‘My name is ____’, couldn’t get through the final word inspite of great struggle. I was never been able to get through till I turned the age of twenty two. I’m not sure if many would understand this inability to speak. Doctors call it as ‘autism’, which I wasn’t aware of it for several years.
People often mocked at this inability by trying to repeat my incomplete word or sentence or an alphabet of a word. With growth this looked insult, this eventually led to skip first day (freshers day) at school or college or events that needed interaction. This situation was more challenging while using public transport, conductors who didn’t understand the situation often were impulsive while handing out a ticket. I don’t blame them because of their stress of handling hundreds of commuters. But I often looked for empathy from others.
Several situations have led my mother into sadness. Her self motivated dose often fell flat on sharp words from relatives. They often termed me as a ‘handicap’. I don’t think any mother would bear the pain of hearing that she bore an ‘imperfect child’. I often vented out the anger in bathroom through a running water to hinder the real pain. I spent several minutes trying to explain myself that there would be silver lining in my life. At few times a force that often pushed me towards to end life, suicide!
I thought may be new environment, South America would help to begin a new life. But the pattern of education that required to make presentation on regular basis shattered the dream much earlier than otherwise. I had to return ! After a gap of frustrating one year, I choose Mechanical Engineering. If someone had asked, why I choose that over the other branch of engineering? I choose to overcome the humiliation from a class that might have both genders. I had become sensitive, this led to making fewer friends. I did most to avoid any situations that demanded conversations. But how long could I avoid? During a class hour an English faculty, Prof. Rajeshwari not being aware of the situation asked me to introduce but I couldn’t get through my name. Tears trickled down my cheeks in frustration!
One day Dr Tamilselvam, Head of Dept of Mechanical Engineering happen to mention, ‘I’m low on energy’. He identified my challenge, his warm words was the first pillar to build confidence. This gave rise to urge to search that could solve the stuttering. With support and faith in believing its curable from my mother, Mrs. Bharathi who became my second pillar. This search got us introduced to McGuire Programme that provided with several videos and promised to deliver best possible result in four days. But a thought that ran across was, how can over eighteen year old problem could be solved in four days? A small push from mother gave hope and rise to the third pillar, Mr Kaushik Valluri, Director of the programme. He did the right thing of calling us and adding confidence to the searching soul. I still remember his words, ‘I shall overcome the problem.’
This took me to attend the first four days programme out of which about two and half days was cut out that included TV, Phone, Internet, Peer contact. After this I was asked to make a first call to the person I desired. I choose my first pillar, Dr Tamilselvam. He was delighted on hearing me speak and able to get through few words and sentence with little struggle than earlier. This followed a call to second pillar, my mother, the emotional moment still is afresh and often makes my eyes moist. This was perhaps the first time I couldn’t sleep. The joy was unbearable! On the last day, I dialled to Prof. Rajeshwari and requested her if I could say my name now, ‘My name is Yesvanth Darma Dev D‘. I’m sure the other side would be emotional moment like mine.
Fourth pillar are all the people that accepted me over the time! I take this opportunity to thank you all for being kind and supportive.
Meet my pillars –
Earlier I was last, but now I’m first!
(The article is written by Santosh Avvannavar)