Hrithik Roshan may be flawless physically, but he has a speech impediment that still affects, though never defines him. Over the years, he has spoken about his battles to overcome it and how it remains an ongoing war. His constant struggle has been to raise awareness on the condition and helping children and adults alike not face the stigma he did. The actor recently spoke to us on International Stammering Awareness Day (October 22) about his stammering.
How tough was it for you to tackle and overcome your stammering?
Well, it was a lonely battle. I struggled alone for a long time, but powered on. But, in the course of my struggle, I learnt many beautiful and amazing things.
Have the hardships toughened you?
I am grateful for each and every problem and struggle I have faced. It makes me who I am. I just wish the stigma around such issues were erased from our minds. We all are sufferers in some form and we all are heroes in some form. It’s okay. Don’t feel weak about your shortcomings. Use them to grow.
Looking back on those days of struggling, what are your thoughts?
Back then, I used to think of myself as weak. Not capable. Not equal, not normal. School and college was hell. And children, as sweet as they are, can be quite mean unintentionally.
Children need to be sensitized towards physical and mental disabilities?
Not having enough information or education was the problem. Not the stutter itself. Awareness is what we need.
How did you grow through the experience?
Today, I look back and label all those moments as moments of strength and power. It ignited a passion in me that made me invincible. Now, I believe I can do anything in life.
You should do a book on how you overcame your disability?
I’ve been thinking about that. I would like to tell all my fellow stutterers to be proud of who they are and be unafraid of expressing themselves. It is our character that defines us, not our disabilities. Power ahead!