Today we started with the third anniversary celebrations of Chennai SHG. Mr Shiva Subramaniam started the proceedings by welcoming guests, media (two reporters from Times of India and The Hindu) and all the members. It was also a chance to meet some of the long time members of Chennai SHG like Mr. Hassanand, who were not able to make it yesterday. Next, Dr Sachin gave a small talk about – what stammering is ? how it affects an individuals life, what can be done about it, evolution of TISA as an organization, achievements and how TISA has learned and inherited a lot of things from western scientific methods and Indian spiritual traditions. Next was JP’s speech on SHGs. He shared his experiences with Pune SHG and talked about how SHGs are helping a lot of pws to move ahead in life, develop leadership qualities and a sense of social responsibility; he also discussed what the future potential of SHGs could be, if Indian PWS could exert a little bit more. He also briefly touched upon the challenges (and their solutions) that SHGs are facing presently. We invited even the journalists to come and share what they felt about PWS in general and how could we change the prevailing negative perceptions.
Next, TISA felicitated the self less service of Mr Manimaran who has been facilitating Chennai SHG meetings regularly for over a decade now- by presenting a plaque and a shawl to him. Then Mr Manimaran, Vishal Dhada and Mr Hassanand shared the history and evolution of Chennai SHG along with their own personal stories. After this, all the members came up on the podium one by one and shared their personal stories, thoughts, concerns and achievements with the audience. Some of the experiences were really inspiring like a young man (who stammers), appeared for 50 interviews before landing into a good job! The unsung h-h-heroes!
We also worked on shooting the upcoming documentary on the side-lines, directed by Mr Raja Bhattacharjee – and as always he was being assisted by his wife, Ms Raje Shri- who interviewed the guests, while he handled the camera!. After noon we were also joined by Ms Usha Pillai, a Corporate HR consultant. As someone who interviews a lot of people regularly, she shared that a prospective employer looks for getting the job done at the end of the day. Fluency per se is not sine qua non of employability. He/She looks for communication skills, honesty, integrity and self-confidence. She also shared about the things that we should take care of while going for an interview e.g. body language, grooming, overall attitude etc. She answered a lot of questions form the participants who had had mixed experiences from job interviews. Mr Mani Maran thanked her and requested her to help organize mock interviews for young PWS at Chennai SHG- to which she has kindly agreed to. She also suggested that some of these mock interviews could be conducted on phone as well.
We ended the day by going out to Marina beach with Mr Manimaran and Rahul Yadav. Lights of the distant ships and the harbor twinkled in distance. Salty moist air misted up our glasses. Sachin and Rahul went around practicing their speech techniques on patient and kind vendors on the beach. JP and Mani sat down and shared their early days and the future of our work. JP and Sachin then returned back to their den after having a nice fish fry at a good restaurant. They had no problem ordering their fish fry and curry! All in all, two very productive days in Chennai!
Looking forward to going to Infosys Chennai tomorrow for an awareness workshop on stammering!