I was always the type who loved to talk about anything and everything. I loved to be on stage and I loved to address people and compere. It was one of my passions and it was one of the few things that made me happy. So, when I joined the University of Colombo, I just looked past the Gavel Club because I thought there was not much that I could gain from it. After all, there were other more seemingly interesting clubs out there like AIESEC, Rotaract or the Media unit. And those are what I joined initially after Orientation. With all other activities that were going on in my life at that moment such as my job, professional education, lecturing and other activities which are too many to mention, I really didn’t give any priority to any clubs that I was in.
But I remember two distinct moments that drew me to this wonderful family known as Gavel. The first was the sense that I didn’t belong anywhere in the University. I felt like an Outcast and so I was searching, more like longing to belong somewhere. No matter how hard I tried, I simply didn’t feel this way in anywhere else in the University. Every lecture, every assignment and every practical felt so mundane and I had enough of that in my life. I wanted something more.
The next instance was when I spoke to my friend Uditha. Back then, I didn’t know he was a big shot in the Gavel community. To me, he was just a friend that I knew since my schooling days and when he invited me to come and check out the Gavel Club, I remember thinking “What the hell. I can just give this a shot”. And so, I did. I remember attending the meetings very infrequently in the start. It was because I either had other commitments or I was too bored go thinking “A two-hour session of people just talking after all the studying I did in Uni today? No thank you”. I don’t have time to spend on some club.
But I persisted with Gavel and to this day, it’s one of the best decisions that I ever made. Because of this, I got to see what Gavel Club truly was. It wasn’t just another company where a group of people come together and do something and then go home. This was so much more; this was what I was longing for. This was where I belonged. I got to know my fellow Gaveliers and I realized that they were all like minded souls who I really connected with. Everyone was friendly with each other and supportive of one another and I too realized that there was a lot for me to learn about public speaking.
A testament to how strong our bond were the online meetings that we all had during this quarantine period. Most of you guys must know what the ‘plain tea session’ is, thanks to Gavelier Malmi. But did you guys know, even during lockdown, even when none of us had any plain tea with us and were overloaded with lectures and assignments, after every meeting there was always a plain tea session where we would all get together and just talk, laugh and sing for hours. There were times where the plain tea session went on for longer than the actual meeting and this is something that I doubt can be found anywhere else our Uni.
In the end what I said at the beginning still stands true to a certain extent. I have taken more of a liking to the other aspects of Uni that I am a part of even though I sometimes don’t have much time to engage with them. But I will always have time for my family who was there for me through thick and thin. My Gavel family.