Hello Everyone, My name is Chandan Nagaraja and I'm Mechanical Engineer. I'm attending Bengaluru SHG from past one year. It has been great journey. I would like to share my version of stammering from my own experiences.
The day which frightened me most in School and College Days more than Examination periods is Very First Day of the school opening after summer holidays and during Engineering days, after each semester break.
In schools, as far as I remember I experienced my worst speech scenario was in 8th standard. I still remember it was first day of 8th std., when I woke up in morning; my mind started reminding me of the previous year’s first day stammering situations. So I started thinking of excuses to bunk the day. I tried convincing my mom, throwing stomach pain as a reason, it didn't work out; she never did listen to those silly matters in my entire school life. All other reasons projected by me were ultimate failure and there I was standing in front of mirror combing my head and getting ready for school unwilling from Nook and corner of my heart. In meanwhile, my brother Darshan was getting ready too, to drop me off to my school on his way to college in Active motor-scooter.
On the way to school, I was sitting with a pale face, my hair remains still despite of wind blowing; my whole body felt like it was made up of some hard stones. Finally we reached my school (Fatima High School, Hubli). My legs started shaking, hand was still in movement, my eyes were moist and my brain was locked up itself in strange dark room and felt like lost in infinite loop. Then I said good bye to my brother and continued my journey toward my class room from the school gate with thousands of negative thoughts wondering in my head. I entered the class and glanced the entire class once, there was a mix scenario. I can spot some students were vivaciously talking to others, some spotted with fear just like me and some were trying to talk with girls (with shy/hesitation). Ah..!! Finally I searched my friends in class Manoj, Deepak and few others, and then I relaxed myself, for a moment. I forgot about my fear and caught in the act of laughter in the friends circle.
(When I’m in the Friends circle, I forgot all my problems and fear-tension. I’m lucky to bless with many-many friends despite of being stammer.)
School bell rang, teacher entered the class then something suddenly with speed of light flashed into my head and reminded me of my dark fear of speech. Teacher was a lady and she introduced herself as Ms.Matild and next moment she asked front bench boy to introduce himself. At that moment, my heart beat raised, it started beating as if heart gone blast in next second, some strange power/fluid started raising right from my toe to end strands of hair, exhaling heat from my body and I started to practice in my head to pronounce my name correctly. I was reminded by my conscious mind that I always stuck in “CHA” word. Back to my class, in less than a minute my front bench students were introducing themselves and as that row finished it entered my row. Now my heart beat is reached at maximum possible level, my mind was filled with mess and I felt like brain dead for next moment. Finally my turn came, I stood up with shaky legs like an aged man, my eyes didn’t make contact to teacher; they just looked upwards trying to avoid eye contact with others and I begin to spell my name and it went like this.
“My name is Cha……. Cha….Cha…. Chan……..” I paused for a second and tried again Cha…..Cha…. Cha…… stuck again.
(My negative inner voice piffled “You Can’t Say….you can’t Say your own Name… you are looser like always.”)
All students started to stare at my face including girls; I tried to avoid eye contact with them and started pronouncing my name again “Cha……Cha……. Chan…..” then suddenly my friend who is seated next to me shouted its “CHANDAN” and suddenly my confidence level restrained in a seconds, my mind became conscious and I blabbered next second “CHANDAN”.
Huh….!! I was relaxed for a while, and then I looked into the crowd and saw some students were talking to each other about my stammer, some directly looking into my eyes with loads of questions that they needed answers for.
Then teacher asked me to try telling once again…oh god now it’s more pain full than eating poison. Huh….?!! I tried again “Cha….Cha….Cha….” I shook my face and moved my hands to relax a bit... haan..!! nothing really worked I was standing there stuck again with Stammering Act and my mind became completely blank, as if some strange dark feather is covering my white positive energy. Later I just stood and started staring at the teacher, I suppose she was wondering who the hell this guy is? Then after all mental imbalance and shuttering I somehow finally managed to tell my name in slow tone “CHANDAN”. And next statement goes like this - my hobbies are Drawing, playing Cri….cri….cricket, reading boo…books, Mo. Mo…model making. I came from St.M-m-m-Mary’s Ka… Ka…ka… Kannada medium school.
Like this I finished my first period English. Next period was Geography, I heard from my seniors of the same school that person who takes the subject is very strict, short temper and yells at student unnecessarily. As normal situation, he came to class and introduced himself as Mr.Joseph Das and as usual like any other teacher he asked all students introduce themselves one by one. Again I went through the same situation as above. This time fear was possible more than any other time because my subconscious mind already heard of his anger even for slightest mistake. When my turn came, as usual I got stuck in word “Cha..” But to my surprise he asked me to come in front of class and shook my hand. That was the best act done by any teacher to me till date, that actually did relieve my tension and I said my name without much stuttering. I guess that’s what, more than 25 years of teaching experience adds to his bucket of knowledge in academic as well as in social behavior. Although Students rumor was not false either, it proved to be 60-80% true in later days.
Like this very first Day of college beginning also I had experienced somewhat similar situations. In engineering, I spoke somewhat surprisingly well on my 1st semester, 1st day. First time in my life i said my name without much of stuttering or 90% fluently in front of the class. That is may be because at that point of time I was undergoing speech therapy. As I entered my Mechanical branch in 3rd semester I started bunking first 3 days or first full week classes. I’m sure you all figured out by now, why I bunked? From 3rd semester to 8th semester I haven’t attended first week of my college.
I think Everyone has their own style of communication. Some speaks fast and some speaks slowly. I have my own style of communicating, which is surely different from the so called "Normal".
I will conclude with a note “My stammering is My Accent”.