May 31, 2015

All great changes are preceded by Chaos

Hi all, This is Dr. Mansi Mehta, ya ya i cleared my PhD Viva, though it was pathetic. I had to give a seminar of 45 min in front of all the external examiners and my institute. Well i prepared, A LOT. Gave too many mock presentations in front of my Boss, my friends, in Bangalore SHG etc. I was ,though, lacking ACCEPTANCE. I used to feel bad whenever i used to go in a block/ stammer. During my actual talk, i was not nervous, i must say. But i stammered like hell. I was feeling bad about it but i didnt stop, Somehow i managed to complete it. I felt victorious (because i cleared my PhD viva), more importantly i felt defeated (as i stammered a lot despite of all the damn practice).

After two days of bad phase, i went to Mumbai to attend FRIENDS convention with a casual note thinking - ok this will be a change for me, THATS IT. I didnt expected or thought anything else. I was actually feeling lost in myself. The very first day, i met Prachi, this gal is quite young, who traveled alone for the first time to pick me up from airport, WOW i felt so inspired, thinking at her age, i didnt used to speak even a single word. Next i met Dhruv (one of the organizer of Convention), another inspiring person, he always had this SMILE on his face inspite of his stutter. Again another inspiration. Nextly, Dr. Joe Klein who is a stammerer and a speech therapist (he is just WOW), Noura (Speech therapist, seem kind and sweet little angel to me) and Vishal (Delhi SHG). Meeting them, listening to their stories made me feel that LIFE IS STRANGE BUT BEAUTIFUL.

The first day of Convention, i was scared to SPEAK (I am always though, haha). We had talks and discussion from many people, many activities, including open mic, where one can speak anything one wants. Though i wanted to speak a lot but i resisted, because i was scared. Oh yes !!! I was scared to speak in front of a group full of stammerers. Now imagine my ACCEPTANCE LEVEL. But yes i must say, it was a day full of meeting inspiring people and i must say i was feeling great at the end of first day. I got to know about ACCEPTANCE AND EXPECTATION, i got to know that I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH A STORY, EVERYONE HAS A STORY SIMILAR TO MINE. And i made FRIENDS :).

Next day started with stories on BEING BRAVE. Speakers were Ketan, me, Gaurav,  Pradeep, Dharma Sir, and Harish, who got to speak on this topic. I must say i got inspired by everyone's talk. I was feeling as if i have a new family, whom i dont know much, but YES they are on the same boat as me. I must say whosoever who is reading this must take some more time out and contact Dhruv Gupta, Mumbai SHG to get videos of these stories. Next we had some more activities, followed by TAKEAWAY NUGGESTS, where every member was supposed to speak about their TAKE HOME MESSAGE from this convention. I wanted to say all this and even more but i was just so nostalgic thinking how this convention has helped me and those little kids who didnt even know about stammering. I remembered my days when i didnt even know the word STAMMER/ STUTTER till my M.Sc, i used to always feel "why i cant speak? " This Convention was just a HEAVEN for those little kids and their parents. Anyways, next came, BRAVERY WORKSHOP, wherein one was supposed to give Bravery Cards to people whom you think are brave. OMG, that went WELL and kids got SO MANY of them, after all, kids were "BRAVEHEART".

So in a nutshell, here are my take home messages,
*ACCEPTANCE is important. It is OK to STAMMER.
*Noone is responsible for my Stammering, my family or friends who made fun of me or people who laughed at me during seminars. NOONE IS RESPONSIBLE.
* I need to focus on ICEBERG of stuttering instead of my speech. I REALLY NEED TO.

So Next, i will also share a small story, an incidence which happened in my lab at Bangalore, after attending this convention. Well i am training a junior, who is an excellent speaker. So she was supposed to give a seminar. While she was moving ahead she just got quite nervous and stopped for a minute or two. (I should tell you i used to do same while giving my mock presentations, because i had a .fear of block and i actually used to stammer also). So my Boss told me- "well she is behaving all like you, stopping in middle". I smiled and replied " the reason of this pause is same for her (coz i used to give a long pause coz of stammering). He replied back- "Oh yes, your reason is Genetic and her reason is phenotypic (means environmental, not genetic)".  I felt bad at first, didnt know what to say. Then i realized, so what, i am a stammerer, i should just let it go. I smiled and told him- " Well that is true.". He was smiling back but felt bad that unknowingly he did hurt me. Again i didnt react and just smiled at him. Yay, ACCEPTANCE.



ABHISHEK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ABHISHEK said...

Hi Mansi. It is a great sharing:). Time to contact Dhruv for the videos. You are also a braveheart for giving seminar in front of so many ppl and earning your PhD.
I remember many years ago, I had to give a presentation in my college. I stammered like hell and that day is still engraved as one of most memorable (sadly) days of my life. Strangely, I didn't know (or didn't want to accept) that I stammer.

Coming to present times, sharing a recent anecdote - I work in a telephone exchange. A customer called up and complained that her phone line is faulty; at the same time she apologized for her stutter. I said " nothing to worry, I also stutter". My boss overheard this conversation and said to me just after the call " what's the big deal if you stutter. No problem" he made my day and I felt respect for him( which is very very rare!) .

Satyendra said...

Great! I can smell a party in near future!
Acceptance is an attitude for life- not just a Psychological Tool to deal with stammering. But - that is a good point to begin with. Anyway- acceptance would mean- Being joyful, no matter what life brings to you - and turning each of these little "gifts" into useful artistic artifacts..
If you wish to know more about acceptance and how it works, go straight to this new age master:

And please start saying/ writing: I stammered like heaven.. so beautifully.. etc.

Satyendra said...

Mansi- One more point: You accepted what your professor said with good grace- this is wonderful and fine. But without being saucy, you can have a little banter next time, something along these lines:
1. Stammering has been proved to have genetic origins only in 50-60% cases. Rest, we are not sure.
2. Epigenetic factors also operate- and who knows, this may be applicable to your junior.
3. Genotypic / phenotypic dichotomy is not very well defined - as believed by many now..

In next, NC, we will do a role play: I will be the professor and you will have a chance to "talk back"!

Dinesh said...

First of all, Kudos to Dhruv n co for bringing 'acche din' for so many!! And Dr Mansi, Abhi to Party shuru Hui hai!! ;-)

Mansi said...

Thanks sachin sir for motivating comments...In next NC i will surely come and we can talk about stammering as prof and student...Any idea wen is next NC? and where?

Mansi said...

Thanks Abhishek and Dinesh....:)
And Abhishek, i am so happy to see your boss's reaction. Actually my boss is also not that bad. He used to listen to my mock seminars 2 hrs everyday for 2 weeks. And wen i used to stammer, he used to say that i have to keep speaking inspite of stammering. God knows why he made a joke (as written in the story above). Anyways, Good luck for your Job. Hope your boss always supports u :)

kartik mishra said...

Congrats DR Mansi for earning your PHD and being so brave,I never had such courage to speak in front of so many peoples, Kudos to you.

Ravi said...

Congrats Mansi for having cleared PhD. Again congrats for accepting the fact that it is OK to Stammer...every point that you pinned is absolutely correct and the fact that you have reached this point itself shows that stammering had never stopped go head and keep your spirits high...
All the best...
& Thanks for sharing

Bharat Khanna said...

Wow mansi, amazing, I am imagining the Moment you smiled at your boss.
Rightly put it.. we should just SMILE :) and accept .

Unknown said...

It was very uplifting to hear your speech. It was extempore and straight from heart. Your success despite of the struggles you had faced inspires us all.
I wish you luck in all your future endeavours.

Mansi said...

Thanks all :)