Emceeing a ToastMaster Meet!


Today’s Theme is Cartoon/Comic Characters.

Good afternoon, Fellow Toastmasters and Guests, I hope you had an enjoyable week. Now, how many of us have watched cartoons or read comics as kids and as adults? Almost all of us! Today’s session is dedicated to all those comics, the cartoon characters and caricatures who have made our lives so much more enjoyable.

I still remember how as a kid , I would first turn to the comics section to catch up with the latest instalment in the Phantom or Mandrake comics. That first, followed by the sports news.

At one point of time, my brother and I were cutting out and building our own comic books using the instalments published in the daily newspaper.

In our heyday, Indrajal comics ruled the roost. Four different comics, Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon and our very Indian martial arts expert Bahadur comprised the Indrajal series.Phantom and his skull cave, his 2 rings, one which marked you as a bad person and the other that brought you luck and Guran, his trusted aide. Also, Diana his fiancee and later Bride and their twins, Kit junior & Heloise. For the sake of continuity, all Phantoms from the 2nd generation onwards to the 22nd were named Kit.

Then there was Mandrake, the magician , his sidekick, Lothar the strongest man in the world and Mandrake’s Japanese cook, Hojo, a martial arts expert. And his beautiful partner and princess Narda. And there was Theron the grandmaster of magic and probably the oldest man in the world with the powers bestowed upon him by the magic cube. He was also Mandrake’s father!

I never quite got the hang of Flash Gordon possibly because for some reason those comics were not that popular and hence not that freely available. And Bahadur was of course the Indian equivalent of a super-hero, unarmed and always tackling the Chambal valley dacoits. Remember, this was the time, when dacoits still ruled Madhya Pradesh and Phoolan Devi was a living legend!

Later on , Indrajal comics added a few more characters like Garth, the supernatural hero, Rip Kirby, the brilliant detective but this was when Indrajal started declining and the lines of comics ended and coincidentally my school-days! My comics reading continued and does to this day! It was then that I discovered Asterix and Tintin and summer holidays were a laugh-riot all over again. Tintin’s pal Captain Haddock with his foul mouth and “Zillions of Blistering Barnacles” could not but provoke laughter. And then there was Obelix, Asterix’s partner in arms. Who can forget him and his beloved menhirs?

[Introduce the guests]

Before I forget myself , I now ask the guests to introduce themselves. Tell us something about yourselves, and also tell us who your favorite comic/cartoon character is and why?

I’m sure some of you must be wondering why I have not mentioned Diamond Comics. I was not that much of a fan of the Diamond Comics for 3 reasons, I found the story-lines very thin, not funny, and the English not quite there. I did however squeeze in time for Chandamama and Amar Chitra Katha, well, I guess you couldn’t go very wrong with mythology! No offense to any diamond comic fans but the only reason we were allowed to read comics was because it was to encourage

our reading and improve our English. Diamond Comics did not pass the litmus test!

Speaking of improving our English , brings me to the grammarian for today.

[Introduce the grammarian]

The other comics I loved reading were the then imported DC comics, these included Superman, Spider Man, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow , The Justice League and The Fantastic Four. And of course, the funnies, Archie Comics , and Laurel & Hardy.

And before I forget, The Western, Cowboy and Commando comics were favorites too!

Has someone been counting my ahs and/or uhs? We only count ahs and uhs here at Toastmasters, not the ‘oohs’!

Before we continue , let me introduce our ah-counter for today:

[Introduce the ah-counter]

And returning to comics! As kids, there were the British girlie comics such as Mandy, Debbie,Judy et al. You see I had to keep my sister happy too, else there’d be quite a row! These had quite different story lines and were quite enjoyable in their own right! But my priorities were always the Indrajal comics followed closely by Superman, Western/Cowboy and Commando comics.

Do you know whom you have to keep happy, as speakers? Our time-keeper of the day!

[Introduce the time-keeper]

And what about animated cartoons? The ones you watch on the telly or on the big screen! In those days, television programmes were a rationed item, with just 2 channels; I still remember Doordharshan 2 being announced with such fanfare!

The cartoons I then watched were He-Man and The Masters of The Universe & SpiderMan.

But the cartoon series that can still have me and my siblings smiling is Tom & Jerry.

Kudos to the makers of that series! Having so many variations of cat chase mouse and carrying them off so successfully. Quite like our Hindi movies with overgrown boys and girls running around trees singing duets!

And finally R K Laxman (You Said It) and his common man deserve special mention. His take on everyday Indian politics and how it affected the common man is a part of Indian political humor folklore! R K Laxman was called the Art Buchwald of India! Though we Indians would probably call Art the R K Laxman of the US!

R K Laxman’s common man was an observer of the Indian political spectrum , a silent observer!

We, at ToastMaster meets, also have an observer, a person we term the general evaluator. He remains silent for most part of the meet, keenly observing our proceedings.

Our general evaluator for today is

[Introduce the General Evaluator]

And now let us move on to the meat of the meeting, the prepared speakers:

Our first speaker for today

[Prepared Speakers Round]

A large round of applause to all our prepared speakers! Without their hard work and preparation, most of the meet is well, just dead meat!

We now move on to the butterflies, the round where all have butterflies in their stomach. Without further ado, I would like to call upon the Table Topics master to relieve me and conduct the club business:

Our Table Topics Master is:

[Introduce the table topics master]

[Table Topics Round]

Finally, we move on to the round of evaluations.

Our General Evaluator for today will conduct this round:

[Recall the GE]

[Evaluation Round]

And finally, we now come to the part, we are all waiting for. The award-giving or ribbons ceremony!

The items in contention are these 3 ribbons, one each for the best prepared speaker, the best TT speaker and the best evaluator!

And the winners are:

[Announce and award the ribbons]

[Close meet with announcements]

[Adjourn meet]

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