123. Teacher Confession: Leaving Radio Nepal to Change the World

Teacher Confession: Leaving Radio Nepal to Change the World

radio nepal studio

If you had known me five years ago, you would have known me as a news reader in the national radio. You would have heard: This is Radio Nepal. I am Umes Shrestha and you’re listening to the news. First the headlines.

That was my daily routine. Translate the news. Edit them. And go live. I still remember the day I went on air for the first time. Inside this small square studio, I was literally shaking behind the microphone. Needless to say, it was a scary and entertaining job. Getting to speak to the whole nation through the prestigious national radio. It was a dream come true. That’s what I thought at that moment.

But as the years went by, my enthusiasm for the job started to wilt. Something started to bother me. May be it was the routine job. May be it was the same political news day in and day out. But definitely I needed a change.

So after sitting on the same chair for almost half a decade, working on the same PIII computer and going into the same old battered news studio of Radio Nepal – I decided to quit the job.

I went to see my news in-charge. And I told him: Sir, I’m leaving the job.

He turned his big baldhead towards me, stared into my eyes and said: But you are good at it. And I shocked him with this answer: Yes sir, and that’s the reason I want to quit this job.

You see, for almost half a decade, I lived in my comfort zone of that studio and embraced mediocrity. I was the best at being an average. I lost my drive because it was easy, it was patterned and it was getting boring. I had hit the rock bottom.

When I told about this to my mom – she got really worried and said: How can someone even think of leaving a sarkari jaagir? I told about this to my close friends. They reacted the way my mom did. I told this to my to-be-wife. With complete disbelief in her eyes, she told me: You’d better have a good plan – because we’re getting married soon.

But I did leave the job. And after a few months of soul searching, I started teaching in a school and a college. It was my calling. It was what I was meant to do.

And then, I got my hand on the book that changed my life. It was “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” by John Wood. I suppose, you have gone through this book. One thing I’ve learned from the book is – if you remain happy in your comfort zone, you will settle for that happiness and will eventually stop dreaming for something better.

I am in no way trying to compare myself with John Wood. He left Microsoft and his lucrative salary. He started an amazing organization Room to Read from the scratch. I – well, I left a minor job. But he and his book are always an inspiration to me. The book keeps me reminding to step out of my comfort zone and do something challenging.

I am a teacher, and I want to do something amazing, inspiring and even crazy. I want to be the guy who left Radio Nepal to change the world. Big dream, hai? I believe teaching is a very challenging job. At the same time, teaching is a very rewarding and inspiring job. And I also believe that – teaching can change the world for real.

(Please read this book.. it might just change your life as well.)

Also published on ELT Choutari Feb 2015 Issue

122. What can Public Speakers learn from Nepali Politicians?

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Once upon a time, I used to be a miserable journalist with a shiny new DSLR. And I had to cover events where politicians bitched and dissed other politicians. Usually in such events, I would take a few lousy shots and then I would rest on a chair to secretly take mental vacations.

But in this one event, I almost had to chock myself to death. Seven times. This is what happened: our dear politician started yelling like a sheep right from his first note. Even though his lectern had a powerful mic, he went on his bleating rampage for over 45 minutes.

Finally, he said “ani, antya maa” – meaning “and, finally…”. I jumped up with excitement and sighed – thank dog, at last, this abuse comes to an end. Unfortunately, he was not done yet. Somehow he squeezed in another issue and went on to say “ani, antya maa” seven more times, literally – before he finally concluded his prolonged monotone verbal assault.

Of course, there are some soft-spoken and sensible ones, but many of our politicians (and general people) are well skilled in delivering rambling speeches that get nowhere – na yetaa, na utaa ko. Worst of all, the politicians seem not to care that they are yelling and shouting and forcing the audience into the dreaded coma.

I only wish they knew the difference between being persuasive and being repulsive.

Lessons:

So what’s the lesson for an aspiring public speaker or presenter?

First, you don’t have to shout or yell and create a moshpit in front you. Be passionate and be calm.

Second, if you say “Finally…” or “Aba antya maa”, even by a mistake, just conclude your speech within the next 60 seconds. Even if you had four more things to say, don’t spread the verbal diarrhea epidemic to the audience. Just stop. Your audience will like you more for that.

Thank you politicians. Though bad in public speaking, you’ve still managed to teach us something important. 🙂

If you agree with me or find this blog useful, just shoot me a comment! I would love to hear from you.