My stammering started in childhood. Grandfather used to tell I acquired it by mimicking one of my aunty. However up to 10th class, it was very mild. Moreover, I have participated in debates in my school time and won prizes. I became a bit more aware about it when I joined college (+2 Science). And then it started to increase. In that period once I saw an ad in newspaper about an ayurvedic medicine to cure it. I tried it for 3 months, but got zero results. This was my first step towards curing myself.
After that I cleared engineering entrance exam and got admitted to a govt. college in our state. This was the phase during which my stammering reached its peak. Reason was fear due to ragging, intro by seniors and teachers, insecurity (for first time I had left my home). B.Tech first year was the worst period of my life. I again tried ayurvedic medicine but no result. When second year started, there was no fear of ragging, I became more confident after spending 1 year with my friends. So fear and stammering decreased to some extent. Third year was very much enjoyable when my confidence again increased. Towards end of third year my concern about stammering increased due to fear of placement, seminars, and projects. However I was damn lucky to clear all these with almost no difficulty!
I got a job in a reputed company. My seminar, projects went well. My friends gave very nice feedback about my presentations. Here my B.Tech carrier ends. But in these 4 years my stammering stopped me from doing numerous activities like joining cricket team, martial art, taking part in seminars, dance, asking doubts in class, answering teacher’s questions, talking to girls, playing games on laptop, organizing events…..and the list goes on….i.e., all those activities an engineering student does in those 4 years except study! As you can see here many activities don’t demand good communication skills. Still I stopped myself from doing them!
Reason was simple…the depression in my mind which accumulated out of many embarrassing situations. Just imagine a person who thinks of suicide, how he can enjoy life doing these things. I have avoided many activities like fresher’s welcome in first year, quoting some absurd reasons. Friends think I am an introvert, girls think I am too much proud of my grades, family members think I am adamant, others think I am nervous but no one knows how helpless I am! ;(
Then I joined job, confidence increased bcoz then I was boss of some people in the company, no more intro. But in intervals we attended training programs where I had to give intro. I followed a shortcut, I said P. Khatua instead of Prasannajit Khatua to avoid stammering. My friends asked me about this. I told that it is a long name, so I am cutting it short. Towards the end of two years in job we had a training of 7 days. All previous programs were for 2 or 3 days with one time intro. But this was 7 days: 12 lectures, 11 times intro (one person was very kind to not to ask intro!!). I avoided two times by going to toilet at the time of intro and staying there until intro ends and class starts. Rest 9 times I had to introduce myself and I stammered every time. I felt like being in the worst hell. We were in a resort then. Everyone enjoyed the food and other comforts. But I despite all those comforts was looking for end of 7 days. Finally it ended, I took a deep sigh. While I was returning I took an oath that first I will cure myself then I will think of other things in my life.
I started searching net. First thing I found was “Self therapy for the stutter” by Malcom Fraser. I started reading it and implemented techniques to some extent. I tried homeopathy but no results. I saw a video on YouTube where I came to know for first time that Speech therapy is only option, no medicine can cure you. In the mean time I visited other websites. But due to work pressure I could not devote more time for it. Then a miracle happened. I got selected for M.Tech programme at NITT, which was sponsored by my company. I appeared for written and interview for this, some days ago and I was sure of rejection.
But God is great, I don’t know how I was selected in such a tough competition despite of not doing well in interview. It was the turning point of my life. I joined M. Tech, now I have got time and free, fast net. I used them. I devoted significant time on net to explore the mystery of stammering. I downloaded many books, videos, read fellow PWS comments. Then slowly my attitude towards stammering started changing. I got to know more and more about it.
Here I came across TISA, I started to read every TISA blog posts. Thanks to Sachin sir for his guidance and AHJ, the self help manual. Thanks to Hemant ji, he is the first person with whom I talked about my problem freely, he added me to whatsapp group. Now I can share my feelings with many fellow PWS, which relaxes my burden. Now I am following a holistic approach: combo pack of pranayama, meditation, prolongation, correct articulation of feared sounds, EFT, self-record conversations etc. And I am on the way towards complete management of stammering. Today I gave a presentation in class with unnoticeable stammering and got nice feedbacks from my friends. I am happy about that. But still lot to improve.
By default I am spiritual, I have always asked God to cure me, to tell the reason why I stammer at least - but never got an answer. No doubt he has helped me in many situations but the fear never dropped. Finally I think he has given his answer thru this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GQ_bO27-Ug), which always motivates me. Sachin sir also quotes “This Self is to be realized thru self-effort”.
I must say I am lucky enough to get friends who never teased me, instead they have tried to give me opportunities to grow my confidence and show my skills. I have been mocked at only once in my life and that too by my uncle! stammering has changed my attitude towards life significantly, now I never expect anything from anyone. In fact I have no more expectation in my life. Whatever I get I become content, I neither become happy nor sad whatsoever, because God says everything is my illusion and temporary. So (TEMPORARY) happiness and sorrow are now unable to touch my inner soul.
But still I felt pity when I saw a permanent disability like blind, cripple, dwarf, and one handed person because these are PERMANENT throughout life period. And stammering is a kind of permanent too. If you don’t do anything it will never go. If you try something then also it will not go completely, you can only manage it, but never can attain spontaneous fluency. Most important thing is that stammering stopped me from doing many things like taking interest in cricket, song, movies, news, grooming myself etc. so I have very less knowledge about these, so when friends start discussing about these I stay silent bcoz though I can speak fluently, I have nothing to speak. Meaning is that, if God cures me today suddenly then also I can’t live my life to fullest from tomorrow.
I have lost my interests somewhere in the path of life. It will take time to start living with my interests. I remember the day I wanted to become a pilot, alas! Had I not had this problem I could at least live in peace, enjoy my life and this world……list goes on. I want to study hard for a better job. I want to heal myself (which consumes significant time daily). Now I am in a dilemma: which one to choose, both are related to my entire future. But someone has said “However worst life is, it is always worth living”. Thank you for your patience.
Editor: Thanks Prasannajit for sharing your story. There are many Indian pws who never receive professional help- and recover through their own efforts, while living a very "FULL" life. Human birth is Karm-pradhan. We are born to work and struggle- like everyone else- and also to have lot of fun in the process- just like everyone else.I think, you have already taken the first step by sharing your story openly, without apologies! You are fully certified member of human race now- and a platinum card member of exclusive TISA club! Cheers!