Prasanth is a 35 year old Engineer-Programmer-Analyst born in the Southern Indian City of Madurai. During his childhood days, he was very shy and as a result, focused more on reading books and getting better at things that didn’t involve talking to people, like Geography. He spoke Sourashtra with his family, Tamil with his friends, and English in school. Although trilingual, he was an equal opportunity stutterer and he struggled for fluency in all 3 languages.
He came to the US in 2004 and using Hollywood as his guide, landed in a hot Louisiana Summer afternoon dressed in a thick leather jacket… and was surprised to find Baton Rouge not representing anything he imagined about USA. He later transferred to the University of Kentucky to complete his Masters in Engineering. After graduation, his work took him to Philadelphia, Chattanooga and finally Dallas. In almost all places he moved to, he didn’t know a single soul and this forced him to get out of his shell and talk to strangers. In 2013, he got the travel bug and started backpacking. He has backpacked in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He tries to visit one at least one new country every year.
During his Masters days at Kentucky, he came to know about the NSA. He went to the first conference in 2005 in Chicago, where he experienced many other firsts as well – first time he saw a large group of people who stuttered, first time he saw a girl who stuttered, and first time he talked to anyone about his stuttering. Needless to say, it was a life changing experience. When he saw people who stutter could be successful, he became inspired by them and confident in himself and his skills. He has attended a total of 8 NSA conferences since. His time at the conferences has helped him to grow into a better, more accepting, and less angry human being. Instead of being frustrated by his ‘difference’, he started accepting his ‘uniqueness’. He strongly believes that these experiences helped him to differentiate himself and get admitted to the best business school in Texas – University of Texas at Austin. He even won the students nominated ‘Best Team Player’ award, which he cherishes the most. This award acted as a validation that we are only limited by own mindset and if we believe in ourselves, we can succeed despite our lack of ‘fluency’.
He is heading to Portland to start a new adventure in his life. He reckons keeping an open mind, embracing differences and accepting people’s idiosyncracies are key ingredients to be a successful person, and he is forever thankful to the NSA for helping him learn that and also for connecting with his stamily.