redo my project 4. In our organization, we brief the new hires about Toastmasters during their induction program. The briefing includes “Overview”, “Educational Program” and “Value”. I took up the “Overview” part and converted it into my speech for Project 4.
22nd October, 1924, Ralph C. Smedley (Founder of Toastmaster) met with some enthusiastic people at a basement in California. Their objective was – “to Plan, Prepare and Practice” a technique to prosper socially. Probably, It was this day when the word “ToastMasters” was used for the very first time.
Let’s see how many people in this room know anything about Toastmasters.
First, let me ask people who have not heard of it – What come to your mind when you hear the term Toastmasters?
Now, may I ask people who said yes – What do you know about Toastmasters?
To define it, Toastmasters is a non-profit organization headquartered at Rancho Santa California that helps people develop Speaking and leadership skills.
It has more than 2, 92,000 members
Over 14350 clubs spread over 122 countries.
Before I brief about its functioning, answer yourself –
Am I afraid of Public Speaking?
Am I a Leader?
Addressing people and Leading people is what we do at toastmasters.
We improve ourselves by participating in meetings, workshops and events.
At the meeting, we make it a point to meet up once in a week and-
  1. take up roles of Speaker, evaluator, Joke Master to keep the faces smiling and many more
  2. Roles are honored, participants perform, get evaluated and most important – “APPLAUDED”. Yes we do applaud a lot to encourage the speaker. We actually find an opportunity to clap.
  3. The most awaited and My Favorite section is the “Table Topic” which help enhance-encourage and improve impromptu speeches.
Friends, I would request you to go back and ask yourself 2 questions which we asked earlier –
Am I afraid of public speaking?
Am I a leader?
If the answer is yes, PLEASE join us to help create leaders and face their fears.
If the answer is no, Toastmasters is the place for you to start overcoming your fears and become a Leader.

I would hand over the dais to our DCP coordinator.

Looking For Toastmasters Table Topics?

Getting into the role of a table topic master may sound easy, but it get on your verves when you try and write topics. Every time I step into this role, I want my topics to be fun and creative. 

Image source – Toastmasters.org
Below is the list of some interesting table topics which have been discussed at my club meetings. While most of them are random, some of them have been weaved around a theme or a game. Enjoy!!!
If you were a “Kite”.
If you were a goggle(shades)
Speak about “Calendars”.
An animal you fear the most
Till what age do you want to live and why?
You have jumped from a parachute glider and Oops the parachute does not open.
You are Alexander Graham bell
 – person who invented telephone. God has asked you to go back to earth and get a report and convince him that you have done a great invention
Name Place Animal Thing game:
What ‘Animal’ would you compare yourself to and why?
The game- Name Place animal Thing
Name Place Animal Thing game:
What do you like or dislike about your ‘Name’ and why?
Name Place Animal Thing game:
A ‘Place’ that is your favorite and you have been to or you want to visit and why?
Name Place Animal Thing game:
Share your feelings about the ‘Plant’?
You can make only one call with the current balance in your phone. Who would you
call and why?
Love at first sight. Do you believe in it?
Married Life. Bliss or Disaster?
Life is all about making choices. What was the most difficult choice in your life?
You come to office and there is an alien sitting at your desk. How would you react.
A dog with two tails.
Summer is here.
Comment on the statement -” If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Convince a traffic police officer to not to charge him after jumping the red traffic signal.
Equal Rights And Equal Opportunities
Theme of the day: Women Security in India
Professional security for women
Is working a Necessity For women?
Are women Better Drivers?
Self Defence
Name any 3 wishes you would complete, if you get a chance to become a teenager again.
A cat who barks!
Beauty or Intelligence. What would be your pick?
Importance of Calendars
If world ends tomorrow
One day without a cell phone
Most beautiful day
Pretty Woman
Concept of various Hollywood movies name e.g. Titanic,
pretty woman etc. where the challenge was for table topic speakers to create their own story not basing it on the
real story of movies.
Catch me if you can
I know what you did last summer
Life Is beautiful
Fast and Furious

Toastmasters – Project#4/Humorous Speech- How to Say It

Toastmasters International Speech #4: How to Say It
Executive Summary
Words are powerful. They convey your message and influence the audience and its perception of you. Word choice and arrangement need just as much attention as speech organization and purpose. Select clear, accurate, descriptive and short words that best communicate your ideas and arrange them effectively and correctly. Every word should add value, meaning, and punch to the speech 
  • Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.
  • Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
  • Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Use correct grammar.
  • TIME: Five to seven minutes.
I gave my 4th speech “How to Say It” as a contestant in humorous speech contest on 03-Oct-2013. Humorous speech is the most difficult speech.  Finally, I was able to draft the following speech. 
How many of you like ghost stories?

How many of would like to hear ghost stories experienced by your loved ones?

Well, for me and my cousins, this has been our favorite past-time ever. One such scary movie spoof happened way back on a night 2 days before my cousin – Nikku Bahiya marriage. After a day full of pre-marital ceremonies, we headed back to home and changed into something more comfortable yet glittery attires. Why? The most awaited DJ session was about to start in 2-3 hours at their own roofing in Munirka. Like always, we danced like no one was looking. Had all our jija ji’s standing in middle while their sister in laws danced around them on the tune of – “Any guesses?” come-on. It’s such a famous song among sister in laws…

“JIja tu kala mein gori ghani!” 

Next it was grooms turn to be embarrassed on another dance number  – You guys have to guess this one –  “Tenu ghodi kine chadaya – bhutni ke!” May be this was the moment which triggered out next agenda over the night.

Celebration of girls came to an end at 1:30 am when the groom’s friends had enough of drinking and could not wait to hit the dance floor.

We made way for them and looked around places to sleep. Everyone got some place except me and 4 of other cousins. Finally, we got some mattress and grabbed the drawing room. After we were all set to start dreaming, the youngest one spoke, Gudia didi, have you listened to the ghost stories from Sonia didi? I replied – “I have heard maximum of them.” Other one said – “Didi please narrate 1 or 2 of them. Good ones.” This youngest girl popped up suddenly and gave the idea – “Didi, tell them the flight stew-ward story you told me that day.” Sonia is an airhostess and most talented one to build ghost stories on any one. I warned them – “Kids, go to sleep. Believe me, it’s not your cup of tea.” After some hesitation, she told us that once they returned from a flight and a man came to flight stew-ward and told him “Excuse me! Do see that lady sitting on the sofa? She is my wife. I need to leave urgently. Can you please get her some medicine? She has a severe headache. “The flight steward thought “Ok! Another husband wife who had a fight in the morning. Normal husband wife head bashing syndrome” Finally, he politely agreed. But when he gave the pills to lady, she asked him how he knew that she had a headache. He told her that her husband told him do so. To this, she was very surprised and said – ‘Heaven’s Sake!! I am waiting for his dead body to arrive from this flight!” The flight steward was jaw dropped and almost fainted.

There was a pin drop silence for few seconds. Well, I was quite older than rest and I knew her, so i was not that scared. Then, the session continued and we hear one more story ho Vicky bahiya escaped a night full of ghosts by placing god’s statues around him and enchantinghanuman chalisa. Finally at 3:30 am we decided to keep quiet and sleep. Suddenly, we hear a sob. I asked who this is. To this the youngest one replied- “Didi, I am scared…” She held my hand very tightly, and I assured her that its past 12, and its next day and I have a fast today, so no bad soul would come near me today. She was a bit relieved till she again said “My mattress has slipped a bit.” and Sonia replied. “Chinki, Gudia is fasting, so ghost cannot come to her. But, he can contact you via floor. Direct contact.” Then, someone’s toenail struck in her dress and she shouted, “Someone is pulling my dress”. Oh my god!!! We had all sorts of myths applied to assure her that nothing would happen. But since we had discussed that ghosts appear from 1 am to 4:00 am, she didn’t let us sleep till 4:00 am. Finally, we went to sleep.

We had an amazing wedding. We were not very tired after the wedding but had only one problem – Its over!!! We still laugh our heart out about that scary movie spoof. Till date, the poor kiddo wants to shoot me in the head for stroking my toenail into her night dress.

Friends, this story may sound bit funny, but the reason I shared this is because all of us have become so busy in our professional and personal commitments, that we no more relish such small incidents. Take some time out and enjoy a day out or a night with your best friends, family, cousins and I can bet that you would fell fresh like a petal. Attend that cousins/friend’s wedding not just to have dinner and mark attendance, but to have a flood of happy memories. Have small get-togethers on festivals. We would have deadlines and commitments though out our lives, but I am sure we never need to take out time to celebrate festivals. We celebrate them irrespective of our busy schedules. So why not make some good use of that and refresh ourselves. Think about it.

Leadership Lessons to be learned from a Tea Bag

My last toastmasters meeting were based on the theme – “Motivation”. We had 3 breathtaking speeches on the same theme. Here, I am summarizing one of the speeches delivered by one of the members – Mr. Chinnappa Nanaiah. He explained how toastmaster is similar to a tea bag. The speech had very strong leadership lessons to be learned from a tea bag.
Leadership Lessons to be learned from a Tea Bag
  1. What Counts is what’s is inside the Teabag
You will notice that some tea bags have very nice-looking labels, while others have very ordinary looking ones. Some have delicate silk tassels while others have ordinary strings. But here’s the thing to remember: The quality of the beverage is determined by the tea inside the bag – not by the label or the string.
The same is true for all of us too. The titles, the clothes we wear and the cars we drive are like the label and the string. They may make us look nice, beautiful and attractive. But what really matters is the kind of person we are, deep down within. What matters most are our beliefs and attitude – that’s what defines the person we are. The tea masters know that to make a great drink, they need to focus on the tea. Not on the label and the string. Focus on being a good human being. Fix your attitude. Get your values right. And don’t fret about the small stuff.
  1. The real flavor comes through when the teabag gets into hot water
To get the best flavor, we need to put the tea bag into hot water. And then the real strength will show! Likewise, the true character of a person actually shines through in problems. How does a person behave under pressure, when he is in ‘hot water’? The hot water test is a good one – to judge the quality of the tea and the true character of human beings.
  1. Good teabag look forward to getting into hot water
Leaders know it will give them a chance to show their true worth. So next time you see a challenge, a tough situation, think like a tea bag and dive headlong into it. It may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to show what you are capable of. Some of us are so scared of the hot water that we stay away from it. We are too scared of failure. Leaders never let that happen to themselves! Give yourself a chance to show the world what you are really all about!
  1. A teabag must be porous
Imagine we have the best tea in world. We put that tea bag in a plastic shield and dip that into hot water and wait. What would we get? Tea? No. We would just get the same water which is not even hot now.
Very likely, we cannot survive in isolation. We need to face the situations, the challenges to get out of them. Some very wise person said “When you are in hell, go through it. Because that is the only possible way to get out of it.” This may also be interpreted as we need to dissolve in water, the surroundings/teams to give our best to that.
  1. Teabags work, never mind where they are in the cup
Notice wherever the tea bag is placed inside the cup – high, low, vertical, horizontal, it does not matter at all. The tea bag would influence hot water. Likewise, for true leaders. It does not matter which position they hold within the team. They would always stand out and benefit the whole team.
  1. Sometimes, one teabag is just not enough
We add more than 1 tea bag to hot water depending on our tastes. One tea bag is not enough for some of us. Likewise, some teams/problems may require more than one leader. The leader should never hesitate in asking for help – another tea bag!        
  1. Sometimes, you need to add some milk and sugar
Sometimes tea itself is not enough to serve as a perfect beverage. We add milk and sugar to enhance its taste. Similarly, the leader also need support of his team members and he himself need to add more qualities and knowledge to himself so that everyone is able to extract their own requirements and are satisfied.
  1. Someone else holds the string, always.
Remember, tea bag cannot stand by itself. There is always someone else who holds its string and dips it into hot water. Just like that, a leader is also never independent. The leader himself also has someone mentoring him, or leading him.
  1. It is always about how good the teabag is. Not the teabag!
Do we ever wonder talk about the tea bag? We always enjoy the tea inside that. The tea can be taken out and brewed other ways as well, but the teabag does not mean anything without its contents. Same holds true for leaders. It is the work, the qualities that speak and shine out. A leader is nothing without its achievements. Thus, if you want to be a leader, stop focusing on yourself and let your work speak for you.
  1. Eventually, teabags need to make way and get out!
Once the tea is brewed, we throw away the tea bag. Even if we keep it inside the cup, it’s the flavor it has imparted into hot water that we drink not the tea bag. This teaches us that eventually, leaders need to get to a side and let their team sparkle. Like tea, they can always be with them, but in the end, it’s the work and their team that matters. Remember, leader does not exist without a team.
  1. A refreshing cup of tea needs time to brew!
Notice that the tea is not ready at the very instance we dip the tea bag into hot water. It takes time to brew perfectly. Tea and leadership qualities are very similar. We cannot acquire all leadership traits at once. They are imparted into us time to time.

Sources – 
1. Toastmasters speech 
2. http://www.careers360.com/news/7792-prakash-iyer-life-lessons-in-a-tea-bag

Toastmasters – Project#3 – GET TO THE POINT

Phew… Finally I delivered my third toastmasters speech. The reason I am so relieved is because of the topic I choose for the same – “Child Abuse”. It was such a heavy topic that every time I think about it, I get start getting goose bumps. But, ever since I attended the “Preserve Innocence” session in my office, I wanted to share the information with some crowd. I got this opportunity in the form of project#3 – Get To The Point. The speech was to long and I over shoot time even after skipping many lines of the prepared speech.
But, the good thing was:
  1. I got the expressions and audience reaction exactly as per my expectations
  2. I was able to inspire audience to talk about the issue into their families
  3. I got “Best Speaker” of the day certificate.
  1. “Preserve Innocence” session by Anuja Gupta
  2. Blog Post by my colleague Seema Pandey – Moral booster…J
Here goes the speech. 
Recently, I have started to take my 1 year old son to local sports complex for his share of joy rides. The moment I enter the premises, I see cute little happy faces smiling, laughing and singing. Sometimes, I feel jealous about the fun phase of their life. But, behind those broad smiles, there are many unheard voices which are actually shouting for help. Let’s see one such voice:-


I saw this during the ‘Preserve Innocence’ session from human dynamics. And very similar to every individual present here, I too had same emotions.  I almost hold tears in my eyes.

Ladies and gentlemen accept this brutal truth – Child Abuse happening around me, around you, everywhere.

Going by statistics, first survey of its kind in India was conducted in 2007 and it revealed horrifying results. It said, 53.22% of children reported having faced sexual abuse. Among them 52.94% were boys and 47.06% girls. Can you believe that, 1 in every 2 children is being abused. When talked about solution to it, we often feel helpless. I very strongly feel that the most effective solution to this unforgivable act is awareness. More we are aware of it, safer the innocent souls would be.

First – What is child abuse?

Child abuse can be verbal, non-verbal, emotional and physical and the most dreaded sexual. It is not limited to engaging a child in a sexual act or inappropriate physical contact, but it also involves showing a child an adult’s genitals or making a child watch a sexual act or pornographic material. It involves acts like telling “dirty” stories. Rubbing the hand of a child does no harm. But this casual act if performed with unwanted intention is a form of child abuse.

We tend to believe that it cannot happen to our child. Children around us are safe. Yes, it’s true that some cases make the kid more vulnerable to it, but we cannot identify the kids who are likely to be abused.

Most of the times, we say molesters are mentally sick. Their mind is not working properly. There may be no other reason for such degrading act. Dear, actually, child molesters are mentally stronger than me.  Generally, they are the most popular people in the group. They cannot do that is they are not good with children. Because, it is not easy to stop a child from crying aloud when he/she feel like crying. Manipulating children to keep secrets is like finding oxygen on mars. This is the reason more than 50% of abusers are in a relationship of trust with the child. When it comes to answers the question – “Who are child abusers”, I myself feel ashamed to say this, but the fact is “They are like me. They look like me. They are children’s favorite. Most of the times, children love them. They are ‘Fathers’, ‘Grandfathers’, ‘Uncles’ and in some cases, ‘Mothers’, ‘aunts’ also.”

 During the session, the presenter – Anuja Gupta answered the question asked by Amir Khan on his show – “Why do not children speak?”, “What is the reason kid are not able to talk to, inform their parents or anyone about it?”  And, she gave the perfect answer – “It is our expectation from the kids to talk. When adults themselves do not talk about it, how we expect children to share such extreme incident happened with them. Children do not know about these things. Have we made ourselves trust worthy of listening them? Kids are intelligent enough. If you have listened to the survivors, they knew if they would tell it, they would not be believed. ”

Now, the big question, how should a parent react if his/her child informs that something like this has happened? I feel, the answer is – Trust your child. Children do not lie about this. Make your child believe that he has done well by telling it. Say sorry to the kid that he had to undergo this being you around him. Kids take thank you and sorry quite seriously. Listen to the kid and decide to take some action. Make yourself worthy of listening and helping the kids around you.

I wonder why we are so uncomfortable talking about this issue: May be because of our culture. But, dear, it’s high time to give our kids a safe and sound environment to grow. The problem is very severe and unfortunately there is just one resolution to it – awareness. We cannot fight it back until we are comfortable enough do discuss it at our dining table.

I read a question in some interview – “Should we respect our elders?” The person said – “No.”. He further said, – “We should respect their behavior. “.

Ladies and gentlemen, I urge each and every one individual present here to help make themselves and people around them to not to be a respectable elder, but to have a respectable behavior.

Toastmasters – Project#2 – ORGANISE YOUR SPEECH

Finally, I took out some time to post my second Toastmasters speech. I delivered the speech on 11/June/2013. 
Toastmasters International Speech #2: Organize Your Speech
Executive Summary
Good speech organization is essential if your audience is to understand your presentation. You must take the time to put your ideas together in an orderly manner. You can organize your speech in several different ways; choose the outline that best suits your topic. The opening should catch the audience’s attention, the body must support the idea you want to convey, and the conclusion should reinforce your ideas and be memorable. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth. 
  • Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech.
  • Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message.
  • Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another.
  • Create a strong opening and conclusion.
  • TIME: Five to seven minutes.
Toastmasters Organize Your Speech … I am not sure if the speech solved its objectives, but one fine day, the topic struck me and I googled some information around the same and came up with below speech
My dear Indira,

On your birthday you have been in the habit of receiving presents and good wishes. Good wishes you will still have in full measure, but what present can I send you from Naini prison? My presents cannot be very material or solid. They can be of the mind and spirit, Things that even the high walls of prison cannot stop.

You know sweetheart, how I dislike sermonizing and doling out good advice…….. I have always thought that the best way to find out what is right and what is not right, what should be done and what should not be done, is not by giving a sermon, but by talking and discussing, and out of discussion sometimes a little bit of truth comes out. I have liked my talks with you and we have discussed many things, but the world is wide and beyond our world lie other wonderful and mysterious worlds ……..none of us need ever be bored or imagine ……..that we have learned everything worth learning and become very wise.

……. But what am I to do then?  A letter can hardly take the place of a talk; at best it is a one-sided affair…… Imagine that I have made a suggestion to you for you to think over, as if we really were having a talk…

Wondering what is it?

This is an extract from the letter written by out former president Mr. Jawaharlal Lal Nehru to his daughter Indira Nehru on her birthday.

Fellow toastmasters and dear guests, today I would take a few moments to express my feeling on the lost importance of greeting cards and letters.

Greeting card as per Wikipedia is an illustrated, folded piece of paper featuring an expression of sentiment. Walk in to an archies store and there would be a greeting card on every occasion, for every relation you may think of.

Let me ask you a question – “When was the last time you received a card/letter from someone?”

For many of us, with access to modes of communication, internet, media, films, videos – we rarely if ever sit down and read/write something to our friends.  The most we do is forward a message we liked or share or like a status on Facebook.

Do you remember how we used to decorate our walls with diagonal lines of greeting cards we received from our loved ones?  I loved that. And the moment I used to look at the wall of my cousin sister, I felt jealous as she always had more diagonals than me. Her wall clearly showed how much people loved her. I also felt being loved at my own wall.

Coming to letters, they have given us some beautiful movies to enjoy. Bollywood movie – “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” very aptly and beautifully showcased the curiosity of little girl to discard all big boxes of gift received on her birthday and look for the small letter which her deceased mother had written for her 18 birthdays in advance. Hollywood movie – “P.S. I Love You” displayed how a young widow rediscovered herself and rejoiced in life after she received the letters from her deceased husband which he had planned to be delivered to her after his life. This is the beauty of letters. They help us stay connected – “Even From Heaven.”

People may argue that videos, voice messages etc. can do the same thing. But believe me; you would realize that we express ourselves better when we write.  I think this is the reason that when we do not feel like talking to our loved ones, when we are low, we generally end up sending a SMS on how we felt or feeling. We do not call, we send a SMS.

I recently read a book – “Message In a Bottle” by Nicholas Sparks and the most beautiful part of book was 4 letters. They made me fall in love with author’s writing.

Let’s look at another perspective. Some people say that they feel uncomfortable getting rid of the pile of cards after any “card holiday” be it Diwali, New Year. But the question is Why?. Why do not we feel like throwing that piece of paper when is has solved it purpose. Read and appreciated – No longer needed. Teat it and transfer to dustbin. It’s clear we cannot do that because we are emotionally attached to them. We feel some one has made an effort and we liked that.

Friends, try that. Take this piece of paper , go home, sit and write a line or two to your loved one. The best ones to test would be moms and kids. Do it and see the expression on their faces. Trust me; moms are most emotional creatures on earth. Chances are they would have tears of joy in their eyes.

I would leave you with the words of a famous poet John Donne – “More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”

Below is the picture of my feedback… 🙂

The evaluation went on like – .

Evaluator#1 –  
  • Good start and end
  • Audience involvement by question
  • No notes
  • Wonderful choice of topic
Areas for improvement:-
  • Use stage more
  • Use prop on time (I forgot the part where I had to give piece of paper and ask audience to try it)
  • Some long pauses were seen (I skipped the book part and the prop part – thus was wondering what do I speak I have forgotten all!!!)
Timer –5 minutes 10 seconds
Grammarian –
  • I forgot to record – there were 2 mistakes caught.
Ah-Counter –
  • I forgot to record – but they were better than last time.. J

Team Building Activity – Let’s Motivate Each Other

We have started a new team building activity in our team called –“Let’s motivate each other”.
Here it goes –
  • Decide 2-3 people within the team for which each member has to think about a positive quality that person have in him/her.
  • Have a 30 minutes meeting and one by one, let each member tell everybody tell what is the positive quality they think about them.
  • Take a sheet of paper with heading – ‘What People Think About Me…” and ask each member to write 1 liner or 2-3 words of their opinion about the person/s decoded. There would obviously be different sheet for each person.
  • Pin the sheet on their desks so that they may feel good about themselves every time they see that… 🙂
  • Continue above steps until all members are covered. 

Reference – http://www.inspirationalposter.org/poster-69825-5129957/tony-stewart-teamwork-print/

We did the first round for 5 people in our team and it was wonderful. Everybody was smiling as there was nothing to worry because no critics were there. People felt good about themselves.
We purposely decided not to discuss point need to be worked upon or improve, because we wanted to let people know what they are good at and keep doing that. I got a point which I sometimes felt negative about myself, but when people said that in my positive behaviors, I know that “No Amita, you should continue doing that…”
To be frank, we did it for a team contest in our organization, but whatever the reason was, output was brilliant…!!!
We won the contest 😀
May be after some time, we may do the same exercise for points to be improved.