Ovation 2014, Goa ~ “The Paradise is Calling”, The Bi Annual Conference of Toastmasters District 82

20140619-093011-34211287.jpgI was always on the conception that it is impossible to witness the Paradise when being alive. I was proved that it was a mere misconception at Goa, this may, While the waves kissing the beaches, the sun scorching the heads, Educational Speakers inspiring the audience, the contestants rocking the stage and the new leaders adorning the Diaz. Attending a Toastmasters convention is truly a bliss! 

May 22,2014 : Experiencing the Goan Goodness

I was in Pune in the previous week. On 21st May I reached Mumbai by the famous “Deccan Queen Passenger Express” . I chose to stay in the bustling area, Andheri. Unfortunately due to ill health, I couldn’t explore much. I got dropped at Chhatrapathi Shivaji Airport by 10 AM. The flight, SpiceJet SG283 took off by 12.10 PM and landed Goa Airport, Dabolim by about 2.30 PM. We reached the famous resort, “Holiday Inn” in an hour. Beautiful ladies and Handsome men were all around in the entrance to welcome the delegates! 😀 We were all given a modish Conference tag, filled with food and drink coupons. We were asked to report to the Rooms desk, where we would be given the Room keys. The host team had already grouped two delegates for one room. My mind had already started rambling as to who would be the companion for me in the next three awesome days! 😛 Whether it would be a damsel or a daring man(just Kidding); is it going to be a man or a gentle man 😀 Boy, I just got too curious about it. I got more excited when I saw the name, “Arjun Sundar Raj”, which literally means a “Handsome King :P. I picked the room keys, and headed straight to room number “210”, dragging my trolleys. I saw the cluttered room and understood that, my roomie had already come. For about an hour, I wasjust meandering the room, and finding out ways on how to kill time :D. I texted the other Chennai guys and found that they’ve already immersed in tea, that was being served near ballroom. I had already started getting some strange sounds in my tummy, as I still didn’t have my noon much. Later I had a good sip of tea, with those extra biscuits I sneaked from the plate 😛 I got introduced with many new friends from SriLanka. I got in touch with Ajitha Goonewardene, the credentials committee Chair and she politely asked me to take a small role in the election process in the next day, to which I nodded my head with a smiley face 🙂 Later in the evening, I spearheaded towards the beach to enjoy the sunset and rejuvenating breeze.

The first selfie at the beach :)

The first selfie at the beach 🙂

It brought back my childish memories in beach, where I used to write some crazy stuffs on the sands.

I always make sure the flag flutters as high as possible :P

I always make sure the flag flutters as high as possible 😛

After having some refreshing moments, I started towards the room, when the current Lieutenant Governor Marketing, Sastharam along with Praveen Mani and Aashish Amalraj were planning for a swim. I too got interested but remember, I had a bad health! But finally I was persuaded to jointhem. I went back to room to get my suit, and this time, I met Arjun in the room. As was his name, so was he! After getting introduced, I went back to pool. The best part was, we had a swimming contest there. While I clocked first in the forward lap, it was a tough competition for me in the return lap. 😀 After few chitchats, we returned back. I’d a quick shower and joined Arjun, along with his friends Poornima, Shreeram, Arpitha, Meenu Mary Margaret and Mala Mary Martina from his club. Only then I realised Arjun was the President at Daffodils Toastmasters Club,

Dinner with Namma Chennai guys

Dinner with Namma Chennai guys

bangalore. After a fun filled dinner, along with higgles and giggles, everyone departed. I had an opportunity to have a beach walk with the current Division Governor, DTM Suganthi Periasamy, elected Division Governor, Rahul Shankar and the super speaking champ, Jaswanth Krishnamoorthy. I later came back to room by about 11.30 in the night

 

May 23,2014 :Ovation 2014 Kickstarts! 
This day was more than the Judgement day as the leaders for two districts were to be elected. I had to hurry up after my breakfast as I was given a role in the election process. My work was in the credentials desk. I was supposed to check for the voting eligibility of each officer and proxy from every club of Division K.

A strict Officer :D

A strict Officer 😀

I was also backed by another wonderful person by name, Bharathi Shevgoor who eventually turned out to be my good friend and mentor. The district Executive committee meet was going in parallel, for which I also had to be a part of it, as I head the Coimbatore Toastmasters club. Bharathi mam was too generous to take up my work too. After a sumptuous lunch, the time came to elect the Badshahs(leaders) :D. Prior to the elections there were some hot election campaigns going on, where the nominated candidates were distributing their colourful portfolios. The elections were taking place in two different halls – one for District 82 and another for 92. It was quite interesting to see people biting their nails during the election process. In an hour, the elections was done, the leaders were elected and the Speech contestants lined up for the Semi Finals of International Speech Contest.

With World Champ, RJH!

With World Champ, RJH!

The next one hour was filled with competitive spirits when everyone of them occupied the forecastle of their chairs (as in the ships so that they do not miss those aggressive spirits the contestants displayed to kill other participants in speech :D) The contest soon came to an end but the results were only to be declared in the next day. So everybody got geared up for the Grand Opening ceremony in the evening. By 6 PM, everyone marched towards the Ball room, to witness the extravaganza. The room was filled with optimistic lights, with the leaders, and the proud members of the undivided Toastmasters District 82 dressed in an elegant way. The start of the evening has to be definitely mentioned, as it bears a lot of style and pride. All the leaders(District, Division and Area Governors) of the undivided district 82 marched towards the podium in two different lines – One belonged to India while the other was of SriLanka. Each line was lead by a person carrying their big flags, fluttering tall and high with pride. Both the style and culture were not compromised throughout the inauguration ceremony.

Promotion of Reverbs ;)

Promotion of Reverbs 😉

It’s interesting to note that, promotion activities for the next bi annual conference are kick started in the current conference. It’s always been a tradition here. I was again given an opportunity to work in promoting the next conference – “Reverberation 2014”. We had some super fun in organising them. Well, with yet another satisfying day, we all went back to beds, hoping for more amazement in the next day.

May 24,2014 : Learning Unlimited! 
After a delightful breakfast, we proceeded with much anticipation as a lot of interesting events were waiting in the line.

Getting Geared up!

Getting Geared up!

The first one was the Table topics session. The contest was quick like the table topics itself 😛 But it was fantasy filled especially to see the participants, put on their thinking hats on the spot and instantly. Next on the line was something, that we could fish out something for our life! The “Educational Sessions” – yet another best part of any conferences. I was very much waiting for the Educational session by Chendil Kumar, one of my all-time favourite speakers. He educated us on a most wanted business related topic, “The art of letting people have your way”. The participants were thrown light on key thrust areas of negotiation and persuasion. (I shall share the learnings in another blog post 🙂 ). Following which it was rains of educational sessions leaving people enlightened to the maximum. We had Rajkumar Bansal, the Chief ambassador for the Revitalized Education program of District 82, where he educated us on the key points of the new program. Then we had atotally new kind of educational session by the current International Director of Region 13, DTM Deepak Menon. The topic was “The world’s worst evaluators”. Though the topic had the word, “worst”, he made the participants to self realise how the best evaluation should be, coupled with some drama 🙂 . The next on the line was one another most expected time of the club leaders – ggYes! Awards time 🙂 It was the time to cherish all the hard work, efforts the club leaders and members had put in. It was the time, I just had a self actualisation at that time : “Don’t party hard when you have to work, but don’t forget to party hard when you really have to”. It really was a big treat to each and every club member who marched to the stage to celebrate their victory. Our club too got recognised as well, oops, not to forget, we were also the Golden Gaval + winner – the highest recognition to a club in the district. I really was proud to receive it on behalf of my club, especially, because it was the firsttime our club had got one.

Well, thats my stylish family name!!!

Well, thats my stylish family name!!!

yay! I too got recognised as well for the active presence in social media. As all these good times comes to an end, another Biggest wait also comes to an end! It’s time for the educational session by Randey J Harvery – the World Champion, Public Speaking, 2004. It was a juice of humour + enlightenment + learning + stories + tips to be the best in public speaking, under the title, “Messages that matter”. While back to the room, I met DTM Abraham Zachariah, and had some peppy talks with him regarding the club growth 🙂 Later, it was time for some fun! Knock Knock, here comes the fun night! By 9 PM, everybody assembled back with their best attires.

With Vidiya and Sandeep @ Fun Night!!

With Vidiya and Sandeep @ Fun Night!!

Everyone were given a nice paper flower that had to be pinned to their attires. With lots of music, dance, fun, drinks(not me though :P) and delicious food, the flag for the second day was de hoisted

May 25,2014 : Everything comes to an end, so is Ovations 2014! 

This day was rather a quick one. The first on the line was the finals of International speech contest and table topics contest. People’s anxiety exceeded far than the universe as they were waiting to see who the champ of the District 82 was. It was a fun time as well, to cheer and hoot for the best speaker 🙂 . Finally it was Dhananjeya Hetiararchi, in the Speech contest and Gowtham Sharma, in the table topic contest. Next was the installation ceremony of the new officers of the District 82 and 92. Post lunch, it was time to say “Be with you Everytime” (BYE) to all.

With DTM Deepak Menon, Region 13 Director and DTM Nagaraja Rao, Region Director

With DTM Deepak Menon, Region 13 Director and DTM Nagaraja Rao, Region Director!

Everyone were clicking pictures with their new friends, well wishers and it was quite difficult to see everybody waving off their hands. The hotel had already arranged transport facilities for the delegates to drop them at the airport. By 3.30 I was at the Goa Airport carrying mixed and intense feelings of emotions.
By 4.30 PM, the flight took off, filled with people, who in turn were filled with Joy, Happiness, extravagant learning, new ideas and thoughts.

In-flight capture

In-flight capture

One of the memorable events to be cherished, which shall remain all time in the heart and soul 🙂

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Very well captured Sandheep. Appreciate the attention to details and literally reliving every moment of your experience at Ovations.

    I am sure anyone who reads it gets to know what happens in an annual conference and how it can be a delightful experience not just with contests but in many other aspects.

    Well done. It takes time and effort to create something good. This interesting article makes the attempt worthwhile.

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