Three hectic days. Focused listening. Planning on the feet (plan A to Z). Asking “deep” questions. Confronting and challenging. Encouraging. Finally, Accepting Raman as he is. All this and much more. In these three days, we covered lot of ground and I am sure Raman is as exhausted as I am.
Day 1: I encouraged Raman to talk to many young students of Dip. Health Assistance (mostly girls), one to one- repeating I stammer, my name is .. etc. etc. After about five such quick interviews, I asked him to share a TRUE incident from his childhood, even if it is painful; then a few more interviews and I asked him to share a stammering joke. Emotional challeneges kept on going up in this session lasting about 1.5 hours.
I observed these 121 sessions carefully and interjected quick feedback at appropriate opportunities. All this was video recorded, which as a home work, Raman had to go through and make a list of all those words where he struggled. This was to make him watch and analyze these videos carefully. Finally, I showed him my “Thank you” list and challenged him to make a bigger list. This activity INSIDIOUSLY changes our mental framework from negative/critical to positive and appreciative.
In the evening, along with Mr Gambhir Singh, we went to colosseum in tea garden and practiced shouting – Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears..
Next day we walked up to Bhadraj temple, through mixed forest, along a high mountain ridge… Informal chat opened up many different channels of a deeper communication – as we trekked for the best part of the day and had a sort of picnic.
Day 3: A quick warm up with some nurses in 121 interviews and then we went to OPD for maha-challenge. Manish, a young pws from Paonta Sahib, too had joined. We confronted a crowd of about 60 people, in the large waiting hall of the hospital- and began our spiel. After some initial hesitation and fear, Raman and Manish opened. Raman shared jokes too, later on. Manish did what he always found difficult.
He runs a welding shop and finds telling customer rates for various items and jobs very challenging. So, he stood there and began telling people rates for angle iron, saria, finished gate, grill, window frame etc. Many people forgot about their appointment with the doctor- and began asking Manish: How about an 8’ by 5’ iron gate with simple design? How soon? Etc. See, people are interested only in what they can get out of you- not your stammering!? Nor your fluency!
Post lunch, Raman and I had a “Hard Talk” a la BBC! On camera. I pushed his views and he pushed back- to defend his position. Every now and then, he will be quiet and look down or to side – giving me an idea that may be he is considering what I said just now.. (https://youtu.be/tjo7YLMowwE )
Finally it was time to say good bye! I think “this Jatt” can take care of himself..