I hurried to the spot presuming that I was late, only to discover that I was the first to reach. Realizing that I had some time at my hands, I decided to give Mrs. Doke a quick visit. Mrs. Doke is the wife of Mr. Doke who recently (about 2 months ago) passed away. For the benefit of those who do not know this gentleman, Mr. Doke was the single point of contact for Pune SHG to arrange the venue (community hall).
Either myself or someone else from the group used to collect the key each weekend and return it to him promptly. During our course of interaction, we struck (at least I did) a cordial bond with him and his family. That is how I know Mrs. Doke. I was greeted by her innocent smile yesterday. Later I gave another young man in her house my contact number and requested them to bother me whenever they can, for anything. Mrs. Doke gave me a teary send off. I quickly gathered myself and disappeared from her house, before I shed a tear, which could have made things worse.
This was my way of expressing my gratitude. I once asked Sachin as to how can we boost our self esteem. He advised that we should indulge in self-less services, which is what I have been doing lately.
After I came back to the venue, Sanjeet greeted me with his usual calm smile. We sat down and started chit-chatting hoping for others to join. Pravin joined us a while later. This time the strength was conspicuously low, for whatever reason. We three started with meditation, then vocal exercises and slow reading. Then we did a round of bouncing on the names of the places. We then started a story telling round using the bouncing. Pravin and Sanjit took the liberty of low turnout and came up with innovative story telling. I was awe struck with their creativity.
Later Pravin justified his long absence in meetings, by citing personal reasons and family problems. And we just listened, which I am sure have made a world of difference to Pravin, who was visibly relieved of burden when he gave his cherubic smile in the end. Sanjit and I tried to sympathize. Later I showed them my stammer speech at ToastMasters. I tried to explain my feelings just before, during and after the speech. We also discussed various aspects of corporate politics and how stammer can sometimes be a hindrance for fresh graduates, who hardly have any experience and maturity to deal with cocky bosses. I countered their stance by citing the example of “cognitive distortion” (pretty deep stuff, ha!). We later concluded that with age, maturity and experience, we cultivate the assertive skills to deal with the unruly colleagues and bosses.
Just when we were scouting for an exciting activity to wrap up, I pitched in the idea of voluntary stammering. Sounded exciting to all and sundry, we chose our own victim right across the street. The shopkeeper was very cordial and obedient, listened to us patiently and gave us a dignified look even when we faltered with words. Thank you gentleman, whoever you are, world needs souls like you
We needed to cool us down to beat the heat. We headed to a nearby sharbat stall and quenched our thirst with kokam sharbat and Kairi panni.
We then gave each other a parting smile and dispersed for the day