September 11, 2017

एक ग़लतफ़हमी 

नमस्ते दोस्तों 
उम्मीद करता हूँ आप सभी खुश होंगे। बहुत दिनों से मैंने कुछ लिखा नहीं था और अंदर भारीपन महसूस कर रहा था। मेरे पिताजी का स्वर्गवास कुछ दिनों पहले 21.08.2017 को हो गया. ये बहुत ही दुखभरा समय था मेरे और मेरे परिवार के लिए। कुछ वर्षो पहले भी मेरे ताऊजी का स्वर्गवास हुआ था और मरणोपरांत संस्कारो में एक संस्कार गरुड़ पुराण का भी होता है।  अगर आप में से कोई नहीं जानता हो तो बता दू की गरुड़ पुराण एक ऐसा ग्रन्थ है जिसमे भगवान विष्णु उनकी सवारी गरुड़ को मृत्य के बाद क्या क्या होता है उसकी विस्तृत जानकारी दे रहे है।  

जब मेरे ताऊजी का देहांत हुआ था तब मेरे उम्र तक़रीबन 15 साल थी और वो एक ऐसा समय था जब मैं दिन रात बस हकलाहट के बारे में ही सोचता रहता था। तो जब मेरे ताऊजी की मरणोपरांत गरुड़ पुराण पढ़ी जा रही थी तो मैंने उसमे सुना "जो लोग पिछले जन्म में बहुत झूठ बोलते है वो अगले जन्म में हकलाते हैं". ये बात मेरे दिलो - दिमाग में घर कर गयी और मैं अगले कई  वर्षो तक खुद में बोलता रहा जरूर मैंने पिछले जन्म में बहुत झूठ बोले होंगे इसलिए मै इस जन्म में हकला रहा हूँ।  

इस बार मेरे पिताजी के देहांत पर गरुड़ पुराण पढ़ी जा रही थी तो मै सोच रहा था वही वाक्य फिर दोहराया जायेगा और मै उसे सुनना चाहता था ताकि मैं समझ सकूँ आखिर ऐसा क्यों लिखा गया हैं ? मैं उसे सुनने की लालसा में सबसे आगे बैठता था।  मै बेसब्री से उस वाक्य का इंतज़ार कर रहा था. पहला दिन गुज़रा और वो वाक्य नहीं आया, फिर दूसरा, तीसरा, चौथा, पांचवा और इस तरह पुरे  बीत गए और गरुड़ पुराण पूरी पढ़ी गई लेकिन वो वाक्य नहीं आया।  मै सोचता रहा कि क्या गरुड़ पुराण बदल गयी है?

अब इससे मेरे दिमाग से एक और गलतफहमी निकल गई  कि पिछले जन्म से इस जन्म का हकलाहट को लेकर कोई वास्ता नहीं है।  लेकिन फिर ऐसा क्यू हुआ की उस नादान उम्र में मैंने ऐसा सोचा ?

इस सवाल की लिए सभी के अलग अलग मत हो सकते हैं.मुझे मेरे मत पता हैं और बाकि मै आप लोगों की लिए ये सवाल छोड़ता हूँ।  

आपका अपना 
रवि कांत शर्मा 

September 5, 2017

If you have one lac, you should check it out...

I have often been given that advice – on our FB page! As I was wondering about it- where does it come from? – I thought of two true incidents which have shaped my own views and our community called TISA.

In 1988, I went to small village in Kumaon to work as a GP – Taragtal (link). I lasted just about 6 month because of all kind of hardships! But people left a very favorable impression on me. One lady- lets call her Falguni Devi – left a lasting impression on my mind. On day one itself in the village, I went around looking for some milk for my daily tea. I was referred to a woman, who had her humble stone cottage, surrounded by terraced fields, on the edge of the lake.

Falguni Devi, kept working, while listening to me and promised that everyday milk will be delivered to my home. Then, having lived in cities, I asked her: OK, how much money? I can give you some advance now.. I recoiled as I heard her sharp words in reply; She looked up in my face briefly, a little irritated and impatient, as she said: Who ever sells her child or milk? (Koi poot aur doodh bhi bechta hai? – are you out of your mind?).

I returned home quietly – shocked and surprised. She supplied me the milk without fail during my stay in the village all those months. I too learned to live with the community and serve them and learn from them. I discovered that villages, where the soul of India still survives, had lots to teach me and the world.

Then, many years later, just a few days back, a friend from Australia asked me to buy some medicine for him and courier it to him. He thought it will be cheaper here. I made enquiries and I was told that Enzalutamide will cost about Rs 4.7 lakh for one month course (120 capsules) as it will have to be imported. The same price as in Australia. The total duration of the treatment is eight month. I was shocked.

Then, I made some more search and discovered that this very effective drug for prostate cancer was discovered recently by medical researchers in UCLA, America. An American biopharmaceutical company, Medivation, promptly took it over for marketing all over the globe (wiki). But Indian Patent Office refused them the patent in India – thus giving time to Indian researchers to launch it in a few months as a generic drug, costing a small fraction:

“On November 10, 2016, the Indian Patent Office denied the patent for Xtandi (Enzalutamide), the steeply-priced lifesaving anti-prostate cancer drug .. It was a bold move on the part of the regulatory body, but it has paved way for the marketing of generic versions of the drug in the Indian markets at a fraction of the price of the original drug…” (ncbi)

May be my friend will live till then- I hope and pray. But looking at these cases, I began to think: why do men respond to other’s needs so differently? May be no one is at fault. Everyone has just followed their own national ideals. America is a land of opportunity and enterprise. India is a land of Falguni Devi, for whom there are no strangers and milk should always be offered for free. So, whom should I follow, being born here? TISA as a community draws its ideals and strengths from our old ideals; Vipassna and many other cultural bodies in India are still doing the same – offering selfless service, as the highest act of being human.

Now, coming to, efficacy. If these paid programs- like McGuire, are successful in teaching management of stammering, so is, Vipassna, Brahmvidya, Theater, Classical singing, self-effort, learning languages, taking up sales job, running self help groups, Toast master.. and not to talk of host of self-proclaimed therapists in India, who do it for a fraction of the fee. In my long career as a researcher in this field, I have seen many people benefitting from a variety of approaches- yes, including even blowing conch shell! Who are we to question that?

Finally, to answer that naïve advice: “If you have…”: if I have one lac rupees, I would rather travel to west and learn something from Professor Loriente, a pws who, in my opinion has contributed MORE than all the paid programs put together. He has boldly stated that it is society and therapists who need to change their assumption and biases against speech and its diversity (ISAD paper).

Again, if I have Rs one lac, I will travel to west and meet the authors of "Did I stutter" (link) website, who go to the root of the problem: the unholy alliance between medical technology, healthcare industry and societal forces trying to “normalize” everyone, which is fueling and sustaining these programs. We need a quantum leap, a paradigm shift – not sticking of Band-Aids, however fancy. And from Indians, we expect better understanding of their own society and its ethos. Before they discount self-help and promote program costing one lac, on TISA FB page, they should take note of the fact that 56 percent of Indians, some 680 million, lack the means to meet their basic needs (link).

And this is a land where Falguni Devi even today refuses to sell milk.. She offers it for free.

September 4, 2017

Secret Superstar

I have been watching with some interest, a new pws who has been organizing Google hangout frequently with great energy. Couple of times, I I bobbed in and out of these hangouts. He was conducting these hangouts in a very organized way- giving everyone plenty of time, without turning it in a personal monologue. He was also practicing and teaching others some solid basic techniques for better communication. I decided to interview this “secret superstar” volunteer of TISA. He is Bhupendra from Ujjain. Here is his life story as told to me:
I am Bhupendra Singh Rathore - from Nagda, Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh). I am pursuing my B Tech. in Textile Technology from M.L.V. Textile and Engineering College, Bhilwara. Currently I am in Final year. We are five members in my family. My father and brother work for Aditya Birla group, in Grasim industries pvt. Ltd. while my mother is housewife. My sister got married in Jaipur. My hobbies are travelling, writing poems, listening music, playing badminton and table tennis.
I suffered a lot in my life due to Stammering as any so many PWS suffer; simply I never lived my life – it seems. I always thought what others will think about me if I stammer, and that one constant concern ruined my life for about 21 years ( I am 21). I can’t eat what I want to eat, nor can I travel to places I want to travel – all because of that one worry, one obsession.
Lowest moment in my life came when, my teacher called me to speak in front of 150 students on violence vs. non violence in our Engineering College. Not a single word came out of my mouth for about 15 minutes! Possessed by great fear and shame, I ran away from the stage and came to my room and cried for about 5 hrs and then phoned my father: “I don’t want to continue my studies; No way…” But my father anyhow encouraged me: “Don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine one day, my son.”
Then, my search for healing and wholeness, brought me in touch with TISA. I understood, that only self help group meetings and courage can help a stammer in the long run. I began taking risks daily to learn something new, do something new. Life began changing around- slowly but certainly.
Actually, I came in contact with Tisa in the 1st year of my college. But I left it at that time because I was too young to understand the concept of acceptance and self-help . But Fate wanted to give me one more chance – fortunately. After the incidence I mentioned above – when I felt very low and lonely, I travelled to Delhi and Ahmadabad, for a 2 month internship. I grabbed this opportunity and attended a self-help group meeting in Delhi, and met Dixit sir, Abhay sir and Vishal Gupta sir; One discussion on acceptance in that meeting, really forced me to think about my own attitude towards stammering. I felt that I needed to change how I looked at my stammering.
Then, another BIG thing happened: I met Vipul bhai in Ahmadabad, who counseled me whenever I felt low and confused. I attended 4 SHG meetings in Ahmadabad. I still was often struggling and felt lost; At one such low point in my life, Vipul bhai asked me to take “initiative of helping others”. I began reaching out to others, to promote self-help, in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – on phone, on hangouts. My life and my thoughts began changing slowly. So much so, today I wonder why was I so down and miserable?
We have done 7 hangouts meetings till date. And we are having many activities like group discussion, storytelling, tongue twister, poem reciting, jokes sharing etc. We also conduct some events every week to connect more pws with us – to offer them a social life, faith in themselves and the idea that life can be lived happily, even WITH stammering. Naturally, when we get together on hangouts etc. we encourage people to work on their communication skills, with or without “techniques” and have fun, above all.
As I have observed some people have improved a lot from 1st hangouts to 7th hangouts meet, and when they share that their life has begun to change after joining hangouts – I find it a truly high moment for me.
Yes, I do face problems with network connections, like many Indians (!). Sometime I just go to my friend’s rooms to conduct hangouts as internet connectivity is better in his area. Otherwise everything is coming along fine and I feel confident doing hangouts and other activities for TISA as a volunteer.
Looking back at my life, I think the three things, which have helped me a lot in turning my life around is: attending Regular SHG meetings; Taking risks in life and Taking initiatives. I could have waited for a magical therapist or a miracle program, to change my life. Perhaps the wait would have gone on for years. Instead, I said, even if self-help is rubbish let me check it out. And it works! Taking initiatives always works. I will never surrender my initiative to anyone however wise or well meaning they may be.
My future plans are: I want to continue these hangouts every week, to bring in some more hosts, and to start an in-person SHG in Southern Rajasthan. Because, face to face interactions also have a big role. And if we don’t go to remote areas in Rajasthan, who will?

Editor: wasn’t that inspiring? Wow! Well done Bhupendra! You are inspirational! Here is his interveiw as a video: 

August 16, 2017

Acceptance with Family

    I have observed this pattern for a long period of time in my life. I am well-behaved with my friends and colleagues.. In the presence of my friends, I try to portray myself as a fighter, or at times as a victim of stammering, with whom they can sympathize. .. But I am a totally different person in front of my family.. 

     Suppose I have had a bad speech day.. I would have had many blocks and severe stammering during the day.. I carry the emotional baggage to my house.. Since my mood is off due to stammering, I behave in a rude manner with my family members. My family members are perplexed with my behavior.. So what can be done?

     It would be better to share with my family that I had severe stammering during the day . So I am feeling sad/bad/angry....By doing so, I would no longer be required to wear the mask of "Everything is ok" in front of my family.. I can be as I am feeling inside.. I can accept that its ok to share feelings about my speech with my family... If I make it a habit to share my true feelings with my family, then I won't be required to wear a mask in front of them.. And they too would be at ease in my presence

July 30, 2017

Round the world in 8 minutes

Here is a quick update:

Teaching others about stammering can be a powerful path to recovery- rather than being sent to therapy day after day, often against your wish, often just to pacify the world around you: A little child of eight - Nye, in England, tries this path.. Read more here. This can happen only with the help of school, family and therapists around you- They must change their view. And if they dont, who is stopping you to change your view, especially if you are an adult? Right? Strat with people around you. But learn a little bit about stammering first...

Can religious people stammer? Should they? Are they free to do so? When I was a child, I often wondered that if I took sannyas, people will surely call me "Hakla Swami" - and that would be such an anti-climax! Bu hu bu hu... But here is a Rabbi, who did not give up and he talks about his struggles! Please note that he spells God as G-d. This is just because as a participating Jew, he is not supposed to use the holiest word lightly, as in writing or talking to others. Here read on, what he has learned from his stammering.

Third story from America: An engineer who complained of discrimination due to stammering at work-place lost his right to sue, because he did not bring it to Human resource of the company. What does it mean? It only means that stammering does not give us unlimited rights to use law in our favor. We have to proceed through proper channel and use accepted protocols. Here it is.

Instead of being reactive, we can be proactive- by educating the management and colleagues about our stammering. Dont use stammering as a body armor. Instead use it as an opportunity to educate the world around you and make it a weeeee bit better. Hai naa?

July 23, 2017

Clarifiations about TISA

There have been a few  allegations against TISA, which are  doing the rounds in various PWS whatsapp groups:-

Allegation 1.) TISA is against phone call practice with fellow PWS friends.

Allegation 2.)TISA charges fees for national conference.

Allegation 3.)No stammerer has been cured by attending TISA National conference since last six years.

Clarification 1.) TISA journey starts with acceptance of our stammering,acknowledging it and then working on our communication skills.. There is no fixed plan suggested by TISA. To each his/her own path.. So there is no question of opposing phone call practice.

Clarification 2.) TISA charges no professional fees for any event. It is a not for profit organisation. The money collected from participants is spent for expenses on their fooding, lodging, venue charges and other miscellaneous expenses related to event organisation.

Clarification 3.) TISA has never claimed cure of stammering at any event, be it national conference or workshops. National conference is to meet fellow stammerers , to share our thoughts and ideas and learn from each-other.

         The strange part is that those who are circulating these false allegations are first-hand beneficiaries of TISA events!! 
             So friends, if we die stammering till the end of our lives, it would not  be something to be ashamed of. But if we adhere to falsehood and ungratefulness , then how can we face our own selves? Picking up random tit-bits from casual conversations and presenting them as unalterable rules of TISA is not the mark of a genuine human being .Are spreading rumours and lies not the mark of a spineless person?

July 9, 2017

Stammering as a metaphor of oppression?

Movies keep defining and refining our stammer! Here is an excerpt from an interview of a female protagonist of an upcoming movie:
I stammer because that is a big part of Indu Sarkar, the character. But there is another subtext to why Indu stammers. With the emergency, the whole vibe was that the nation’s, and in turn, the people’s voice was suppressed. That is symbolic of Indu’s voice being suppressed from the time she was small, and by the time the Emergency was lifted the nation’s voice was lifted, and that’s exactly what happens to Indu’s character. She doesn’t stop stammering, but she finds herself, she finds her true voice. That is the metaphor that we’ve played with in the movie. (link)
Another snippet from media, tells us: the "cures" which our caring family foists upon us may or may not work, but when we get passionate about something- THAT really helps. We just have to find our passion..
Born to an affluent family in New Jersey, Tompkins never wanted for material comforts. But she was tortured by a debilitating stutter. In an effort to help her overcome it, her well-meaning father arranged for a series of "cures" that were almost as bad as the problem itself... Things changed when Tompkins discovered flying as an adult. Eventually her passion led her to train with the Women's Air Force Services, and in the process of discovering her strengths, she lost her stutter. (link)
But what do we do? We discount all this, turn our back on responsibility of SELF, and go in search for the therapist, who God willing, will be better than the last one.. (and claim that we are more intelligent than the regular guys!).
Keep walking - and smiling.


June 27, 2017

🗣 हम हकलाए मगर प्यार से 

"काले रंग कि टी-शर्ट में कुछ व्यक्ति २ लोगों से बात कर रहे हैं, शायद उनसे कुछ सवाल कर रहे|
एक के हाथ में कुछ पम्फ्लेट्स हैं! अब ये वहां से आगे बढ़ गए, अब ये लोग दूसरों से बात करने लगे| लेकिन इनकी टी-शर्ट पे  TISA लिखा है, ये क्या है, रुको टी-शर्ट कि बैक पे शायद इनका टैग लाइन लिखा है, हकलाओ मगर प्यार से |अब  ये क्या है ?"

शायद सहारा गंज मॉल के सिक्यूरिटी टीम ने कुछ ऐसा ही सोचा होगा कि उनकी ३ सिक्यूरिटी वाले हमारी तरफ आये| उन्होंने पुछा आप लोग क्या कर रहे? शायद उन्हें लग कि हम किसी नयी कंपनी के प्रोडक्ट के लिए मार्केटिंग कर रहे वो भी उनकी मॉल के अन्दर (ये सोचते ही मन में एक बड़ी ही सुखद अनुभूति हुई कि यहाँ हम लोगों से बात करने से कतराते और वो लोग समझ रहे हम किसी नए प्रोडक्ट कि सेल्स एंड मार्केटिंग टीम से हैं|)

खैर सिक्यूरिटी के हेड भी कुछ माजरा देख क आ गए, हमे इससे अच्छा मौका नहीं मिल सकता था अपनी स्ट्रेंजर टॉक का | भाई हम लखनऊ के सीधे साधे लोग हैं बिलकुल तनु वेड्स मनु के राजा अवस्थी जैसे, कम्युनिकेशन होना चाहिए, ईंट से ईंट जुड़नी चाहिए, अब चाहे अम्बुजा सीमेंट लगे या बिरला हमें कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता| कम्युनिकेशन होना चाहिए बस! यही सोच के सिक्यूरिटी हेड को पूरे इत्मीनान से समझाया कि टीसा क्या है, हम क्या करते, क्यूँ करते |
उनको अपना कार्ड और पम्फलेट दे हम बहार आ गए , और बारी बारी से जो लोग किसी का वेट कर रहे थे उनसे बात करना प्रारंभ किया | हमने यहाँ कई लोगों से बात कि, कुछ विद्यार्थी थे कुछ नौकरी पेशा, कुछ का अपना बिज़नस था तो कुछ कारीगर| सभी कि बातों का अगर सार निकला जाये तो उनका यही मानना था कि इससे कोई ख़ास फर्क नहीं पड़ता कि सामने वाला हकलाता है या नहीं, सभी को अपने काम से मतलब है, आज-कल किसी के पास इतना वक़्त ही नहीं कि कोई इसके बारे में सोचे. और साथ ही सभी इस बात पे भी एकमत दिखे कि हकलाने वाले व्यक्ति को अपनी हकलाहट को ले के परेशां नहीं होना चाहिए. एक सज्जन का फलों कि पैकिंग, ब्रांडिंग और सेल्लिंग का बिज़नस है उन्होंने एक कदम आगे बढ़ कर ये भी कहा कि आपको अगर कोई हतोत्साहित करे या मजाक भी उडाये तो आप उसको इगनोर करिए और 10 में से अगर 3 ही आपसे अच्छा बर्ताव करें तो भी आप सिर्फ उन्हीं पर फोकस करिए|

ये सब सुन के हम सभी काफी चकित भी थे और काफी अच्छा भी महसूस कर रहे थे| 

हालांकि ये निष्कर्ष तो कार्यशाला के पहले दिन कि ग्रुप डिस्कशन एक्टिविटी में ही निकल आया था| मैं खुद ये सुन कर आशचर्य कर रहा था कि हकलाहट कि वजह से तकलीफें तो हम सभी को हैं मगर सभी अलग अलग प्रकृति कि तकलीफों को ले के परेशान हैं और काफी हद्द तक अगर किसी एक को कोई समम्स्या है तो बिलकुल मुमकिन है कि दुसरे को उस परिस्थिति में बिलकुल भी समस्या न हो| 
जैसे किसी को व् स्वर के उच्चारण में समस्या थी तो दुसरे को क में| 

इस संचार कार्यशाला के 2 दिन कैसे निकल गए पता ही नहीं चला| और इस से हम सभी को बहुत सीखने को मिला| जब हम कोई काम समूह में करते हैं तो हमें इस बात का बहुत फायदा होता कि हम सभी एक-दुसरे के अनुभवों से ही अपनी आधी से ज्यादा समस्या हल कर सकते| और मैं सभी मित्रों का आभारी हूँ कि ज़बरदस्त गर्मी और बेहद प्रतिकूल मौसम में भी आप सभी ने कार्यशाला में उपस्थित होकर न केवल अपनीं बल्कि हम सभी कि मदद की | वरुण जी का हर समस्या को हँसते हँसते फेस करने कि कला हो या, परिणय जी कि कभी हार न मानने वाली हिम्मत| प्रमोद जी का हर टेकनीक्स पर जोर हो या आयुष कि सरलता से हर बार बोलना, राकेश जी कि वो मधुर और अत्यंत सौम्य आवाज़ (जिसके पीछे उनकी टेकनीक्स पे किया गया परिश्रम दिखता है|) हो या शैली जी का वो डेली प्रेजेंटेशन और ब्रीफिंग का एक्सपीरियंस| ये सब यही दर्शाता है कि हम सभी लोग अपने आप में ही काफी आद्वितीय हैं और यही हमें औरों से अलग बनाता है बोलेतो एकदम स्पेशल|

और सबसे आखिर में सबसे मज़े कि बात! हमारी वर्कशॉप के ही बीच लखनऊ यूथ हॉस्टल के प्रेसिडेंट रामपाल शर्मा जी हॉस्टल में राउंड पर आ गए| ईद के समय कोंसी कांफ्रेंस हो रही ये सोच के उन्होंने हमसे जानना चाहा कि आखिर हम क्या करते टीसा क्या है और जब हमने उन्हें बताया तो वो इतने प्रभावित हुए कि तुरंत अकाउंटेंट को बुलवा के हॉस्टल फी में INR-200 का डिस्काउंट दे दिया| साथ ही उन्होंने कहा कि लखनऊ बोहत बड़ा शहर है, यहाँ आप और बड़ा इवेंट कर सकते आप जैसे बहुत लोग मिल जायेंगे. उन्होंने खुद भी बताया कि यहाँ का एक रिसेप्शनिस्ट भी हकलाता है और वो काफी खुश थे कि टीसा ऐसा कार्य कर रहा| 

नोट- यदि आप या आपका कोई जानने वाला हकलाता है या टीसा कि इस मुहीम में भागीदार बनना चाहते हैं तो लखनऊ और आस-पास के छेत्र के लिए संपर्क करें: अतुल सिंह.  मो. 9565411271 -

June 25, 2017

Updates from the theatre group - Fishbone Collective

Hi All,

Wish you all a Happy Eid.

Now, we are a month away from our first performance. The dates are 26th and 27th of July. We are continuing to meet on the weekends, three to four hours almost each day The text is ready and actors are in the process of learning the lines. We should be ready with our text by next weekend.

The facebook page is up and we are putting up updates there as well. There will also be an event page specific only to the event. The poster is getting ready, the set designer has given her ideas and she will share her 3d design in the week after which we may need to start procuring or building the set items. Sound designer will be talking to me this week and providing his sound ideas. So far, so good. All the work is going in tandem. The things yet to be looked at are light design, costume design, make-up ideas. These should start from post 9th July week.

Overall, we are having lot of fun in the rehearsals where we explore some new exercises and sometimes fail or sometimes get right. Its all fun and lots of learning!

Please find some event details:

Facebook page:

Plays being performed:
1) Fish Bowl - English  - Written by Animesh
2) Virus - English - Written by Animesh
3) Bhule  English and Hindi - Written by Anupam

Anupam Saxena, Jonali Das, Mansi Mehta, Naman Mirchandani, Nishil Shetty, Raj kumar, Shobhit Singh, Tarunidhar T

Set Design: Anusha Srinivas
Light design - Vinay Chandra P 
Sound Design: Madhumay Sinha
Logo and poster : Manas Jain

We are currently looking for some production help in sound execution(not design) and supporting set designer in procuring items.  While i am writing the need for production support, i have got interest shown by one of the members of SHG already.
I would be extremely delighted to welcome anyone who is willing to join this ensemble play in whatever capacity they can.

Please do like FB page and share it within your circle.

Thank you,

June 21, 2017

My way of giving back!!!!

Trees are the kindest things I know
They do no harm they simply grow
They spread a shade for cows
And gather birds into their boughs.

When I was a child I used to wonder how we live, what keeps us alive. Then a great man told me – son, for living we need 3 basic things - air, water & food. But why is air kept on top priority? I asked. He replied - it is because without air a normal human being cannot live for more than 3 minutes, without water 3 days and without food 3 weeks. Where do we get this air from - was my next question. He replied - from trees. That was the time I fell in love with trees.

After this incident I thought I should plant some trees. I waited for that "Shubh" day to come. On a hot summer day of June 2012 day  when I was enjoying a mango , a thought crossed my mind "can I plant a mango tree with the seed of mango I'm just eating"? But how, and where should I put this seed. Hey, why not in back of my house, in that piece of land. So I just went there, dug a small pit, put that seed into it, covered it with mud again and poured some water over it. I repeated this activity for few more days every time I ate a mango i.e. digging a pit and burying the seed of mango in it.I was very sure that in 3-4 days a plant would germinate from them. I waited curiously for some days, but even after 2 weeks there was no sign of any sprout. Then rain came. It give me a hope that maybe now a plant would sprout . I again went to the place where I had put the seeds but no result. I was disappointed not because there was no plant but because somewhere I had read that planting a tree is like giving birth to a child and I was not married. July also passed. Soon monsoon was over. I  gave up all hopes until, one fine morning when I woke up and came out of my room rubbing my eyes I was elated. I rubbed my eyes again just to confirm that I was not sleeping.What I saw was INCREDIBLE. 3 plants with reddish light brown colour leaves had sprouted from those seeds. I was extremely happy. Next day 2 more sprouted and this continued for next few days.  I now had 27 tiny little beautiful mango saplings at my place. I watered them twice a day and the Plants grew. I gifted one sapling to each friend, neighbor or relative who visited my house. It gave me immense satisfaction to think that I was able to contribute, even though in a small way,to replenish the mother nature and the air that I had consumed.

This also showed me that no extra effort was required to plant trees. All we need, is to have a noble intention to do so.  When more than 5 billion trees are cut down every year, is it not the time that we should do our part.? A wonderful way to start is by planting a seed or a sapling on any important occasion - it may be your birthday, it may be your anniversary, new year, festival, new job, salary increment, promotion, patch up or even break up, as it is rightly said "He Who Plants a Tree, Plants a Hope.

Ravi Kant Sharma

June 7, 2017


hey friends
let me share with you a good, funny, scary and interesting experience I had today.

As I'm associated with Toastmaster Club for quite a few time, today we had a Demo Meet. Demo Meet is basically a meet when any institution wants to start a new club at their place and want help from other established clubs. One of my friend at my club told me that ST. Joseph's College is asking for help to start a new club. As this college is near my office, I thought it is a good opportunity and I should grab it and volunteer in this matter. A talked with the Team and took the role of Table Topic Master (TTM). The TTM has to give topic to speaker and they have to speak impromptu. This role I have not played earlier but I thought Let's Give it a Try. I prepared for my role last night only and decided some topics also.

In half day I left my office and reached the college on time. I was quite unsure whether I would do justice to the role or not. One more thing, I was expecting a crowd of around 10-15 people, but when I entered the hall where the meet was finalised, I was shocked. The hall was fully occupied and there were more than 120 students. "Man this is scary" I told myself. But I can't backout on the last moment. Finally I convinced myself "lets do this also".

Before my name was announced, I was afraid. But when I went up to the podium, everything got changed. I went, introduced myself , spoke, conducted an interesting session and also received a good applause. Here I should also mention that I was not 100% fluent, but I did my job and that too with ultimate satisfaction. After the meeting was over, a person from the team came to me and asked me "Do you have stuttering PROBLEM"? I replied "YES, BUT YOU NEED TO CORRECT, I DON'T HAVE STUTTERING PROBLEM, "I STUTTER" hahahahaha........

It was really a nice experience.

Ravi Kant Sharma

June 3, 2017

Fishbone Collective

Some PWS in Bengaluru SHG have decided to produce a play that will be premiered in July. The play will be a collection of short stories that is written by these PWS. So far we have three short stories - Virus, Bhule & Let's Talk. All 10-15 mins stories. The genres are Suspense, Drama, Comedy.

The play will be performed on July 26th and July 27th at a beautiful location Atta Galatta in Koramangala, Bengaluru. It will be a ticketed event and open for all audience aged 12+.

The rehearsals have started and we are learning and sharing various techniques that enable us to push us beyond our comfortable living. The rehearsals happen every Saturday, Sunday at Montfort Spirituality Center., Indiranagar. The rehearsals have just started and we are yet to have everyone on board because of holidays and vacations. We should have everyone by mid-June which is when we start working on the lines and our blocking.

As part of our performance, there are some non-pws helping us in other areas like lights, sounds, graphics, set design etc.
Our group's name we have decided after lot of deliberations - "Fishbone Collective". It may sound abstract but i let it be. There is a reason why this name is chosen but i prefer to talk about it later :)
We will soon have a FB page and i will share the link with you. We shall post some pictures of our progression and development as an ensemble on that page.

For pictures taken so far, here is the link. we will continue to add pictures as we progress:
We are looking for more people to be part of ensemble, not necessary just as actors but lots of other roles like Production support. Please come forward if you are interested. Mail me for any interest you want to explore.
I will come back with more details as we progress. Thanks for reading.

May 30, 2017

A spiritual disorder?

Hello sir I am sanchit.....sir I always thought that what could be the role of meditation in overcoming stammering......I even started doing meditation.....but unfortunately I did just for few days only as my mind failed to concentrate on breath . Sir could you please guide me about how the meditation has to be done on regular basis in order to control our speaking rate and ultimately controlling stammering
Sir what is the role of spirituality in stammering there any connection between the two?

Dear Sanchit

Ahaa! You have asked me a question which is close to my heart!

Stammering – in fact any human issue- can be seen in two lights: first, it could be explained with the help of science – in terms of cause and effect. Second: it could be seen in the light of what lies beyond cause and effect. Because if you keep asking “why” again and again, if you keep looking for a cause behind proximal cause- and consistently and objectively refuse to be satisfied with superficial explanations – you end up in an infinite loop. To break the loop, you have to step out of it. And then, you are in the realm of spiritual science, the science behind all sciences. Following that line, I would like to say that stammering is not a speech disorder but a spiritual disease (you are welcome to disagree, of course).

All pws have many things in common, like: constant obsession with ‘me and my fluency’, my technique, my cure; what are others thinking of me? What kind of impression have I made on so and so? Even if I am hurting inside, I must put up the impression of being a “normal” regular guy or girl… In this constant attempt to sound and look like others, we NO more know who we truly are; who we truly are supposed to be… It is like an actor who after days of playing different roles, no more knows who he truly is, where is his home. These are signs of spiritual malady: we have lost our spiritual moorings.

This is why many pws (and even non-pws), complain of an emptiness inside, even when they have achieved a reasonable level of fluency, a good job etc etc. This is why, we in TISA strongly feel that “random acts of kindness” – like talking to a pws, who puts up a request in a whatsapp group (“Anyone free to talk?”) – is actually a kindness to oneself and is a holistic approach to recovery. In a nutshell, any departure from so called “normalcy” is a portal to our spiritual dimension. Surdas was blind. Ashtavakra had a body bent in eight places. Tulsidas was a jilted lover.  So forth and so on. There is a long list of “broken masters”.

So, if stammering is a spiritual disorder, what do we need to do? Simple: worry about others; serve others; listen to them; help others become good communicators – and don’t keep a log-book! Constantly expand your sphere of concern for others- go beyond “stammering”, beyond my state, my nationality… Be a little humble and honest and say: Yes, I stammer.... Instead of looking for inspiration for yourself, inspire others. 

Coming to your specific question about meditation: we may think very highly of ourselves and our abilities and our will-power, but the fact is: environment can twist and mould us like wax-dolls in a second! Therefore company you keep can be important. Books you read, movies you watch – all this goes towards creating an inner environment, which can defeat your stated external purpose in life. So be cognizant of this great psychological truth and use it to your advantage- by choosing your company carefully. In your case, it might help if you practice meditation with others- not alone. You could, for example, do 3-4 vipassana courses, one after another, in different cities, if you are free.

Another thing: it is not helpful to sit for meditation with such expectations: My mind will get focused on my breath. I will enjoy peace… Rather, when you sit, you could say to yourself: I am just sitting down for at least 60 minutes- no matter what happens or fails to happen. I will just sit. That is a better attitude for mediation. Finally remember: Saint is the Sinner, who never gave up (Sw Yoganand).

May 29, 2017

शतुरमुर्ग की सोच .....

        हम सबने शतुरमुर्ग की कहानी सुनी है। .. रेगिस्तान में जब कभी शतुरमुर्ग को खतरा महसूस होता है तो वो  अपना सिर रेत के अंदर छिपा  लेता है। .. ऐसा करने से उसे लगता है कि  जैसे वो कुछ देख नहीं पा रहा है , वैसे ही दूसरे  भी उसे देख नहीं पा रहे हैं और वो सुरक्षित है। ...हालाँकि ऐसा होता नहीं है। ... सभी को शतुरमुर्ग दिख रहा है  - ये बात शतुरमुर्ग मानने को तैयार नहीं होता है। ...

        हमारी हकलाहट भी बहुत कुछ शतुरमुर्ग की सोच की तरह है। ... ऐसा उन हकलाने वालों के साथ अक्सर होता है जो ये सोचते हैं कि उन्हें बहुत ज्यादा हकलाहट नहीं होती है, और वे उसे छिपा सकते हैं । कई युवा हकलाने वाले लोग  इस बोझ के नीचे दबे हुए हैं कि  अपने परिवार के सदस्यों , इष्ट-मित्रों को कैसे समझायें  कि  वे हकलाते हैं। .... कुछ लोगों का कहना है की उन्हें पता है कि  वे हकलाते हैं, पर उनके परिवार-जन और मित्र   ये नहीं मानते। ...

       उनकी ये धारना  सच भी हो सकती है।  लेकिन अक्सर हम पाएंगे कि हम अपने जीवन में जिन लोगों के संपर्क में ज़्यादातर आते हैं  , उन्हें ये पता है कि  हम हकलाते हैं। .. ऐसा हो सकता है कि  ये लोग हकलाहट के बारे में हमसे बात करने में सहज महसूस नहीं करते हों , या उन्हें ये चिंता हो की हमें बुरा लग सकता है। ... 

       तो अब समय आ गया है की हम अपने सिर को रेत से बाहर  निकालें।  अपने करीबी लोगों से खुल कर अपनी हकलाहट के विषय में चर्चा करें।  उन्हें ये बतलायें की हकलाहट हमारे जीवन में  बहुत छोटी चीज़ नहीं है। .. उन्हें ये समझाएं कि हमारे जीवन में हकलाहट के कारण हमें किन-किन चुनौतियों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है।  यदि हम हकलाहट को स्वीकार कर लें , हमारे परिवार-जन हमारी हकलाहट को स्वीकार कर लें - तो हमें काफी मदद मिल सकती है।  हम इस विषय पर खुल कर बात कर सकते हैं और हमारी घुटन कम हो सकती है। हम अपनी हकलाहट से भागने की जगह उसके कुशल-प्रबंधन पर ध्यान दे पाएंगे और अपनी संचार-कौशल को बेहतर बना पाएंगे। 


May 25, 2017

One big role completed😎😎

Hello friends
As a  kid when I saw people doing the role of Master of Ceremonies (or anchor) I used to think can I do this role?? Can I also speak so much in front of many people?? I was in a perplex mode then. But things have changed now. I was of the thought that first I should get rid of my stammering "COMPLETELY", then only I would do this. But as I said things and thoughts have now changed.

I joined Toastmasters Club a few months ago and I posted one of my speech also on the blog for which I got the award also (yipeeeee).

This Saturday we had our meeting and courageously I took the role of MC. For this role I need to know about each speaker as I have to introduce him/her. Also I should know the sequence of the meeting and truly speaking I was having no idea what would happen. The night before I messaged my mentor Tanuja ma'am to come early so that I can rehearse my role.

Before I go in detail, let me tell you what actually is the role of MC - introducing the speakers, introducing the role takers, deciding the theme of meeting, try to establish the link between the theme and speech, and lastly ensuring that the audience doesn't get bored...😊

I reached the venue well before time and my mentor also reached and I told her what I have in my mind regarding the role. I gathered the information about all the speakers as soon as they arrive in  hall, wrote it down, and read it as if I was to take some exam.😊 I also asked some senior members about the sequence of meeting. And yes I decided the theme long back :"If You are Not You, Who are You".

Now the time has come when I have to go on stage and speak. Sach btau to yrrrr...."Fat rhi thi"

I started the meeting with the theme "If you are not you, then who are you". I explained the theme and asked members what are their view and experience. I decided this theme because it connects me with the core value of ACCEPTANCE.

There were 4 speakers and the topics selected by them were - Giving back, Earth hour, Developing a Mission and From CC to C(Copy Cat to ). Actually as MC I had to connect all the speeches with theme and it turned quite easy for me. Also I had to add my words after the speech and all topics turn out to be speak able for me. After prepared speaches, next session was Table topic or impromptu session and then we had a break for 10 minutes. In the break a new member came to me and told me that the theme is fantastic and I'm doing justice with the theme. This was a big boost for me. Also a guest approached me as he wants to join the club. I explained him the procedure and other things what I knew.

After break we again assembled and our last session- evaluation started. For evaluation I was suggested by my mentor two things: one is I should call the speech evaluator before the speakers comes on stage and if I can use Mic then I would be good.

This was how I did my first major role as MC. After the meeting I wss told that I did a good job. The feedback matter a lot for me. I can definitely say that every role be it anything - first it looks very tough or may be scary but mark my word after completing it what you feel is the biggest THERAPY.

And not to forget I again won the award for Best Role Taker i.e. MC😄.

Ravi Kant Sharma