But first, an admission!
I have to admit, I am pretty bland in a small group. The banter does not hold me; I am too serious a person, in thoughts and words to flow along with the easy and casual social snacking that goes on in your typical group. But put me in a one to one or better still, a one to hundred plus and…….
It was the 7th April, International Woman’s day celebration at the Akshardham temple. I was one of the two speakers invited and the topic assigned to me for a forty five minute slide show was, “Wither our destiny? In our own hands or up there, in our stars? ” My brief included three simple points: the audience would be an all-women, mixed gathering; medium of interaction would primarily be Hindi and I could expect to address a strength of some 150 or so. There was also a concise concept note on the topic.
I began by fiddling. Now I take the look of any Power Point presentation I do, very seriously. The template, the colours, the text style, the entire package has to excite me. I like the slides designed around an audience appropriate theme. And that is precisely what I did the first few days of receiving the assignment. I played with colours and backgrounds and the objects on screen.
One serious shut eye session of silence in order to visualize the recipients and the slides began to fill up. It took time and I laboured. Having enough to say has never been an issue; if anything, I have the disease of not knowing when and where to stop. There is always a frame I can give a border to or a table that can be made more arresting or text that can be highlighted…..I have to force myself to halt work.
It is what transpired on stage that I came away with, like all those other times. The thrill of connecting with others, the sure knowledge that they heard you, the certainty that something in the content or manner of what you said moved them, the bulls eye, decisive ‘ping’ of the confirmation that the presentation found its mark.
I value and cherish that experience greatly. It is perhaps the thrill of a human connect that all live performers describe as one of the greatest “highs” on stage.