It was a rather gloomy Tuesday afternoon, and right after dissections, still enshrouded with the smell of formalin, I walked out of the hall to check my notifications as per usual, only to see the official Gavel Club group had a link saying, “Applications Called for Vorbitor”. The most important aspect of this was that it was going to be hosted after a period of nearly 3 years, making it even more significant. Now this was a rather hectic time period because it was only recently that the semi-finals of Best Speakers were done, and now another one!
Whatever it was, I decided to apply with the same old speech, “One Million and One”, despite the impending exams. So, the preliminary rounds went on smoothly, which was indeed an exciting event since personally I had met a whole bunch of new friends who were never competitors but brothers and sisters, giving me a sense of family. On that eventful day itself, the results were released. Fortunately, I was selected for the semi-finals. The semi-final round itself was a complete rollercoaster due to the fact that we had to compete right after my dissections. On the day of the semi-finals, Nirantha Akka very subtly asked a question at the registration table: “Malli, do they roast you guys at the faculty?” A timely question indeed, which wonderfully captured the level of tiredness and exhaustion that I was feeling that day. And then came the next round: THE FINALS! At the finals, I was fortunate enough to secure the 1st runner-up position.
Throughout the journey, we were blessed to have been guided by distinguished toastmasters, for our wonderful club had organized countless workshops through which we could always polish ourselves and learn the art of the unlearned. After every workshop, one thing will always reiterate in my mind: “Oh, this, the toastmaster said this but didn’t say the other; maybe I get on working on this; it might as well be useful”. In that spirit, I was able to learn a new fact each day. An uncovered mistake resurfaces the next day—another scribble on my script, another change. This is basically how I grew up at Gavel, starting from square one, from scratch.
Throughout this marvelous journey, I learned one sublime thing: it’s not giving a 4-minute speech or the on-point gestures and voice variations, but the cool people you meet along the way and the new connections you make. I make it a point to portray that Gavel will never be a club to me. It’s indeed a family, a place where I grew from scratch and where I could open everything up.
I would also like to mention the awesome mentors without whom I would never have come this far. Agalyaa Akka, Praveen Aiyya, Kamal Aiyya, Shahen Aiyya, Kaumadie Akka, Mineli Akka, Raghavi Akka, Panchanie Akka and all the other mentors who always stood side by side during every junction of my journey.
And then the final day arrived. Now this was a very nervous and equally exciting day, but since the contest chair was my classmate, I told myself, “It’s just him, no? don’t worry, carry on”, and then the speech went off the script: A for…” and Z for…” This minute deviation was picked by the esteemed contest chair, and now it is my signature line for my whole undergraduate life.
All in all, Vorbitor was a journey par excellence, where I personally learned everything from “A” for the amazing souls I’ve met to “Z” for the Zippy experience I’ve obtained throughout the entire path.
Hail Gavel, a place that is home to me. So as my speech title went, “One Million and One,” Thank you, Gavel, for the one million and one experiences.