Thursday, August 13, 2009

Visitor reactions - II

Sometimes, somebody who does not know the extent of my disabilities, will offer his hand. Then he will suddenly realise that he has committed a faux pas and will hesitate, not knowing how to bail out. At that time Jaya will crack some joke. Recognising an opportunity (and knowing that it has a reputation for being coy about knocking twice) he will latch on to the joke. Jaya has caused several such potentially awkward situations to disappear through timely intervention.

Small kids seemed to think that I enjoy having children for breakfast. They will hide behind their mothers, peeping occasionally to check if the apparition was remaining at a safe distance. They could not be blamed for thinking that it is better to be safe than to be sorry because at that time I used to look more hideous than I do now, what with the feeding tube protruding out of my nose.

'Deaf and Dumb' always go together. When people saw that I can't speak, they automatically assumed that I was also hard of hearing and would speak loudly. Folks at home will tell them that my hearing is alright, so they will start speaking normally. But after some time their volume will again rise unconsciously.

Some people will act out what they say in order to make me understand what they mean. It took a while for everybody to know that (apart from the fact that I can’t eat,can’t walk,can’t talk!) I was quite normal.

Actually even now when people see me for the first time, they will ask questions like 'Can he hear?' or 'Can he understand what we speak?' which will make me laugh. The problem is that when I start laughing, I find it difficult to stop. Also, since my facial muscles are not very mobile, my expressions may be a bit different from what you would normally expect. As it says in this article :
Platt’s studies of gelotophobes’ emotions show that they may also have problems picking up on the social cues related to smiling and laughter. Fake laughs, belly laughs, malicious laughs and chuckles all come with their own set of cues — such as vocal tones and facial expressions — that signal whether you’re being laughed at or laughed with.

Not picking up on these cues may lead some people with gelotophobia to misinterpret playful laughter as something much more menacing, Platt says.

“If all the cues are all there, the over-exaggeration and the facial mannerisms, to say ‘I’m only playing with you and this is fun,’ then it may be fine,” Platt says. “But there’s a danger that those cues might be misunderstood by someone who fears being ridiculed, and they will say that they’re being bullied when they’re just being teased.”
I hope I did not have too many visitors with gelotophobia. My idiosyncrasies would not have pleased them at all. I had a nurse with this problem. Whenever I laughed about something she would think that I was laughing at her.


  1. "It took a while for everybody to know that (APART FROM THE FACT THAT I CAN'T EAT, CAN'T WALK, CAN'T TALK)I was quite normal."

    Hey, weren't you the guy complaining abt people asking if you are otherwise okay? :-)

  2. hi sir 2day only i ve read ur complete blog frm "i do" 2 visitors reaction II,and i laughed out wen i read the nurse who misunderstood....cos it happend 4 me also in the early days wen i came 2 c wen is ur nxt post