Gavelier’s Dilemma

Hope all of you are familiar with the term ‘Jewish dilemma’. It’s half-price pork. It refers to the common belief that Jews can’t resist bargains and to the prohibition of consumption of pork in Judaism. As a Gavelier, a similar kind of dilemma exists for me (I’m sure, for many other Gaveliers too). It’s the dilemma of ‘the told story’ and ‘the untold story’.

In our Educational Meetings we have this Table Topics Session, where we get the chance to speak on the theme for the day, under any of the table topics given, for two minutes, in an impromptu manner. Being a person who is not much into public speaking, most days I tend not to talk. I give myself excuses like, ‘I’m a role player today, I’ll be talking anyway’, even if I’m the Timer and the only time I speak is when I introduce my role and when I announce the timings of other speakers in minutes and seconds, which really doesn’t amount to public speaking.

Then ‘the untold story’ side of the dilemma comes. There’s this particular table topic, which I had, deep down, something to say about, but couldn’t form the structure at that time or the one on which I actually had some idea and could have given a speech, if I was not too busy with coming up with excuses. This untold story comes with vengeance when I’m on my way home after the meeting, when I’m taking a wash, when I’m having dinner, when I’m trying to do the recommended reading for the next day, when I’m trying to get some sleep. Sometimes in dreams too. And in worse cases, this continues to the next few days too, not so intensely, but as sudden flashes of perfect phrases, and imaginary feedback from fellow Gaveliers. Needless to say, it’s really annoying.

Then there are rare golden days where I get this really interesting table topic and the speech just forms itself in my head and I gather my courage up and go to the front and deliver the speech. However, the final outcome is not as golden as the story that was in my head when I was walking to the front. Then, ‘the told story’ side of the dilemma comes. There is this ‘I could have said that; I should have put it in this way’ syndrome attached to that. Instead of sudden flashes of perfect phrases and imaginary feedback, thoughts on my messed up speech would come. Every mistake, every forgotten hand gesture, every voice variation that went wrong start constantly nagging me when I’m on my way home, when I’m taking a wash, when I’m having dinner and so on. And it too is really annoying.
See, I’m in quite the predicament either way.

But I think it’s the beauty of Gavel, it occupies your mind so well. But, my love for Gavel aside, this can be a headache sometimes. So I have come up with a mechanism to deal with this Gavelier’s dilemma. Writing this blog post was a part of that too. It is to make it a point of giving a speech at every single meeting and to deal with the ‘I could have said that in this way’ syndrome by writing it all down. But not refraining from giving speeches because Gavel is all about expressing ourselves and because what you fear most is the thing that helps you grow most.

Gavelier Nishadi Gunatilake


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