There is a strange looming urban legend associated with my time as a Vice-President Membership at Delhi One Toastmasters (DOTM) – that every member who eventually enrolled as a member during that term went through some kind of a litmus test conducted entirely at my discretion and judged solely by myself, before being considered ‘fit and proper’ to be inducted as members. (The fate of those who did not pass this notorious test, are known to this day only by the then Club President, TM Nimesh “The Beard” Bansal (CC, ALB), the then Vice-President (Education), TM Devina “The Pout” Chaturvedi (ACS, ALB) and my assisting VP-Membership (and my successor in office in the subsequent term), TM Richa “The Rich” Vij.)
Well, I am here on record to set the record straight – that legend, like all other legends, is patently false.
What is not false are these facts – and I should know a thing or two about distinguishing fact from fiction – after all that’s my day job:
Roli Sinha was one of those members who joined DOTM in that term, and - she is a legend.
She is also my mentee.
For all the praise which she has been kind enough to bestow on me in her article last month (“Danke Sayan”, Livewire September 2017), I am here to say that she is equally deserving of exponentially many more accolades and commendations (our favourite word at TMI) than I am. In a short span of time she has endeared herself to everyone in our club and beyond by her consummate professionalism, her eye for detail and her willingness to help out all and sundry with an ever-present smile. And also for her speeches, which are no less memorable, whether they are a satirical commentary on a social evil such as racial and gender profiling, or a short travelogue about one of her frequent treks. At every step of the way she has raised her hand to be counted when the club has sought assistance, and there is a little bit of Roli in everything that we have achieved in this term.
I am sure I speak for all members at DOTM, and all others who have been privileged to have been crushed under the Roli-ng stone at some point or the other, that their lives have all been invigorated by her warmth and affection, and I can only end with one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite songs – “Shelter From the Storm” by Bob Dylan which sums her up perfectly:
“Suddenly, we turned around and she was standing there
With silver bracelets on her wrist and flowers in her hair
She walked up to us so gracefully, and took our crown of thorns
“Come in” – she said, “I’ll give ya, shelter from the storm.”
I am proud to be her friend and mentor.