It was raining and was pretty cold outside.
I called someone for the obvious reason of chatting for a while, but had to hang up soon. It was because it was hard to talk; it was something that wouldn’t let me speak what I wished to express, and something that had made me talk more to myself than to the other people around me.
I wondered the last time, I had my voice, a perfect and fluent speech, the voice that could speak its heart, the voice that I wish I had now.
I was helpless about it, because the voice had left me ten years back, in a world where I needed it badly, to survive, to be happy, to be social and to find love.
I remembered that day back in 6th grade, when a teacher said to me – “You know a lot of things but the problem with you is you are quite mischievous”. These were the kind of comments that I used to get from teachers very often, after I would be caught disturbing the class, but still would be able to give satisfactory answers to the questions that followed. I never stuttered, or did I know what stuttering was.
Its obvious that we can not remember all incidents of our life, so don’t remember how I contracted stuttering. The next incident I remember was in 7th grade, when I and a group of friends were being punished for playing a prank with a girl of 6th grade, whom I met in a painting class. As we were kneeling down outside the class, and our class teacher was about to arrive, and all of us were pretty nervous of facing his questions, I remember requesting the guy beside me to help me with my speech when the teacher would ask me for an explanation. By that time, one year past the former incident, I had become a severe stutterer.
I have tried hard to recall the exact time and reason of how I got the problem of not being able to speak fluently, but I don’t remember any incident that happened in the one year gap between the two I described above.
Stuttering made my life hell, I have severe stuttering. Most people who would want to advice me about it would say, “keep a stone under your tongue at night when you sleep”, others would ask me to read the newspaper aloud every morning. But, the stone stuff is for people who have incorrect pronunciation, a speech disorder that’s called “lisping”. My case was not that at all. Those days we had very limited knowledge about speech disorders and I kept hoping this would be cured someday magically. I had heard many stories of some distant relative who used to stutter in childhood and grew up to be a fluent speaker. I was hopeful that the bad speech problem would go away as easily as it appeared all of a sudden. I used to wish, I wake up one morning and my stammering is gone completely! I would jump out of the bed, and complete everything that I couldn’t complete because of my speech.
The worse days had started and the mischievous part of me had died now. I was once the “disturbing element of the class” and now I was one guy who would sit silently even in lunch breaks. It all started after fellow-classmates humiliated and teased when my speech blocked. Later, I wasn’t able to even answer my roll call.
I would practice everyday while walking to school. I would think “today I will do it. Today I wont stop”, but I would always get blocked at the instant I stood up to say “Yes sir!” As I grew up stuttering became a trauma, something that made me hate myself. I could figure out by then, the more I grow up, the more problems I shall face, the more humiliated I shall be. I consulted few speech therapists, and had certain amount of improvement but stuttering would again appear once I left the speech exercise practices. Sometimes the stutter was too unpredictable. In few short spans in my life, stuttering would almost disappear, and I would be happy about it, but it would again come back suddenly some day again. I have had this sort of episodic dis-fluency for years together.
This was all I did today, expressing my thoughts in words, in someway different to the numerous other days, when I’d just recall and forget.
Can I ever get my voice back ??
or would I always be the person, who thinks – “A million things I’d like to say, but I can’t!”