I felt like posting this today, for all of my friends who have lived or are still living the life of a stutterer, with a message which might seem awkward but is the honest realization which my life as offered me. It’s going to be big and boring, hence a text file.
I request my friends with intense stammering to read this throughout, especially those who are stumbling and failing at everything because of stammering, those who’ve gone into hiding, not only from the world but from themselves, lamenting upon how beautiful their lives could have been.
I don’t have a solution on stammering for you. Honestly, I’ve tried so many speech therapists, so many exercises which do work by the way, but it’s like working out in the gym. You stop doing it and you lose what you gained. I realized that stammering resides in my mind. A mind that’s been trained for 20 years to stammer, trained to get dejected, trained to go into isolation, feel fear. This is the most longlasting habit we made, however undesirable.
During my B.Tech days I missed out on more than 10 companies which came for placements – selected in written tests everytime, eliminated in group discussions. I saw my friends rejoice, for whom I had taken the recruitment exam for the sake of friendship(today this makes me smile), went to their job treats, knowing fully well that I could have been in their place. I saw them all celebrating the triumph, saw them off at the desolate railway station with all smiles on their faces,saw them travel the world, posting pics of their first cars and now, getting married. Despite being one of the top rankers, I left college with no job in hand. I guess I don’t need to elaborate that feeling.
I gave in to drinking, smoking and everything that made me more vulnerable and disrespectful to my own self, seeking the reason why – why me??
I didn’t have the funds to go for an MS abroad; even paying off the exam fees for GRE and TOEFL was not possible. I tried for MBA, got selected for a group discussion at XLRI, but then I was too afraid to attend it and definitely the financial deficit was also there. I can’t elaborate enough regarding how weak and vulnerable I had become, with no self respect at all. None of my college friends ever called me, not even those for whom I had given the test for recruitment and that they are working in the same company because of me.
I continued to waste myself into addictions until one day I got selected in an IIT for masters. However, it didn’t bring me any peace. I was still nothing compared to my friends out in the world (this also makes me smile by the way…). I remained in a single room, isolated, where I used to smuggle drinks and smoke and stay deep buried within myself. I separated myself from the world, no contact with anyone except parents. All I had with me was my studies, my unhealthy addictions, a few Bihari friends maybe and a guitar. This is when I emptied my mind, cleared everything else and started to explore myself. Clearing everything was easy, because my mind was already habituated to dejection and accustomed to isolation. In fact, I got so bored with this depression that I told myself – “Hey!!…Things aren’t getting any better anyway. You’ve lost out there, you’re already a loser, you’ve got no respect in the world or for yourself. You do not exist at all, you’ve already cut off yourself from the world. So basically there is no world to put you down now. It’s only you now, do as you please, the time is yours – and surely, getting depressed isn’t your favourite hobby..!!!”.
In a desolate and inpenetrable bewilderness, with no identity and respect, I began the quest of exploring myself…what is it I can do, what is it I love, what is it I can commit myself to without caring about anything else in the world, not even myself…..(This was 2015..)
On 11th March, 2017 I received my selection results for the post of Scientist at Indian Space Research Organization (I.S.R.O.). I’m still doing a regular 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. job in a private firm when the results arrived. Of course I’ll be leaving my current employment, after all it’s my dream. It’s been only seven days and now I see my journey; the lesson it entailed and the smile of fulfillment. I reflect upon the thought that what kind of a person would I be if it were not for this curse, or rather a blessing in disguise which I failed to comprehend while I was young. Stammering isolated me from the world so that I could embrace my true self, because until you’ve lost everything you ever desired, you won’t learn to rise above that. It’s only when you realize how unique you are that will you stop comparing yourself with others on any terms, because everybody’s different in their own ways. There is no comparison between the ocean and mountain; both are mesmerizing.
I still stammer. I still feel discomfort in a bus, or in the market, or at my workplace or anywhere so as to speak. But, the attitude has changed, and the smile on my face standing at my balcony every night, comes in complimentary. This is only the beginning of a distant dream I once had, only now I know the truth about myself.
My friends, if you’re failing at this battle against speech disorder, maybe you’re misjudging the true enemy. Stammering isn’t your enemy, rather it might make you lonely only for you to forget the world, look into yourself and build upon your dreams. Every successful person in history had to isolate himself/herself from the world, because if you spend all your energy in amusing yourself and chasing materialistic desires, you will never know the real pleasure of exploring yourselves and growing at the same time. In this fast growing world, our desires will only get escalated; one day we will be tired of this and realize that we’ve gambled our time which was far more precious than everything, because it’s limited and non-negotiable. I am grateful that even at the cost of many pleasures, despite those dark days of hopelessness, stammering served a bigger purpose in my life. It gave me compassion, gave me the capability to appreciate truth no matter what it might be. It made me strong, helped me explore myself and be self-motivated to serve my country, without expecting anything but self contentment in return.
I’m open to questions in this regard. If this idea, this outlook towards stammering rings a bell in your mind, I’ll be more than happy to clarify….