Friday, August 28, 2015

Am I a speech therapist????

When people, with so much added curiosity and appreciation, ask me why did I choose such a noble occupation, I often tell,

"I didn't choose anything. I just stumbled upon it"

Let me rewind -

Before I begin my story, I want to tell you three things :

1. I am born and brought up in India, that too South India, that too in an educational town called, Manipal, where everybody believes in studying hard and scoring hundred out of hundred.

2. I was a very hard working and studious person, who never scored less than 90% in school days

3. I got 62% in 12th!!!!!!!

Now, you guys can imagine the life of a girl who was considered to be one of the toppers in school gets just two more extra percentages to belong to a category of "first class". The same "first class" which, if my dad had scored during his school days, he would have been our village hero but it only brought shame to my family. The useless people (who have nothing better to do) called my home continuously in disbelief and also, to show their sadness over my failure (In reality, they just wanted to insult us).

Questions like,

"This is what happens when you give unwanted freedom to your daughter" to my parents and "how can you bring shame to your family" to me, became the breakfast and dinner for us. Had I not been a strong woman, I would committed suicide during those months. I was concerned about my low score but I was more depressed by the words of those people who once respected my father and had great admiration towards me.

I was broken, to be honest!!! I was an 18 year old teenager, who just lost her battle of exams to a bunch of stupids in her class!!! I lost my confidence, my hope of having a better future and also, some privileges like a new mobile phone!!!

When I got a call from one of the "good" engineering colleges in our town, my dad said he will not be able to pay the huge donation as I didn't get a merit seat. My dream of building a bigger house next to my dad's house collapsed right in front of my eyes. I had such low self esteem during those days, I started believing I couldn't do anything better in life and hence, engineering was completely out of the question.

Now I needed a "course"!!! That's it. I wanted to do my graduation and started looking for options.

1. I went to Alva's college to apply for physiotherapy and even paid six thousand rupees as down-payment.

2. I applied for BBM, when the application dates had crossed the deadline, with the help of some people known to the college principle.

3. I applied for Journalism with my mom's influence as once again I had crossed the application deadline.

4. I applied for occupational therapy in Manipal College of allied health sciences (MCOAHS).

So, yes, speech therapy was not even on my list!!!!

I was keen on getting into journalism and the only reason I am speech therapist today is because I slept off on the orientation day and my mom felt insulted to approach the same people again to get me a seat.

"Your daughter forgets to submit application form on time and now she forgets the orientation date. Why don't you get your daughter married and make sure she doesn't forget her wedding date!!!!"

Nobody said anything like this and I thank mom for not approaching them again.

Now you guys definitely know, how lost I was back then.

So, finally, there came the big day. I had my fingers crossed for more than five hours that day just to get a seat in occupational therapy. MCOAHS had a reputation and being a loser, I wanted to be a part of it. During the orientation, people were called based on their math rank or biology rank. I hated biology and it was almost 100 ranks behind my math rank. Hence, I opted for math rank for obvious reasons.

It was my turn next...

Me - "Hello"

He - "Hello.. So, Shruthi tell me which course do you want to opt for"

Me, with confidence - "occupational therapy"

He - "I am so sorry Shruthi. For people who come through maths rank there are only two options available. Speech and hearing or optometry."

Immediately, I thought, what the hell is optometry but was familiar with speech and hearing as my neighbour had studied it.

He - "if you don't want either, you can go back and submit your biology rank and come back again"

I had a minute to decide. I was worried as my biology rank was poor and I was unsure of my possibilities of getting into any course through my biology rank.

Exactly after ten seconds, I said,

"How about you give me a seat in speech and hearing and here's your fees".

It seemed more like buying vegetables -

"ah.. ok.. so if you don't have potatoes, how about you give me some eggplant??"

This is how I entered into the vast field of speech language pathology and audiology which I hated throughout my six years of education and three years of work!!!

Irrespective of my constant complaints, I had a beautiful journey and if it wasn't for department of speech and hearing and my lovely friends, I would have been lost forever.

By the way, no matter how much I say I hate this profession, deep down I have a high regard for what we do and after getting into a school set up, I really love my job.

Maybe god knew I would come to Saudi Arabia eventually, and hence prevented me from opting any profession, where women are not allowed to work in Saudi.

All is well that ends well!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The man in the house!!!!

Of course, all the women are familiar with the man in the house, could be a father or husband or that lazy brother who has forgotten his route to the kitchen or your all grown up son flaunting his new found attitude. Being from venus, I myself find it very difficult to understand their 'mars'ness. After years of contemplating, I found myself a sweetheart. I have wondered many a times if I truly deserve this man (not being sarcastic here, if I minus certain aspects he is a true gem). My husband or shall I say, hubby darling, has often surprised me with his words and attitude and without a doubt, I credit it to the 'mars'ness. 


About relaxing on weekends - 

He: Let's watch a movie together. Weekdays are always so busy and we never get enough time. So, from here on, on weekends let's not waste time on cooking and cleaning. Let's just eat out or cook something simple. 

Me: I don't get enough time to cook something nice during weekdays. When will I cook all these exotic dishes which I learn on the internet after hours of research?

He: Let's try and do it on weekdays

After two hours,

Me: What do you want for lunch?

He: How about vegetable pulav?

Me: OK!!!!!

"Did somebody talk about relaxing on weekends?" 

By the way, after a chocolate cake with banana cream on top and a tava fried cutlet with toasted bread, Pulav was the third item on his request list within 24 hours!!!

On equality -

My hubby darling believes in equality in the house, which I am sure is a great thing. Indian men (at least most) don't believe in this word at all. So, I was quite impressed when he spoke about this the first time before marriage. WOW!!! The lucky me, I thought. But what happens when equality becomes an obsession?

He: Come on, I can see there is less milk in your glass

Me: It's fine. Just one sip, that's all

He: NO!!! It needs to be equal. 

And in the process of transferring two tea spoons of milk, he drops one at the least!!!

So, after two years of marriage,

Me: You know what, I am done with equality. You can have more coffee or extra roti. I don't care

Today morning,

Me: I have been working endlessly in the kitchen. You told me since we both work, household works would be divided equally.

He: You know what, I am done with equality

Me: Oh, Crap!!!!!

The movie conflict - 

My hubby darling believes that at least during weekends we need to spend time together, which no doubt is a good thing. But the problem is he never lets me do anything else and wants me to be a part of his plans. If he wants to watch a movie, he insists I do the same, along with him. 

He: Let's watch a movie together

Me: I really want to write on my blog. I haven't updated it since a month

He: why can't you do it during weekdays? Come on...

Then I agree to demands and we both start looking for a good movie online.

Not-so-surprisingly, he ends up liking a Tamil movie which I don't watch. 

He: Let's watch this Tamil movie. It has Vijay in it (yeah that's his reason for liking a movie)

Me: I don't understand a thing and it doesn't have any subtitles. Let's watch something else.

He: Why don't you write? After all you haven't updated your blog since a month!!!!

Marriage is not a difficult thing at all, if you ask me. But living with a man is!!!! 

Nobody talks about the man in the house, who switches to a sports channel while we are watching a movie on TV, who makes the bathroom dirty just after 2 minutes of cleaning, who leaves the wet towel on the bed irrespective of telling it zillion times, who leaves the cupboard door always open (welcoming the cockroaches) and who then blames us for the bad smell, who hates doing dishes and who doesn't know to cook (they escape so easily), who doesn't know how to console us when we cry but wants us to speak the right words when they are sad!!!

And they send jokes about women and hormones on what'sapp and we, women, shamelessly forward them!!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Independence day resolution


Image result for independence day

I understand we all have some memories associated with Independence Day. After all we have studied extensively about Bhagat Singh to Gandhiji to Chandra Shekhar Azad in our history classes. We by hearted the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to Dandi March cribbing about the dates and numbers for our history exams. As a kid, I loved Independence Day mainly because we got to do something different on that day. Who likes boring classes any ways!!! It would be a half day with flag hoisting and march past and of course, how can I forget the yummy laddoos!!!

As I grew up, I studied more science and less history but strangely, every event/person associated with history began to leave a mark on me. I read more about freedom fighters during my college days when I was supposed to study the cross-sectional diagram of limbic system. I felt more connected with the lives of freedom fighters and as a person, who cried for not having born in the US, started developing an extreme attachment towards India. Whenever I heard patriotic songs, my eyes would moisten and a strange feeling of doing something for the country arose. It's been at least six years since the birth of that strange dose of patriotism but guilty me, I haven't done anything for my country apart from showing love and respect through my words.

Image result for independence day

After my marriage, I realized I don't really have to join army or politics or donate money to contribute towards the betterment of my nation. I modified my lifestyle and I stopped littering in public which I would do very often before. Now whatever I eat, I normally dump the remains in my handbag and throw it in to a dustbin. I would like to do few more lifestyle changes before I go back to India, so that I feel proud of contributing something towards the welfare my nation and I request all the Indians to do the same. Every bit counts!!!!

- I urge everyone to stop littering in public. Of course, there have been campaigns and rallies spreading awareness but I don't know why people just don't stop. In our school Independence Day celebration accumulated more wrappers and papers and balloons and we littered more!!!! So, today I make a resolution to avoid littering and try to pass on this habit to everyone I know.

- My next resolution is to plant more trees whenever possible. I hate gardening, in general. But I have decided to spread more greenery in and around my house once I go back to India. After living in KSA, I have realized a dry country feels lifeless. I was so depressed when an entire kundel kadu (a small forest) was cut down in my home town. I can't stop such havoc but I can try and plant more trees.

- I use a lot of water for my household works. I waste water and electricity profusely. My third resolution is to use water and electricity wisely and avoid any kind of wastage.

- My fourth and last resolution of this year is to make the next generation understand the real meaning of Independence Day. It is not just a holiday. It is a day because of which we can breathe freely in our own country. I feel the present generation kids have not understood the real value of this day. So, it becomes our responsibility to carry forward the tales and messages. After all, they are the ones to lead our nation in the future.

Image result for independence day resolution

New Year resolution toh bahut suna hai... So what is your Independence Day resolution? Are you trying to help your country by doing your bit? Share your ideas as to how we can make our country a better place to live in our own small ways…

**** Images are downloaded from google via different sources.

Friday, August 14, 2015

"So, what do you do?"

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers
In this era of doctors and engineers and surrounded by relatives who made statements such as, "there is no course better than engineering" maybe because their kids are engineers, opting for a profession which people hardly knew became very difficult. Even I didn't know what Speech, Language Pathology and Audiology was all about. But yes, I had the basic idea about it. In the past eleven years people have asked bizarre and stupid questions, some of them I find extremely funny, some annoying and some insulting. 

I am sure after reading this post people in my profession will be able to relate well to the situations, people outside my profession will have a good laugh and people who still have no idea about what we actually do will stop asking irrelevant questions or acting smart!!!!

1. He - "So, what do you do?"
Me - "I am a Speech, language Pathologist and Audiologist"
He - Is it engineering?
Me - No
He - Is it a part of MBBS?
Me - NO
He - Then why are you doing it? 

I smiled and thought "Because life is beyond engineering and medical"

2. She - "Hey, long time.. So what do you do now?"
Me - "I am a Speech, language Pathologist and Audiologist"
She (trying to be a smart one) - Oh!!! Is it? Lovely. I have see the news for deaf and dumb. It must be interesting to do sign language.
Me - ****facepalm****
My profession is way beyond sign language and interestingly we don't even use it. We try other modalities of communication in case if you didn't know.

3. He - "So, what did you study after PUC?"
Me - I did my masters in Speech, language Pathology and Audiology
He - so what are you called as? Doctor?
Me- No. We are not doctors. We are called as Speech, language therapists and audiologists
He - That is too long. I am asking what people call you? Doctor?
Me - facepalm + clenched fists!!!!

4. She - So children who come to you gets cured completely?
Me - First of all, we are here to help gifted children. We help them to be independent and improve their quality of life.
She - Oh!!!!! Then what is the whole point if you can't cure them?
Me - Did you just hear what I explained????????

5. He - You profession is like a social service. Isn't it?
Me - Yeah, in a way
He - Then you should give therapy for free
Me - I would if I could survive just on air!!!

6. There are some over smart people also in this world!!!
He - I know what you do. Autism, ADHD. I know everything about your profession. Given a chance even I could do what you do 
Tells me a person who has done his BCom!!!!
Me - Oh is it? That's great. I have a kid with severe dysphagia. Could you please help me out in preparing a therapy plan?
He - Dysphagia? what is that?
Me - That is something you didn't know!!!!

7. This is my favourite of the lot.
She - "Do you work in a spectacle shop?"
Me - Hell, NO!!!
She - But I thought opticians sell hearing aids. Could you please explain what you do exactly.
Me - Double facepalm!!!

Now if anybody asks me what do you do? I ask them if they have watched the following movies - Black, tare zameen par, The king's speech and I tell them I help these kinds of individuals. I even deal with stroke patients like Hritik Roshan in Guzarish or maybe autistic kid like Jhilmil and hearing impaired kid like Murfi from the movie Barfi. After all the bollywood explanation, I normally receive a different kind of regard. People have often told me, "wow, you do something incredible" and no doubt, it does feel good.

But, the problem arose when I proudly listed all the movie names and one guy said, "sorry, I don't watch movies. Could you please explain what you do?

 "Ah! Not again. Kill me!!!".