Monday, June 18, 2012

A question for you

I need your help on this post.

I want to ask you a question - some of you mailed me and commented on the last post, that you admired me.  And some of you mentioned how you wouldn't have imagined, by reading my blog, that I stutter.

My question is - Why?

Why do you admire me (in the context of my stuttering)?  Why do you think I am a brave person?  Why is it that you cannot believe that I stutter (having known me only through my blog?)

Is it because you feel that I am doing well for myself, am happy and content, despite this "disadvantage" that I have?

Do you feel that it is laudable that, despite having faced laughter, derision and teasing in my childhood, I have yet turned out to be comfortable with myself?

What picture do you have of someone who stutters?  Awkward, diffident, unsocial? Inept? Stupid?  Boring?  Irritating?

Why do you think my writing and the fact that I stutter don't quite gel?  Is it because my writing is confident while the picture you have of a person who stutters is not?

You can be totally honest.  If you want, you can choose to be anonymous too when you comment.  It is perfectly fine, whatever you say, because I know that the media has given us certain stereotypes and we all fall prey to stereotypes.

I need to know this - because I have something in mind, something that I might choose to reveal sometime in the future - and for that, I need to know exactly what you feel about stuttering and about people who stutter.  Do you know anybody else who stutters? What has been your impression about the person?

Please comment! Thank you :)


Manish'sMom said...

OK, deleted my previous comment by mistake :)

I met you in person much before I knew that you wrote. I found you to be articulate and confident and later on I wasn't surprised that you wrote so well. It just sat so well with your persona. As far as I am concerned, your stutter was a real non issue for me. I did not have an opinion about it then, I don't have an opinion about it now. Am I pretending that it doesn't exist? Nope.
Do I let someone's baldness, shortness, stoutness colour my opinion about them? About their capabilities? Their intelligence? No. Same goes for your stutter.

Am I so perfect that I should be looking at someone else's physical qualities?

My husband is morbidly obese. It shocks people when they see him with many people stopping and staring. People laugh on his face and have this stunned expression when they meet him for the first time. I even once had a security guard in a shop take a photo on his mobile!! But does it take away from him that he is the best husband a woman can ever have, or that he is the best ever father? Or that he is a really successful businessman? Or that he is honest and generous to a fault? Not to mention outrageously funny and very very kind? He is truly my soul mate.

My uncle (my dad's younger brother) was born deaf and dumb. To us,it had never entered our conciousness that he was to be pitied or sympathised with. Nope. He was just different and his "different" abilities made away with the fact that he was our favourite uncle. Nobody funnier than him. All of us (his nieces and nephews and family) adore him. He leads a wonderful life, has bought up 2 wonderful children and is one of the most expressive people that I know of.

There was even a MORON (a marriage proposal) that turned me down because my uncle was deaf and dumb!!!

In my opinion, that poor retarded ignoramus needs our compassion, pity and sympathy. Gasp! Can you imagine a person walking and living with a hollow cavity where his brain should have been?

So Shruthi, draw your own conclusions about my opinion about a person with a "stutter"!!!

Radhika said...

Shruthi, definitely it has not made any difference in the way I perceive you. I’d known through your post about it so it was no surprise to me when I met you in person. One of my teammates stutters but it has not affected the way we look at his technical expertise or our friendship with him. I’ve never seen any of our team members commenting about it be it in his presence or at his back. But true, we do complete sentences for him at times – but never knew the other person may feel bad about it. But after reading your post, I’m avoiding it.
It has never occurred to me honestly how could Shruthi be so good at everything though she stutters. Aren’t they unrelated? That’s my true feeling.

Anonymous said...

Shruthi, I know you only from your blog. You come across as a person who is extremely confident, funny, caring and family oriented. You know your strengths and weaknesses and you are not ashamed of talking about it and Oh! you are a wonderful mother. But I never ever thought that you can stutter. I don't know why. After reading your post I wondered about your husband. What did he like in you. Did he saw all that I have mentioned above. Sorry for thinking like that. But I guess unconsciously, I have also made stereotype part of my life .

There is a girl opposite to my house who stutters when she talks to other neighbours and is completely normal with her family. She is very talkative though. I eagerly wait for her to finish her sentences as I want to know what she wants to convey. After reading your post when I come across a person who stutters I may turn out to be a bit conscious about my behaviour towards them. I don't know if that should be my reaction.

Wanderer said...

Hey Shruthi,
I know you only through the blog. I've been reading it since quite a few years now. For your question, I hadn't thought about your physical self before seeing your pic in the Hindu and after that I thought, wow, so she is the talented Shruti. But I couldn't have thought you stuttered. I can't think that about anyone I haven't met either. The fact that you do, doesn't change a thing. The way I perceive you still remains the same. But my respect for you sure has seen a bit of growth :)
I admire you because of what you are, your talents, your attitude towards life or how it comes out through the blog.
Stuttering might be a disadvantage when you are dealing with people who think it makes you less capable. Otherwise no difference.
Yes, I feel it is really wonderful of you to have overcome all that you have to become what you are now.
Someone who stutters, for me, is just that, a person, like everybody else. No difference. Though I'd make effort to be patient until they complete their sentences.
There you go. Thats what I think. :)

Anonymous said...

Stuttering...what is that? Delayed production of speech due to some neuro-biological phenomena? OK...So....what seems to be the issue here? I have brown skin due to melanin pigmentation in my skin...I speak English with an accent....Why should I even bother what others think about me about my skin color or my speech accent? Come on Shruti...You are way above these trivial, silly things...don't spend too much time on someone's (brain dead, insensitive morons) view on this topic. It's like asking a white person on his/her view of my skin color or my English accent.....sure..they will have some difficulty initially to get used to my skin color and speech accent...but, they will get over it, as I do about their skin color and their accent. Have a good one...

Shruthi said...

Manish's Mom, thank you so much for your very interesting inputs :) LOL at hollow cavity ;)

Radhika, thanks for your comment! But really, hadn't we met much earlier? I guess we hadn't had the opportunity to speak much before.

Anon at 1:22, thank you so much for your very honest comment. And don't be conscious - I wouldn't want that to be a result of my post! Just be natural :)

Wanderer, thanks so much for taking the time to comment :)

Anon at 9:02, nope, I am not unduly bothered, but just curious. And who better to ask than my readers? :)

Aarthi said...

Admire you because..
you had the guts to come out and say point blank you stutter.
Then you took the effort to tell how to deal with people who stutter
and also how clearly you make each point
and saying some wise words..."Be your natural self"

Radhika said...

@Shruthi, yes we did really meet before but never had chance to talk to each other.

parijata said...

I said I admire you, for various reasons.
0. Your writing
1. Your immense energy
2. Child-skills
3. Artistic skills - you know how much I envy you? My 4-year old daughter asked me to make a chart of good manners and good habits - I had to draw and she had to color. I could not even draw a child brushing teeth. Finally I stuck some pictures onto a kg cardboard and sent it :(

There. I admire you because you took stuttering in your stride and have become this amazing person.

Now about people who stutter. I interact with them just as I interact with other people. It does not make any difference.

Anonymous said...

I admit that there is an initial curiosity and a bit of confusion as to what should be the reaction. But it passes within a fraction of a second. Then everything is perfectly normal.

This is not only with people who stutter, but with those who have white patches, dark patches on the face, very young men balding, girls with very hairy faces and boys who have very girly faces/voices.[etc]

Yes , I admit honestly of dithering the first few seconds. I know that those seconds are enough for the person to notice my confusion.

This comes not from thinking that they are different but from wondering if I am decent enough to interact normally with them? will I err?

No, I dont admire you specially for any particular reason. You are a decent human being and you are interesting, like many others. And your posts make me think/happy. And I glimpse an enchanting future for you.As simple as that.

Gayatri said...

Stuttering is a non-issue to me. I am impatient person so I might do things like give options if the person is groping for words, but I do that to people who don't stutter. When we grew up, we used to find it funny maybe influenced by what's portrayed in movies. But, now I'm more sensitive and try not to make an issue of other people's problems in a conscious manner. I think the film "King's speech" has also raised more awareness. Thank you for raising the question though, as I will consciously try not to react when faced with a "not normal" situation and be mindful of the other person's feelings.

Shruthi said...

Thanks, Aarthi! Secret - I don't have immense energy ;)

Thank you, Parijata. LOL at your predicament, but just for the record, I don't think I know how to draw a child brushing her teeth either :))

Anon at 2:10, thanks! Your last para - I was wondering if anyone did feel that way. Thanks! :)

Gayatri, thanks! Yeah, King's Speech has helped a bit.

Achu said...

I have been reading your posts from a very long time and loved you writing, the simplicity in your stories, the eloquence in your posts, the honesty, the love for your child.

I said I loved you more after reading you write about your stuttering, coz it takes a lot of courage to speak about it frankly and to show the other person how it feels at your end. We generally try to portray a very diplomatic image of ourselves.

It's not a shortcoming and people definitely don't have the right to say anything wrong/ behave differently coz of it. People are conditioned to be judgmental about others, when in reality they have no right.

So I say, chuck them and be happy! :)

Ravi said...

Dear Shruthi,
This post could easily describe my experiences as as 'asian' in the UK. When people discover I am an asian, ( inspite of sounding relatively normal), their reaction ranges from rank insensitivity to unbearable kindness. After long thought, I have developed a system of classifying them.
1. The nasties - racists and other morons - shun them.
2. The patronisers - Give them time, there is hope
3. The rest, fortunately, the majoirty, who react normally, and judge you for what you are, rather than the label some of are obliged to carry - these are my friends.
(Purely out of curiosity which of these groups would you put me in, as far as you are concerned?)

Shruthi said...

Achu, thank you so much for your comment!

Ravi, whoa! What a concise, and precise summing up of humanity! :) Actually the nasties don't bother me much - the patronisers do!
And as you said, the large majority are the normal ones, and you fall very nicely in that category ;)

austere said...

Hey Shruthi!
How does it matter?!The kid sister had a stutter for quite some time, but when she sang her taans were super fast, no signs of any halting...
I think your brains process stuff too fast, compared to other people, but beyond the neurology, how does it matter?
I have very long hair, and i began to silver at 18-- but so what, how does it matter?

coolrunner said...

Your writing has a comforting tone of a confident and well adjusted adult and add a doting mother/daughter relation, one probably unconsciously forms a mental picture of you as person who has no (speech) difficulty.

Knowing that you stutter initially made me feel, that you have been hiding your true personality from readers - possibly for a reason. But, on reflection - as I write this comment, I feel it really doesnt matter. Your writing remains as beautiful as before.

You and your daughter will be in my prayers. God bless.

rajk said...

Hey Shruthi,
Don't know how I missed this post. I read about your "prolific blogging" and checked back and found this.
I've thought about your questions. I do feel that most people may be surprised that you stutter mainly because most of us are not conditioned to think of stutterers as self-confident people. Of course, they could be brilliant, talented, beautiful and more, but confident? At least I didn't think so. If it'd been me I wouldn't be confident of it is, I feel very diffident if I'm in a place where I don't know the local language; I feel scared of making mistakes and people laughing at me. Hence the discordance between stutterers and confidence in my mind. You, as usual, have demolished one more mindblock that I had! Thank you...Do you need more reasons to know why I admire you?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I just came to your blog today and enjoyed a post called, "Letting a child make choices". I am a mother of 2 kids aged 7 & 3 and I think about these issues often.

About ur stutter post...I think its pretty obvious why some people mit be surprised that you stutter...because on the blog, you are pretty to get your point across pretty neatly. And this is not an impression of a person who stutters, they usually struggle to get their point across (perhaps they are 2 self conscious).

Articulation is not a trait associated with a stuttering.

Like agility is not associated with obesity....graceful walk not with someone who limps and so on.

Stuttering is not even a disability. I really enjoyed the Satyamev Jayte episode about callous and insensitive we Indians are towards anybody who is a bit "different". Just plain sad :-/

God Bless!

astrosunilnomy said...

I have met many people who stammer, since i stammer too, some people feel pity that i am not normal & go extra miles to help me finish my sentences or guess whats next word from my mouth, but really sensible people are those who does not bother about it much & treat me the same way. well listener must always have patience . In case the speaker is stammerer then have a bit more patience that's all.

RS said...

hi Shruthi, i had read this post of yours last year. but today i got very emotional and wanted to read this blog post that i was reminded of. i understand your problem. our society for some reason is still the same narrow minded, closed society.

my mom who has vitiligo in her hands and legs faced a different problem. people would stare at her for minutes. we never treated her differently. she was the same person to us even with those white patches. we never had any problem in our lives until i was ready to get married. that was when we understood the society. no prospective groom or his parents were ready to accept her. they simply declined me because my mom had white patches. it hurt us as a family and thanks to this society iam still not married. that is how cruel people can be.

Shruthi said...

RS, I'm so sorry you are having to go through all this... in one way, it is good, you are screening out the wrong people automatically! hope things work out well for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shruthi,

It is a big surprise that you stutter because you are so confident, intelligent, together, sensible in your writing. Ha ha funny that you stutter. I am really finding it amusing.

During my school years, we used to have a stutter in our class. Many students used to make fun of her stuttering. Most behind her back, some right in front of her. Making fun would mean that if she is stuttering or stammering, the other kids doing the same thing like let's say Ki ki ki kiran or Mmm mm mmm mmm ma'm so and so forth. I am not the kind to make fun in anyone's face but the stammering and stuttering used to annoy me like hell. In my head I will be saying, "Finish the sentence already!!!!" It was just exasperating. Actually, it has not changed. At various points in life I have met stutterers or stammerers, and each time, I find the speech impediment exhausting, irritating. Now for the first time, I am thinking about it. I love your thoughts, sensibilities, intelligence - the entirety of your blog. I am rethinking whole thing. I am not going to be annoyed by speech impediments. I am going to be more tolerant.

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