November 9, 2014

Oh my God!

While everything went like a dream at NC, there was one event which surprised me. One participant, who had just arrived, wanted to leave on day one! Virendra and I spoke to him, to find out if he was facing any logistics or financial issue, which TISA could help him with. Nothing of the sort. He just wanted to go back. He spoke fine and smiled while talking to me and insisted that he must go back. It took me sometime to realize that even though he was behaving perfectly normally, there was some discomfort, some distress. Why?

It was not Zara resort. It was the shock of meeting hundred people who were stammering but not thinking much of it. They may not have reached the end of their journey, but they had taken the first step of acceptance: I stammer, so what? This acceptance of a hundred people, roughly his own age and background, was jarring to his beliefs, values and self-concept.
Perhaps, he had told himself all these years: I dont stammer. Certainly not like those comedians in movies. I just hesitate a little. I dont need help. Let me just go and find out what this NC is all about.
May be, he had expectations that some one will receive him in the privacy of a clinic and say: Here take this DVD- practice it at home. You will be cured of your "little hesitation" in one week.. Or someone will give him quietly a superb technique, which he will practice in the privacy of his home and he will be cured before his neighbours or colleagues will even know that he ever had a stammer. Naturally, NC disappointed him.
NC was all about accepting and celebrating our diversity. Virendra gave him full refund and he returned. I wondered: what is more damaging in the long run: stammering or fear of society's reactions? How long can we live in a cocoon of denial? How long can we live in abject fear of stammering and what the world will say or think?
I wished him all the best and invited him to the next TISA event in the region. I hope by then, he will have time to rethink his options and his reactions to his own and others' stammering / "imperfections" or diversity...whatever we may choose to call it. Dear Readers, Let me know, what you think..

3 comments:

Tanveer Khan said...

Of course, It's the 90% of the iceberg- the shame, guilt and the denial which is more damaging. Not many of us realise until committing too many blunders.

abhishek said...

Initially , meeting other pws is like looking in the mirror. It may be unnerving for many of us. We also need to understand that we cant trick stammering by any kind of deceit our cunningness. Acceptance is the start of the journey

Harish Usgaonker said...

Acceptance can often be misunderstood. So did I. Until I realised that I can be what I want to be, with my stammer. And the feeling was liberating. I felt like a bird set free after being caged for years. The thin line that separated the two phases was the realisation. And once that happens... Everything else just happens on its own....