Thursday, 25 February 2016

My Sudden Relapse

I have been a regular member of SHG for a while now (like 6-7 months) and things couldn't have been better. With Bangalore SHG, I have explored new horizon of my speech which I didn't realize ever existed. I gave my first ever speech in life (last December), recited poetry in front of at least 20 people (for which I even received first prize), asked questions in the meetings, some of the times even answered few of them with full confidence. But as it happens to all good things, it ended too. I relapsed.

          It’s already been a month now, since I relapsed. The first time I had such realization of relapsing was, when I failed to order something in a shop and continued my misery by pointing towards the item to buy it. From that incident to another one, and then to another one it went bad to worse. Like the time when I failed to tell my room number in a hotel or when I wasn't able to tell my address to a cabbie, it went spiralling worse day by day.

                                                                      While all of this was happening, I was a little annoyed, a little tensed with a major drop in my confidence. I wasn't able to understand, why it has resurfaced again. The kind of confused introvert I am, added to my worries. I couldn't help but think about it over and over again and the more I thought about it, the worse were the outcomes. So, when left with no other option but to share what I was going through, I finally shared it in SHG Bangalore WhatsApp group. And the lovely group it is, almost everyone tried helping me in their capacity. It would be an exaggeration if I say, I was out of my relapse after doing that. But yes, to some extent, it helped me. It helped me in understanding that it is one of those highs and lows of life (read stammering) which are inevitable. Nobody can claim to be happy all his life. There are ups and down and there are minor deviations. We should not over-think  such set backs but move on.

                                          If I look backwards and see what was troubling me, I understand that, I was not able to comprehend that feeling of going a step backwards in improving my speech. I was just not prepared to take a step back. But, does anything in life work that way? No! Nothing works that way. Life isn't that simple and no goal is reached in a one-time effort. We fall and we get up, as many times, until the goal is reached. That is how it works for stammering too. We improve upon our speech every time we relapse and we continue doing the same till the goal is reached.

Friday, 1 January 2016

My Take on Self Help Groups

Self help group (SHG) in technical terms implies a group where people  come together for the purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help to rise above what they actually are. As simple as it sounds, it actually is. At TISA SHGs in different cities we try and do the same, but the real question is, are people really benefiting from it, as they should (even at say 60-70% efficiencies of the groups).

Why aren't people not able to do so? Aren't stutterers concerned about their speech? The answer is, yes they are. Actually people are concerned, to be precise they are worried about that aspect of life where they get stuck even at trivial questions l like ' What's your name? ' or say ' Where are you from? '. To cope up with the mess of stammering they join SHGs and intend to fight it out with vigour. But is fighting the speech  mechanism (stammering) enough?

I guess it is not!

Lets start over, the post might seem confusing where I am once talking about efficacies of SHG and in the very next sentence I am rebutting my own claims.

Lets ask some trivial questions first and try to answer them honestly.
1)Why do we join SHGs?
2)What are we seeking out of these SHGs?
3)What motivates us to go there every week?

The answer to the first question in most of the cases is, 'Because, I had an interview/presentation lined up in one/two weeks, and I just knew I couldn't hide my stammering and so on..'. In some cases it is the proactive initiation of parents who persuade/force  their sons /daughters to attend the meets. Some of them come out of curiosity when they accidently stumble upon any of the TISA posts mentioning about SHGs. I would say the number of people attending SHGs for the reasons mentioned above would be in  decreasing chronological order with the least ones being the curious types.

Whatever may be the reason, PWS in most of the metropolitans come across SHGs and even attend one or more meetings. But do they help them recover, or say stammer happily. In most of the cases they don't. The answer to why this happens, would be understood  later in this post.

Lets move on to the second question.
What we seek in most of the cases is fluency for the immediate presentation /interview. No one seeks to know the cause that triggers their stammering. No one seeks the purpose of life beyond stammering. No one seeks to dig deeper than fluency.

Can that help?
Yeah maybe! But I am not sure to what extent. It might instil some confidence in you to clear that particular interview/presentation but maybe not in the longer run. It gives you an easy escape  out of your speech issues. It doesn't offer you a rock solid solution to build your core.
Now the answer to the third question seems more or less obvious. What motivates most people to attend the meets is, those immediate targets/goals and when those goals are achieved a sense of achievement as well as complacency creeps in them. They tend to compare people with their level of stammering and feel somehow a sense of superiority, thus giving themselves an excuse of not attending meetings. Then there are people who have that 'A lot in my plate syndrome' where they fail to find time for meetings (which they were able to earlier before getting the immediate benefits of SHGs). Then there are ones who just feel they are not that bad to attend every week. Shall I go on more.....?

Its upon you to introspect in which category you fall and decide upon further course of action.

Its very important to not have such immediate targets/goals as the only purpose to come to an SHG. There must be a bigger framework of thought while attending one, otherwise it just becomes an exercise in vain. There must be a goal to identify what you were and what you want to be minus the stammering (whether it is there or not). What we do as stutterers, our whole life is, we try to be that introvert, that shy person, that hot headed person that actually we are not.  We just create them as a failsafe mechanism to escape out of embarrassment of stammering publicly. Do we really need to do that, once we have already met a wonderful group of people who feel the same as you do? Why can't we move out of that veil that we have drawn for the outside world.

Whatever may be the reason but removing that veil my friend, takes time and lots of patience. Your couple of months of attending SHG meets doesn't remove your lifelong habit of escaping out of situations. For me SHG is not just a place to stammer freely. It's a place to find my triggers, comfort zone, my attitude while facing a tricky situation and what not. Its a place to find the Mohit I actually am, which was hid during my years of escaping out by shying out of situations. It is a similar place for you. Its not just about correcting the speech mechanism by learning techniques, its also about the thought process behind that mechanism. Its about that impact which you last upon yourself while stuttering or say talking fluently.

So, finally when I think of summarising this very long post, I would draw your attention to the first paragraph where I talked about the efficiencies  of SHGs not being what it must be. Do you know the answer to it now, that why is it so? I hope you do.

Wish you all a very Happy New Year :)


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Pushing Myself in Life

I don't know why I am writing this now, maybe because of the guilt of managing to have just 4 posts on my blog in 3 years, or maybe I really wanted to, but, that is not important. What is, that, I no longer give a damn about the way I speak. It can be taken as an exaggeration but it really doesn't matter (my blog, my point of view! haha). To some extent I have reached that point where explaining myself (when I am talking) is more important than my stutter. It really doesn't bother me, when I am getting stuck or not. Maybe I have become more reluctant towards the stammer or maybe it is, the other way round, i.e. that I have focused almost all my energy on the content of the talk and at times I even forget the way I am talking (which used to be  big concern for me). To be honest I don't know. I have not done anything to make it happen, rather what I have done in past couple of years is, I have focused my whole energy on adding dimensions to the person named 'Mohit Jaiswal'. I took up hobbies in arts, in sports I took up a new game, academically I have pushed myself to such horizons which I never imagined were there (few people who still are in touch might be knowing, what I am talking about), I took up more responsibilities in my family and what not (I could go on, but this would make the post tediously long and boring :P ). The point is, the more I pushed myself in various directions, the more I grew and the more I stretched myself, it made me a more resilient person. That resilient person who doesn't get as excited (in a negative way) as he used to get a couple of years ago. The negative emotions of fear, loss, pain, insecurity, vulnerability still haunts me, but to a certain extent I have minimised their effects on me.

I realised this today, when I was trying to convince my dad about a certain critical advice tendered by me. What was important for me at that time, was, to convince him, rather than the way I was talking. The blocks, the repeated murmur of syllables nothing mattered. What I wanted then was to just convince my dad, (which I obviously did) and when amidst the conversation this thought cropped in my mind, 'dude you are having your blocks!'. To this my mind replied, 'it doesn't matter'. After that, what happened was, unbelievable. Instead of having several more blocks (progressing into chain effect), it turned out to be one of my most convincing conversation, I ever had with my dad.

There was a similar incident a couple of months ago. It was a normal day at office when I was suddenly asked to give an orientation lecture to a group of college student about what we do in our department and how we contribute to the organisation. It was a 10 min prior notice to lecture them, and me being typical Mohit tried to escape out of the situation. But, when I finally couldn't avert that responsibility, what I did was, I told myself, 'good or bad you have to do this and it doesn't matter how you are going to do this, the point is you have to do this, so better start recollecting things that you will be saying' and suddenly the panic of giving the orientation lecture withdrew, I started collecting broad points on which I was supposed to speak, and in no time I was there giving them that lecture with more confidence than what I have ever professed in public speaking. It went more smoothly than what I had expected, the reason being, I didn't put much thought into what is not in my control (my stammer) but rather what is in my control, i.e the content that I spoke about. That is what I did today, in that conversation with my father. It seems like good signs onto this never ending road to perfection.

Kudos to my approach of pushing myself in every dimensions. Some way or the it has been helping me in becoming a better, more confident and a more knowledgeable person with or without stammering.

Link to my blog :

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Panic Which Doesn't Happen Anymore

It all starts, when all of a sudden you are asked to step out of the crowd, and say a few words. Whether it be, answer of a question, a token of appreciation, a presentation or even to ask a question. The feeling (which every stutterer goes through) is something which can't be explained by few words of mine, which can't be understood by someone who never had a problem in arranging and spelling out words by their wish.

It feels as if a vacuum is created in the stomach, some reptile is travelling all throughout your breathing mechanism. Every word you say is a battle won, with panting and sweating around your face (leave behind the nervousness which is already visible). Your eyes not complying to fix themselves at anything, clenching of fists, stiffness of body and the list goes on. This is the exact feeling which I have felt and every stutterer feels when asked to speak publicly. This feeling hasn't left me, since the day I have known of my stammer.

But there has been a change since past 1 year or so, that panic has gone down. It all began when I first attended the National Conference on stuttering organized by TISA. If I compare myself from that Mohit 1 year ago there has been a severe change. The guy 1 year ago was too much obsessed with his emotions, his speech and with each and everything possible on this earth. But now the feelings, the emotions, the approach towards life have changed. That stiffness in me has been let loose (to which I held tight since my childhood). That blame of why me, has also left. No longer have I blamed myself for endless nights and days for a bad moment of stutter, no longer I keep that anger suppressed in myself, which use to come from failure to speak fluently as other people do.

I didn't do anything special in this one year, I didn't take any therapy, I didn't practice any technique religiously, I must say I didn't even tried to do anything. I only believed Dr. Sachin's words in that conference, that " If you accept it as a part of your life, then only you can move past it and realise true potentials in yourself " and since then, these words have been deep dug in my heart. Time has passed by and this 1 year has shown me, that what I wasn’t able to do in 22 years of my life was easily done in just 1 year (even without realisation of it happening).

I still stammer when asked to speak in front of an audience, I still have blocks in my speech, but now these things don’t affect the next word or sentence I am about to speak. These blocks no longer make me all worked up, these tit-bits don’t control the way I am about to behave on that day. Although I haven’t reached that stage yet, of enjoying it while I stutter but that phase has come, where I don’t deal with it as a problem. I just accept it as it is and I try to figure out that what good can be done, the next time I am asked to speak. Now, no longer I have that question in mind, "Will I be able to speak?”. The question is different now, it is "What do I have to speak?” it is more about the content rather than the trivial question of being able to speak.

It not about what good I have reached or what good is yet to be reached, the fight is still there, that known panic is still there, it isn't a cakewalk now, but it isn't as panicky as it was earlier. The transition has been as such, that the journey feels smoother on the same road.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The "JOB"

It is just the day, a couple of months ago, that I used to see 7 o’clock only once in a day (not surprisingly, in the evening) but these days the pleasure of the clock has been doubled as I see the same 7 o’clock mark twice (I mean I always try to, but can’t let the “Clock” take all the pleasure and that too everyday). The mornings were the part of the day which my eyes were not supposed to see. 

It is just the day, a couple of months ago, that I never used to know the answer of one Specific Question “Beta!! What day it is??” Or say  “What is the Date”. My answers were ummmm ahhhhh “Shayad Wednesday ho sakta hai, ya Friday hoga, ya ummmmm Pata Nahi !!”. Dates were only important when I used to eat it otherwise it was like “Kya Fark Padta hai??” but these days, I guess the Calendar would be much more fortunate to know that it has a +1 on his “Fans List” who keeps looking at it atleast twice a Day.

It is just the day, a couple of months ago, that work was interpreted as Playing Basketball, watching movies and going out with friends and would not yield anything except a “Good Night” sleep but these days it has been, making yourself available to a group of people from 9 am to 6 pm yielding an addition of four figure salary (
at the end of 30 days) in your bank account but still fails to give you a “Good Night” sleep. 

These days I have been in a “Job”. For most of the people in a crowd it is the happiest aspect in their life but unfortunately for a Stutterer it is the most “Scariest” one. The basic scare starts off when he is looking for a job and even after a lot of doings and undoing’s if a gets one on his abilities (like I got), the scare starts eating him from inside that What will happen if somebody asks me something?? What will happen if I miss a client due to my stuttering?? What if, I have to respond to my boss?? What if, I have to ask him for a leave?? What if, I get stuck in front of my subordinates?? What if, people start making fun of me?? What if people don’t take me seriously?? What if, I mess the job??

So these are the “What Ifs“ that normally a stutterer goes through when he/she is working, and as I m a stutterer too I also felt the same. Those “Ifs and buts” were present there for me too and were making collisions in my head asking me, what will I do if so and so happens? I believe these are the questions created by our “Very Conscious” stuttering brain that never wants us to feel that we are normal people. We (or I should prefer I) have spent so much of time stuttering in our life that we can’t think about anything else that is not associated with it.

The day I joined the job, for a couple of weeks I was so carried away in these thoughts that I never knew what I was supposed to do in the company and was mostly sitting and pondering about unnecessary things(like these “What Ifs”). This made my life at work boring and monotonous. One thing that helped me was: an year ago, I learnt a very important lesson in my life, that if u Accept and start Living your “Stuttering” that is the moment it no longer remains a Fear for you, it just becomes a part of your life and it will be that part of your life on which, if you look down the road you won’t feel the thorns of not being able to speak fluently but will feel the joy of living it and that too with a big Smile on your face.

Since I started keeping myself focused on job rather than stuttering, those “Ifs” don’t cross my mind now and even if I get stuck at some point I never feel embarrassed nor i am clueless about what to do, I either stop and restarts from where I left or I continue with the block. It is comparatively easy to stop while you are in a block and restart with what you were saying but continuing with the block is the difficult part. I prefer to do the latter one because later on I get to realise that what kind of faces I was making while I was in the block which makes me keep it in notice that I don’t make it again and sometimes I even smile looking in the mirror by making those same expressions again.

So, Life is as it is you make it. It depends on the person what choices does he make and I chose to be happy. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

The Interview

After facing 16 rejections in different company here I was for another interview for getting a job (desperately). There is a wise saying "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want" and after every interview i was getting the "Experience" , which i guess many would not like to taste (as it seems to be bitter).

There was  a time when  i was well focused for further studies but then, it all started when everybody around me was in a race to get placed (and that too in a well paid "Good" company), this happens only in our country where engineers are raised like cattle for some sort of race!

It begins from the race of getting good marks in high school then getting into top most engineering college to getting a well paid job etc. etc. Once, I too was in this race; things got worse day by day, and by the time I reached 13th job interview failure, things were frustrating.

So here it is, what the first interview was like: the interviewer asked me several questions in my technical background and my answers were a partially incorrect, mostly correct, a bit complicated and confused (because of me trying to hide my Stutter made me stutter a lot more). At the end of my interview i asked the HR officer about the salary breakup (which was an obvious question to be asked) and when i didn't get selected I told myself and others that, "so and so" was the reason of my not getting selected. This was the stepping stone to my wrong attitude of accepting failures and since then several interviews went by and I was just giving excuses to myself and others that , "so and so" happened this time that is why.. etc. etc.

 After facing 11 of the interviews, when i was completely sick of facing another one, I just went browsing on Internet about Stuttering and (fortunately) I saw the website of TISA, which had interviews (about personal experience of being a stutterer) of several people. One interview which influenced me a lot  was that of Jai Prakash Sunda Sir, this was because he resembled a lot like me (he also did engineering and was sharing some experience which I had also felt in my lifetime). There was a contact number also given on the website and  as I wanted to know a lot more about him facing his job interviews and how did he handled all this things, I decided to call him up. There were some useful advice from him which didn't felt right at that moment (basically because of my lack of awareness and knowledge) and I just let it go.

He also told me about the National Conference on stuttering, which was going to be held in Bhubaneshwar at the end of the last year and due to the immense let down of my confidence and desperateness for doing something to remove it (-stuttering, because by then i had started feeling that , my stammer is the reason of not getting a job) and I decided to go there, as it felt like there is nothing left in me to do because I am a born stutterer and nobody will give me a job due to my stutter.

During the conference, when i met with more of people like me and saw the greatness which they have achieved in their life. At that time there was some part of me which was willing to pay the price whichever needed to make it work and the price was acceptance of myself as it is. I also heard the point of views of Dr. Satyendra Srivastava Sir , Dr. Satya Mahapatra Sir, Dr. Manimaran Sir during the conference which made me realise that, stuttering is not  a problem it is just the way we speak, which is dealt as a problem, so it is us who have made it a problem but in actuality it isn't one.
After the National Conference I took a big step in accepting my biggest fear of life i.e. acceptance of my stammer and although my stammering increased after I came back from NC this was the time when i really faced interviews with confidence because then only I learnt about the importance of being a good communicator rather than being fluent for nothing. There is one thing that we stutterer always forget in our attempt to be fluent i.e. we miss the entire communication by just pretending to be fluent and be someone else.

I was also doing the same thing in all those 13 interviews, trying to be fluent rather than being a good communicator and letting my answers being understood. After NC I have faced 3 interviews out of which the 1st company didn't select anybody from our college, then the 2nd one in which at the end of the interview,  I was appreciated by the HR Officer of that company for the way i had conducted my interview (the results are awaited, as it is pending) and the last one in which I got selected.

The interview in which I succeeded was like, i was initially asked to tell about myself briefly and i answered:

"I am Mohit Jaiswal, i live with my father and mother at Kharagpur. My father is an Advocate and my mother is a Homemaker, I did my schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya IIT Khargpur. My hobbies are playing basketball and solving rubik's cube."
Then, i mentioned that "Sir, i am a Stammerer and at times during the interview i might get stuck, but this doesn't mean that I don't know the answers or i am nervous, it is just the way i speak."  They said "We are perfectly okay with it and we are here to judge your technical background so this will not be the thing to worry, but the technical areas will."

Then he grilled me with questions on different subjects and most of the time they were satisfied with my answers, at the end of the interview one of the interviewer asked me about Dynamic Balancing and I explained static balancing to him. He answered "Whatever you have said is perfectly alright but this isn't dynamic balancing". After this, he said "It was nice meeting you Mohit" and then I left the room.

During the entire interview i was stuttering now and then but still, as I had confronted my stammering already at the beginning of the interview, this helped me, by freeing me from that extra effort to be fluent. So, the acceptance of stammering was the key to my good communication to the interviewers, which helped me get through with the interview of the only Aeronautics company of India and I think by accepting his/her stammering any stutterer can do whatever they wish to do in life, because the main problem is this fear of getting stuck, pulls them back constantly and when you get past this fear, there are very few things which matters.

Monday, 9 January 2012

It's Two Different World Out There !!!

At first a quick apology to all the people "Stutterers" whom i promised to e-mail the contacts and ids of the participants of the NC. Sorry Guys and Elaine mam!! I was stuck with some stuffs and you will get the contacts on your e-mail id as soon as possible.

Since 28th of last month, there have been two different worlds out there for me i.e. the one with the stutterers ( from 28th Dec to 2nd of this month) and the other one, right from moment (2nd Jan) i left the IHS Campus Bhubaneshwar. Let's say the former one as W1 and the latter one as W2. In W1 it was like, i don't have to pretend neither do i have to hide the way i talk, whether it  be me saying प.. प.. प.. प Pramendra or just Pramendra , but as soon as i was in W2, it was like Oh My God why do i have to say प.. प.. प.. प Pramendra, why can't i manage with some thing else?? Why does everyone have to bear an extra 2 or 3 sec for me or to be more correct  "of me". In W1 i never missed an opportunity to express myself (means whenever possible), but then later in W2 it was like, "okay leave it!!" why do i have to explain myself or these things, to people who are dumb.

But these two different worlds have shown me that what I am and whatever may be the reason or the cause I am bound by my instincts. I took acceptance of my stuttering as a challenge, that let's see how much i can push myself, what are my limits and by what extent i can further push them off. In  this regard, i went to my place i told my mom that, look mom i stutter and you also know this. I don't have any problem with this because i no longer consider it as a problem , it will be very nice of you, if you also don't consider as a problem because it isn't, it is just the way i talk and i am not afraid that what people will think of me or do think of me. I know it was very hard on her because since childhood nobody discussed my stuttering and out of the blue i am asking her to be okay with it, but she was quite supportive and she said i was always okay with it and still i am. Then i discussed it with my friends and not so surprisingly they where also okay with it, although few were shocked about, me using the word Hakla for myself and other fellow stutterers more frequently, which they used to call me for teasing.

Still, down somewhere there is a kid who wants to hide it out, for example i am not able to use the bouncing technique as i frequently used it in IHS. I am still uncomfortable when i get stuck, which i wasn't back there in IHS. Even if my brain says that i have to use bouncing because the fear is still out there, i never end up doing it. As far as i think it is the instinct which i have developed in past 20 years (that i have to hide my stuttering) is coming in my way but the thing is now i am enjoying this because (as in Late Steve Jobs words) i have now started figuring out the dots of my life and i think, i just have to be patient and confident in what i do and one day down the road even on the well worn path the dots will connect and that will all make the difference.