Updated: Sep 23
Story By: Shreya Mittal
As a child, I mispronounced all the words with the letter S in them, so “bus” would become “buf”, “snake” would become “fnake” and so on. As a result, I was often at the receiving end of a lot of jokes. Everyone around me including my family members would often make fun of me. They would first ask me to repeat certain words and then when I would speak them, they would burst out into laughter.
As I am told by my parents, when I was 6 months old, I was down with diarrhea - hospitalised and critical. The doctors gave me a very strong medicine, which made me allergic to mosquito bite. And this particular allergy made it all the more worse. It's literally impossible to escape mosquitoes. My skin was always covered with boils and blisters and it would also be super itchy. As a result, the children of my age would not play with me or even come near me.
Both the things together, made me a quiet and isolated child. On my Parents - Teacher meetings, my teachers complained about how I would never speak, not even on being pointed out. It was feared that I might even be psychologically stunted because I wasn’t good academically also.
My parents consulted numerous doctors for my allergy. But all of them primarily said the same thing, it will go away as I grow up and that there was no remedy. My mom had begun to take me to a speech therapist. And after a year or so of going to the therapist and my mother’s hard work, my speech was getting better, but the confidence was still gone.
To improve my confidence and my personality, my parents got my school changed and I was made to repeat a class. Repeating a class, even in childhood is a big taboo. It is looked at as a failure. No one was told about it. Even my parents had conflicting opinions about it, but they nevertheless went ahead with it. I was lucky - new school acted as a fresh beginning and the repetition of my class gave me a time to recover all my backlogs.
Today when I look back, I feel that some good decisions of my parents literally saved me, for I can’t even imagine how my life would be, had I grown up with the speech impairment.