Ya. I have a stammer.
Some of you know, some of you haven't noticed. It's not a particularly bad stammer, but its there. It rears its ugly head every hour or so. My mum thinks she hates it more than me, but I hate it more than anyone.
So she got me to see this hypno-therapist whom she knows, to try and get to the root of it in the hopes that we find a way to get it out of my system. I was skeptical, like I always am before I try anything that I don't consider cold hard science (though my mum and her will obviously say it is cold hard science. What is cold hard science? Western medicine? I don't know. I had grouped hypnosis in the same field as nonsense like Astrology and Star Signs and all that. Anyways, these brackets have gone on for long enough, bye).
I was pleasantly surprised as Ahalya Shetty (my hypno therapist) was more like a counsellor than a magician. She was someone I could talk things out with - an adult, I could talk things out with. I think the talking was more therapeutic than anything. We spent a few sessions discussing stuff that stressed me and memories that irked me and the most memorable times I'd stammered and all of that.
Anyways, you're impatiently asking in your head, "screw all this, what was it like to be hypnotised???". Well, it's quite cool. It came as a shock to a doubting Thomas like myself but hey, I guess it worked. Basically, I was having trouble remembering certain memories and Ahalya told me to lay down on the recliner, close my eyes and breathe deeply. So I did. I must confess, after about 3 deep inhalations I began day dreaming. I don't remember too much about the incident other than her saying, "Shravan, when I snap my finger, you will go into a deep sleep". And how!
As soon as she clicked her fingers, something was different. My eyes were fused shut. I could open them, but I didn't want to. The patterns being made on the black nothingness of the inside of my eye lids were too captivating. I couldn't take my eyes of them! You know when you close your eyes and really stare at the abyss, you see these wispy colours floating around, like tadpoles in a psychedelic pond? These tadpoles were operating disco lights. It was very, very cool. Ahalya's words then gently entered my consciousness, telling me what to remember. And I remembered! I was surprised as how well I could recollect memories that were locked away in a dusty covered chest in my mind's attic. One could draw parallels to Dumbledore's Pensieve, in the Harry Potter books. I won't go into details as to the exact nature of the memories - else He Who Must Not Be Named may get ahold of them. The process was called an 'Age Regression' which sounds ominous, but don't worry, I'm not an 8 year old version of myself. Suffice to say, that session was a break through. We were able to pin point and discuss one or two crucial points in my life that could have induced/affected my stammering.
So anyways, that session ended. We'd discussed techniques to get myself to relax and remember that there is no need to stammer. "Great, this is going to work", I thought. I got into an auto and headed for MG Road Bus Stand. It was crowded and busy. Rush hour on Friday evening.
A Volvo bus pulled up to the stand, I had only a thousand ruppee note - the fare would be just 30. What to do? I ask the conductor of the bus if he has change for a thousand, as he hangs out the open door. He looks at me, irritated and curious. He didn't hear me the first time. I ask again. I am speaking Hindi of course - maybe his hindi isn't too good. Again, he gestures that he didn't hear me. Now his face sports a grimace. The bus has spent about 10 seconds at the stop, I am the only thing holding it up. I freeze up. My mind is a maelstrom of words - my mouth just the opposite. I'm a statue. No, a caricature. The conductor has lost his patience with me and barks, "where do you want to go?" The driver now looks at me, too. People on the stand are looking at me, people in the bus are looking at me, wondering what's causing this delay. The pressure is on, Shravan. I can see the word I want to say in the distance and I can see that I'm not going to be able to say it. The pressure is well and truly on. What are you waiting for, Shravan? Just say it. It's so easy. Kundalahalli Gate - two words, six syllables. Just say it. But it doesn't come. I can see the words in my head. They are painted out in my mind's eye. I can see the words, I can smell them, I can taste them. But I cannot speak them. My mouth will not say 'k'. It refuses. Time is ticking away. I stall. I don't stammer much in the conventional 's-s-s-sense'. Rather, I stall. I stall with 'uhhh's and 'ermmm's and 'aaaah's, until the cogs in my mind have clicked into place and I can say the word. It's pathetic. Alternatives begin popping up in my brain. I say "Marathalli Bridge" instead. The alternatives to the word always come out fine. The driver nods. I have lied - to him and to myself. The conductor laughs and mumbles something about me not knowing where I'm going.
I hand him the thousand ruppee note. He looks at it in disgust. Now that I've got the maha-stammer out of my system, I can speak clearly in Hindi. I tell him that I'd told him right from the get-go, that I had no change. He says he has none. I tell him to stop at the next stop and I hop off, in search for someone's who'll break my 1000. Sigh.
A fat lot of use that was then. Hypno therapy? Counselling? For what? I can't talk to a fucking bus driver.
You know what? I'm happy with my stammer. I know people born with massive hairy moles on their face or with a weak heart or with a deformed limb. I've got it alright, I reckon. I mean, it's not that bad. Everyone needs something to balance themselves out. I'm MC s-s-s-Stammer and, well, you can't touch this.