New beginnings Society

It's a week into the new decade and now is the time to find inspiration

Rohit Swain

Rohit Swain   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

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2020 with new hope: A week into the new decade and it’s time to find inspiration and start afresh

Each one of us have a story of self-motivation, an idea of hope that pushes us to change and better our lives. We make new beginnings but with every failure, we wonder if we have it in us to start again. Here are two personalities from two different fields sharing their stories of failure and the courage with which they fought back.

Manohar Chiluveu

Manohar Chiluveu   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Language of art

It is true that academic performance and examination results are not the only ways to determine a child’s creative skill and intelligence. A fine example is artist Manohar Chiluveru who had a severe learning disability and couldn’t identify the alphabet, read or write words till VII std! Though he was promoted every year, his teachers at Nehru Memorial High School in Warangal wondered if he would ever do anything in life. “I struggled to read even the word ‘if,’ maybe I was dyslexic. But those were rare and uncommon terms in those days,” he shares.

In an English medium school, he was not comfortable even in Telugu, his mother tongue. He recollects: “It was terrible; I became an introvert and would never talk for the fear of being ridiculed by my friends. I became frustrated, angry and isolated.” His school days were traumatic but it was during this frustrating phase that he learnt to motivate himself and survive.

His casual drawing to change mood became his emotional support. Turning point was in VII std when a teacher got mad as Manohar couldn’t read a paragraph. “He hit me and said: ‘Nuvvu emi chesi bratukutaavu’ and promised he will not punish me if I draw an object on his table. He was stunned seeing my sketch.”

With an encouraging sister-in-law, Manohar gained confidence and began to read and write. All the students who laughed at him raved his painting skills. “I realised I was not good in studies and If I have to prove myself, I need to excel in the field that god has given me.” In class X, he got a new idea and recorded the notes read by his friends. “I grasped the content and wrote it in the exams.” Post-intermediate, Manohar shifted to Telugu medium and took commerce in Kakatiya University. “I realised languages were bothering me. I couldn’t read, write or communicate well in languages so I came up with my own syllabus to go ahead in life.”

The one mantra that Manohar followed is to never compare his skills with others and not scared of attempting. “There are many mistakes when I speak English but I don’t care. I know I am not explaining literature. I am communicating my ideas in language of art; I speak that language well.”

Rohit Swain

Rohit Swain   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

I make a living out of talking’

On a stage devoid of props, the spotlight is on stand-up comedian Rohit Swain. Dressed in a casual tee and denims, the comic narrates his childhood story. “I took my cycle to the puncture shop and said: “Bhaiyya, meri cy... cy... cy... After hearing me stammer, the mechanic said Cycle ka hawa nikalgaya, aage batao.’” The audience breaks into peals of laughter.

Rohit is one of the few comedians who stammers and jokes on it in his comedy shows. It was no fun when he was studying in Allahabad (now Prayaagraaj). He says, “It is tough for every kid who stammers; They get bullied.” When Rohit was made fun of, he became silent. “My parents never accepted it and I never shared my school stories with them. So I didn’t know how to face it. To escape oral exams, I faked fever and cold and stayed at home.” In fact, he was the only student in his school who never said the pledge/morning prayer in his entire curriculum.

Charu Walia, one of his teachers told his mother about it. He recalls, “She said, “Your son doesn’t speak to anyone and he cannot live like this.’ Till then I had not imagined a job interview. I wondered if I was such a waste .”

For someone who hesitated to speak even with friends began participating in debates. “I had nothing to lose so decided to change. Instead of only thinking about people and their jokes on me I thought of topics for debates.” He became such an active participant in dance shows and skits that he did events even a day before his exam. “When my friends asked me the secret, I said, ‘I stammer but I attempt.”

Rohit moved to Hyderabad to join Tata Consulting Services and credits Toastmasters (the communication club) for his stand-up journey. “I learnt mannerisms while talking, how to articulate and voice modulation. “My closet friend Sugandh Rakha in Toastmasters has a high level of stammering but it is no hindrance. He is in a top position in his company leading a team of many people. Famous personalities (Mr Bean and Hrithik Roshan) stammer but have worked on their skills that stammering doesn’t have any effect.”

2019 was big as his two YouTube videos — Hyderabad and Biryani and Rich Richer Ambani have four million views. “Friends who felt I was incapable now google my name. I don’t need those who bring negativity in life. I cannot believe that someone who remained silent to avoid being mocked at makes a living now by just talking; This is my achievement.”

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:02:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/manohar-chiluveru-and-rohit-swain-share-how-they-found-inspiration-to-start-afresh/article30494015.ece

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