291st Meeting

By Kasun Ranasinghe


They say one person can change the world. Then just imagine what 10 people can do! That was exactly the number of members that attended the 291st Gavel meeting. Exams, end term break: all chipped away at the attendance, but within those ten people burnt a passion that set ablaze an astounding display of public speaking and proved that come rain or shine, the show WILL go on!

Cheerful chatter echoed through the room as the members waited with bated breath for the Gavel to be struck. Merl Chandana, the President and future star athlete, took the stage and commenced the meeting at 5.37 p.m. The national anthem, led by Ashwin De Silva, echoed through the room. Then in true Sri Lankan fashion, the last night’s cricket match was brought up emphasizing the astounding catch that came out of the blue. Taking Danushka Gunathilaka’s catch as an example, the President said “Even if it makes no sense give it 100%”. And with that snippet of advice the Gavel was passed down to our very own movie star…

She was not Maximus Decimus Meridius, but a girl who dives into different scenes in her award winning movie called… LIFE, Shenali took the stage and introduced the role players for the day. Then it was the Round Robin Session.

”What is your wildest dream?”

It was a question most of us ask in the dark but are reluctant to say out loud, and as the session began we got a taste of just how crazy our dreams can truly be!

There were dreams of becoming Nobel Prize winners, movie characters destined for greatness, dreams of building death rays and even humble politicians. But most prominent were the dreams of becoming assassins that would take down the said politicians and even the Queen.

After these dark, yet intriguing revelations it was time to move on to the Table Topics session. The introduction to our Table Topics master was more of a warning. “Dance partners beware…” and up came Gimhani Punnyasoma, After a brief and informative introduction to each topic, she took her seat and offered the stage to the enthusiastic members.

First up was Kasun, speaking on his best Gavel moment.

Next was Athif, bringing to light the two extreme results of education: when a person is done with it and where one disregards it in the long run, and the other side that thinks the inverse of it. He advised us to look for a middle ground and balance the two extremes.

Would it matter? Would it really matter? The third speaker Ashwin posed this question to the audience as he spoke whether it was intelligence or beauty that one would prefer in a spouse. To him it was neither and he left the audience with a lingering question. Would it matter if they were beautiful and intelligent when the love and warmth for your child was nowhere to be seen?

They say the grass is greener on the other side but our President, Merl Chandana, had another idea… With his classic never fading smile he spoke about his experience at Unilever Challenge and asked us to think whether we are content with what we already have on our side of the fence.

The next speech started on a dark and stormy night, where Sachithra realized the sheer horror of having zero credit in his phone. But luckily, his mother sent him a reload of Rs.200 that lasted 2 weeks. But lately, that same reload has come to last only a few hours… Wondering why? One simple word: relationship. But Sachithra’s words of wisdom gave us a different perspective. “Being in a relationship does not mean you have to give everything up. The key is balance”

Then to the stage came a mad scientist who had created his very own spouse putting even Dr. Frankenstein to shame. The scientist was Dinuka and he spoke about how you can love people or even inanimate objects. He dreamed of creating an even better one the next year!

Do you know which politician can rap the best? The audience was at once enthralled by the question that Malith brought to the table. Malith spoke about Barack Obama and how he was questioned about his religion and skin color. Malith then drew out the differences between Obama and the current front runner Donald Trump and in a surprising twist he said if he could be any celebrity it would be Donald Trump This “glitch” was later clarified at the evaluation.

“25 years and still single. Girls did ask me out, but they weren’t beautiful”. Supun laid out the first world problems of a man in his mid-twenties, how he could never find the right balance between beauty and intelligence. He also sympathized with the Toastmaster as she too brought it up in the beginning; leading the audience to burst out laughing. Supun ended his speech by saying he only had 5 years left to find his Mrs. Right.

Next, Timal took us to a bar where we found out that heaven was not as sweet as the beer glass already in the hand. He masterfully compared it to how people sacrifice the fun in reading week for exams and get A passes while others enjoy their reading week and get C passes Which would make you happier? Well, if you ask his mother, she would say, “You have to sacrifice one third of your life to be happy the rest of your life”

The Madam Toastmaster herself was up next. Have you watched the movie “In the heart of the sea”? She compared her first experience in Gavel as to being lost in sea in a small boat. Much to the dismay of her peers who all wondered why! But then as time went on she spoke about how Gavel was like a family and how everyone was warm and welcomed her with open arms. We also learned that she liked to be the final speaker because she loved to listen to the others speak their hearts out.

Our final speaker was reluctant at first. But once on stage she spun a yarn about her most embarrassing moment in the university. “The spot light was on me… boys to the left of me… boys to the right. I walked in thinking it was Gavel but then realized… It was a Kuppi and I just covered my face and rushed out” and she didn’t fail to mention how handsome those boys were either!

That concluded the Table Topics session with every single member speaking.

The reports were read. Then came the evaluations. Mr. President went in first and in his usual comedic fashion pointed out the good points as well as the points in which one can improve. Malith was up next and evaluated the even numbered speakers.

The Gavel was passed back to the Toastmaster and was followed by the Grammarian’s report and the General evaluation.

Finally the Gavel found its way to the President’s hand and after a few words he concluded the meeting at 7.07 p.m.

Role players for the day:-

Toastmaster – Shenali Welikala

Table topics Master – Gimhani Punnyasoma

Timer – Ashwin De Silva

Ah counter – Malki Boteju

Grammarian – Sachithra Pathiraja

TT evaluators –Malith Jayaweera and Merl Chandana

General Evaluator – Timal Mohan

Word of the day:-

“Astounding”: Wonderful or Astonishing

Table Topics:-

  1. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.
  2. The most embarrassing moment of your university life.
  3. My dark side no one ever noticed.
  4. Beauty or intelligence – What you prefer most in your future spouse?
  5. Are we having the right education?
  6. If you were given the chance to switch your place with a celebrity
  7. What’s more interesting? Being single or being in a relationship?
  8. My best Gavel moment.