Love – Life – Living

Echoes from the outskirts of the universe by “The Fringe Guy”

Organize Your Speech

Posted by livin on April 30, 2010

I gave my second speech from the CC manual of Toastmasters on 26th October 2009. Here’s a copy of the speech as-i-delivered-it. Hope you enjoy it:

Project 2: Money is Honey

Just 5 days back, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded 76 grants of a million dollar each to public health researchers around the world. An “electronic nose” to detect tuberculosis, a new blood-stage malaria vaccine, and using ultrasound to determine the nature of infection of the mosquito-borne disease are among the projects that received grants from the Gates Foundation. This led me thinking. Wow. !  Money, a super power.  Saving millions of lives by the constructive use of money.

Fellow toastmasters & honorable guests.  Very Good Afternoon to all of you.

I have always viewed Money as a great power. Used constructively, it has the power to eradicate all the miseries of human race. Poverty, Education, Deadliest diseases, Hunger, and what not. Our own Silicon Valley is full of examples that show if used constructively how money has the power to create great companies & make life so much easier for all us.

On the flip side, money is a very dangerous tool. It has such a destructive power that nothing else can match on this planet. The Manhattan Project that created the Atomic bomb led to the nuclear attacks on the cities of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. The attacks resulted in wide destruction & killing of over 2 lakh people.

Few days back, I had my own brush with the destructive power of money. I went to market to buy fruits & vegetables. On my way, I met a banana seller. I asked him, how much did 12 bananas cost. He said 20 rupees. I went around buying other things & when I went back to banana seller & bought a dozen bananas, he charged me 25 rupees. I reminded him that he said 20 rupees & not 25. He started quarrelling with me. And suddenly, he took out his sword & attacked me. Just before the sword hit my neck, I woke up. Somebody was trying to kill me. For mere 5 rupees.

That was a dream i had few days back but when u open the newspaper, you actually see this happening in reality. People kill each other for 50 paisa. Not only this, newspaper is full of brides being burnt, being killed for money, family wars over money. People sell their daughters, wives for few thousand rupees.

Family wars. That reminds me of our own Ambani brothers. What a legend Dhirubhai Ambani was. And what the legends are both his sons. But what you saw few years back & what is unfolding in Supreme Court these days. Essentially, a family feud over Money.

Money has permeated the social fabric of our lives. Things like love, affection, respect have all been replaced by Money. Listen to this conversation I had with my aunt just a few days back when i visited Punjab for a close relative’s wedding. After the marriage was over, my aunt was sitting in the center of a bed with envelops filled with cash spread all around her. What she had in hand was a Register & a pen. Very religiously, she would open an envelope, count the cash in it down to a single rupee & make an entry in the register. I asked: “Aunty, what are you doing? Why are you writing this down in the notebook”. She replied: “Chetan, I am noting down the person’s name who gave this envelope & how much money he gave”. But why Aunty, I asked. Aunty replied: “So that, tomorrow, when anybody of these invites me, I know much to give back”. My head went down in shame. Do we measure today’s gift with how much cash a person gave rather than love, respect & affection.

People change their attitude depending on the how much money the person has.

Once Nizam of Hyderabad invited Mirza Ghalib to a series of Royal Mushaira. Ghalib reluctantly accepted the proposal and arrived at the Palace Gates. In his rundown clothes, he was turned away by the guards even though he introduced himself by telling his name and occupation. When his friend, Zauk came to know of this refusal, he offered his own elegant Sherwani to Mirza Ghalib for next day’s mushaira. Ghalib somehow squeezed himself into an ill fitting Sherwani and presented himself at the gates. This time he was allowed the passage. And in the mushaira Ghalib really won over Nizam’s heart with his moving and brilliant nazms. After the mushaira came the royal banquet. Ghalib was sitting bang opposite the Nizam. And Nizam observed that Ghalib instead of eating was taking the morsels to his Sherwani, then topi, then pyjamas. Nizam had an indication that Ghalib was an eccentric but what he was doing seemed downright idiotic. Nizam could not help asking Ghalib what was he upto? Trying to feed the clothes! Ghalib replied ‘exactly, because Ghalib never came. He came yesterday and was not allowed in. It were these clothes that got the permission to enter. So they deserve the food.

Money is important, but not everything. It’s good to have money but more than that required is the attitude to handle money. If you can succeed in this world, have all the wealth, have all the power in the world & still be humble, you have truly succeeded.

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