She sat in front of me- big eyes and an expectant expression, waiting for my “verdict”. Her father next to her- again quite expectant, suggested: I am sure you have a CD- give it to her. Her older sister, was the only one in the group, who fell in a thoughtful silence when I asked them, how long it will take me to learn Arabic. Yes, Fatima, the girl, who came with her family, all the way from Dehradun, could read Arabic and offered her prayers in that language.
She had phoned about 2 months back. Then, again a few days back her father phoned, took an appointment and was here with his two daughters, both of whom were pursuing serious PG studies in university.
“Dont you think, she speaks normally?” – father asked me. I nodded “yes”. He was the one who was pressurizing Fatima into talking non-stop, even though I had tried to remonstrate with him. I noticed dis-fluency in father’s speech too, but he made no mention of it while sharing “family history”.
So, what did they expect me to tell them? I thought about it for quite sometime; Allowed them to do as much talking as they wanted. I think they wanted me to say: Oh, Fatima speaks fine. Whatever this little funny thing is- it will go away on its own. Here, take this CD..
What did I actually do? I said to Fatima: Child, dont worry about visiting me again. You are fine. Just go home and send me a LONG email. Because, you have not told me much about what brought you out here today. So, go home, have fun and send an email when you are ready..
Later I realized that both the parties (they and I) had expectations. When these expectations are not brought out into open or are allowed to build up too much, therapeutic relationship, is under great strain and might even fail.
Another girl, Aarti, visited us last week- in my computer class- and I noted happily that she was able to introduce herself to the group, using bouncing and maintaining good eye contact and a gentle smile. I had forgotten all about her. She had visited me three years ago in Samagra. Now, again she had an urge to talk to me and had come to the Herbertpur Christian Hospital, where I teach a computer class under Community college. She had actually got an OPD card made in the hospital, with my name on it!
So what took Aarti three years? I am beginning to see that many young people need time, lot of time, to absorb various therapy principles. For example, a young man may take an year to appreciate how bouncing helps him and what it is which prevents him from using it in certain situations. Another young person may take couple of YEARS to fully digest the idea of Acceptance. All this may not have anything to do with their intelligence, commitment or enthusiasm. It is just the nature of things. Bad things happen suddenly and good things take time, effort and design!
Last Sunday (25th Sept)
Kundan (from Kala Amb, HP), Nishant, Vineet and Mukarram came for the SHG meeting. We did some role plays- then gave mini speeches standing atop a stool in a big hall… I had had some time to spend with Kundan alone and listen to him. I came in touch with him, about 1.5 years ago. He attended a communication workshop in Herbertpur about an year ago. Then, I saw him again in Chandigarh workshop some months back.
He had more observations on Acceptance and bouncing now. I saw a big change compared to what he said and how he said it, during our first meeting. So, it seems time is an important factor in our evolution. We must make time, create time or manage it more effectively- for our own GOOD..