I worked on Toastmasters Pathway: Presentation Mastery. Level 1-Evaluation and Feedback. The purpose of this project is for me to present a speech on any topic, receive feedback, and apply the feedback to a second speech. I decided to talk about my father-in-law in my speech, “Man Who Loved Donuts.”
Here’s my speech:
1956, a young man of 27 living in a village in India, first heard of a donut from a relative who had visited the US. I do not know how the latter described it to the former. But this villager started craving for a donut. Nobody knew about his craving till he landed in the US in July 2018.
The man who craved donuts was none other than my father-in-law. He was a hero to all his grandkids, a fighter in life, and like me — a foodie! It is difficult for me to use the word “was” for him as he passed away on May 27th, 2021.
Because of his hard work in the paddy fields, he was very strong and the grand kids called him, “The muscle man”. The grand kids loved him because he became a kid and behaved like one when with them.
He was born into a rich landlord family, but his parents died when he was a kid. With no rain and no support, he lost all his money. He somehow managed to give his children education and made sure that they all settled well.
Healthwise too, he was a fighter. He survived cancer in his 60s. I am told that he travelled all by himself by bus to the hospital for his chemotherapy treatment. But, in 2021 he got COVID-19. He fought bravely for more than 12 days but his age was not in his favor.We both came from very different backgrounds, and yet we gelled together very comfortably. My ego would not let me change my lifestyle, but he was willing to change his lifestyle for me. Both of us had one thing in common –love for food! He was ready to experiment with any kind of vegetarian food, be it pasta, pizza, any sweet or kombu onigiri – a Japanese preparation!
When we lived in Bengaluru, he used to visit us often, I would make some eatables that he liked. I would pack everything in his bag the night before he travelled back to his home in Chennai. My husband would come back from work and check to see how heavy the bag was. He would get angry with us for packing so much food. He would ask me,”How do you think he will carry so much weight?” and remove some items from his dad’s bag. His dad would look at the food items being taken out and at me with sad eyes and I would communicate with my facial expression that I would keep it back in his bag once my husband goes to the other room. His eyes would immediately twinkle. The moment my husband left the room, both the partners in crime would repack the bag with the snacks only to be caught the next morning when both the father and the son would be hurrying to go to the station. My husband would just nod his head and smile!
I remember one very funny incident, my dad was visiting us. In the evening I offered snacks to my father-in-law and my dad. My dad did not relish snacks much so he took just a little. My father-in-law felt uncomfortable eating his regular quota in front of my dad. So, he took a little and said, ”Who can eat this much? Take it away.” My dad and I had to go out afterwards. We were just one floor below when we realized we had forgotten something. So, we rushed back home and what do we see? My father-in-law with a half-empty snack container in one hand and some snacks stuffed inside his mouth! When he saw us, He casually said, “Oh! I was tasting this new snack to see if it is good enough for your dad!” He then smiled and winked at us!
When he came to the US and I realized how he had craved for donuts for such a long time, I got it almost every day for him. I am happy that I could fulfill his dream… But now when I see a donut, I have tears in my eyes and remember the man who loved donuts and the twinkle in his eyes!
Byline: Lakshmi Sridhar, member at Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters
Header Image credit: Free Pexels Photo
Come to our next meeting, “Be in the present moment” on Wednesday July 21st, 7pm P.T. 2021 and hear more prepared speeches