I studied in a Boarding School in Conoor . In my school there was a tradition. Every morning all the students would gather for assembly in the hall. The session would begin by a student reading out the head lines and also a few lines from the top news, from that morning’s newspaper. Every student was given a chance to read out the news headlines at the assembly.
I shied away from this activity because I had this embarrassing habit of stammering .But my turn to read at the school assembly soon came.
One fine day, I was up on stage, before the mike, holding the newspaper and shivering in my shoes.
I had to start by saying “The headlines for today..”
But what came out of my mouth was” th..th..th…th…the…hea..hea..hea…headlines ..fo..fo..for..to…to…to..today..”
The whole school burst out laughing. With great difficulty I continued and finished reading the news, among my schoolmate’s mirth and laughter.
Then the assembly continued with the prayer song and the school song. At the end of it, the students prepared to disperse to their respective classes.
Then he said that that he would train me in such a way that at the end of six months, I would be cured of my stammering. He said that he would take this as a personal challenge and he would succeed in the end.
From that day onwards everyday at 4pm after classes were over, before the 4.30pm tea break, I was to report in his office room. There he had a storybook ready for me.
For 15 minutes everyday, I would read out from the pages of the book loudly. He would continue being immersed in whatever work he was doing at that time. He never looked up when I stammered. I thought he was not listening to me. But when I pronounced a word wrong, he would correct me gently. He had also instructed the teachers to make me read out loudly during our regular classes too.
Slowly my stammering became less and less. I gained confidence. At the end of six months, just as the Headmaster had made a challenge in front of the whole school, he brought me on the stage before the mike and I read the headlines from the newspaper, loudly, boldly and without a single falter.
Today, I may not be a great public figure giving flowery speeches at important meetings. But among my family members and club members, when there is a Welcome Address to be given or a Vote of Thanks to be expressed, it is always me that they call.
Tears well up in my eyes as I think of my teacher, Mr.Bhagiyanathan, who took a personal interest in me and took the initiative to cure me of my stammering habit.
Sir, I salute you.
You are not among us now. But sir, I remain for ever, your humble student, thanking my God that you were there for me, when I needed you most.
Story by: Sadurdeen. Chennai – Written by Gulsum Basheer @ talkalittledo.