(Received Winter 2015, from Shanawas Gaffar)
I would like to introduce myself as a 33 years old PWS from Kerala presently working at Qatar as a travel agent.
I had been struggling with my speaking difficulties throughout my child-teen hood and adolescence as well. Rather than repetitions or bobulating, my problem was the huge blocks coming from nowhere. I was very much haunted with the emotional and environmental consequences of my speech as all the PWSs who live in our society where vocal communication is essential to connect with our social surroundings. Stuttering affected my education, my relations with others and it could almost demolish my career dreams where I fortunately found my rhythm later.
I also had gone through all the pitfalls and turmoil one PWS would meet on his/her ways of life. For me, stuttering wasn’t a big concern until I left India to middle east for a better living. My first migration was to Saudi Arabia there I was completely out of my comfort zones. New languages and new speaking situations made my speech worst and it became the main hindrance to get a Job. Attending interviews were bitter experiences as it is for all the PWSs.
When I left my Job in KSA after 2.5 years and came back to India, had attained a better level of fluency because of my struggles and striving as a counter staff in the busiest travel agency located in the busiest street in Riyadh Batha. Having multi lingual communication skill was the main part of game. Successfully passing through this phase of challenges, I learnt some techniques to cope with my stammering.
After two years of break, I came back to GCC again. This time it was Qatar. New environment brought new challenges. To get a Job was my first concern and I attended many interviews and performed almost well. The only difficulty was the tele-phone conversations where I became more anxious and conscious so the speech became more effortful . Anyway, Within a month itself I got many opportunities and chose a Job of my dream in a well reputed travel company. The new working environment was friendlier and my boss was very kind and generous it made the things easier.
Its almost 3 years I have been working in this company. During this time, I had had gone many situations where my speech really became a matter. All I could do was surfing internet for a permanent solution. Me too was looking for a magic cure. I was always keen on reading from my childhood. Here, stuttering became my only subject. I was fully indulged surfing the scholarly articles on stuttering and psychology as well. It lead me to some insights seemed helpful to change my prospect towards myself and the world.
My constant explorations nurtured my spiritual quest what I had lost somewhere in the past. When I was a teenager I was active in a Kerate Dojo and my teacher was a Hindu saint who was fully dedicated on martial arts and Zen way of living. By his studentship, I was blessed with the enthusiasm on Hindu-Buddhist spirituality and traditions. His teachings were enough powerful to touch the students hearts. He inspired us with his wisdom. It was a wonderful time where I turned towards myself.
From the martial arts classes, I realized the power of mindfulness and its positive impacts on one’s own spiritual well-being. The practice of observing our own thoughts and physical sensations and how it guides a person to the art of self-mastery. I gradually became aware of the subtle ways of my own mind and its functions those were sustaining my stuttering mentality. I found my holding back behaviors and my unassertive nature. I found the extreme perfectionist within me who was more keen on others impressions and constantly judging my speech and detained me from my being myself . Who kept me unhappy with my own voice and personality and destroyed my self-esteem. My chattering mind and its thinking patterns were of a reckless critic who was reluctant to allow myself to accept the facts.
I was always pretending as if I am a fluent person and was trying to hide my stuttering persona. And I found the resistance I was creating and how it works against the flow of my true self. I got some glimpse on my spontaneous self and stuttering self. I found, how my wrong perceptions and beliefs on communication affected my connectivity with the world. I found my wrong world view what ruined my social existence. I found my wrong intentions those made my speech as the performances. My speech was mostly on ‘how’ than 'what' to say.
My searching, taken me to TISA website. I remembered you who messaged me on ‘Orkut’ before years to invite me to the first national conference of TISA. I wondered how similar our findings are and felt very happy to see someone who has a clear vision on how to help the stuttering community in India. I have read many of TISA articles and can agree with the way it is leading this movement. TISA is the voice of many voiceless.
I also want to activate a Kerala chapter where I personally know many persons who stutters.