Meet the Go-getter Anand - The New Indian Express

Meet the Go-getter Anand

Published: 02nd January 2014 08:21 AM

Last Updated: 02nd January 2014 08:21 AM

Anand Honnavalli was diagnosed as a Down Syndrome case on the day he was born. His mother Chaya Sudesh was just 23 years old when she gave birth to Anand, who is now 25 years old. “The space between his big toe and small toe was huge. His fingers were much smaller and epicanthic fold was more,” says Chaya, a volunteer with Children's Movement for Civic Awareness.

“I don't think it really hit me when I heard the news that my son was a Down's case. For the first few weeks, the problems which I will face in the future did not set in. But right from the beginning, my gynaecologist, my father, mother and in-laws were all very supportive,” she adds.

Soon after Anand turned one, Chaya joined her husband Capt Sudesh Honnavalli on the ship he was working and sailed to many countries.

“These trips really helped me. Abroad, people are really supportive and the awareness levels are very high. Even my confidence levels grew gradually and we started to look at solutions rather than staring at problems,” says Chaya.

She spent six months in the US and took up a voluntary work assisting a speech therapist, when Anand was three-and-a-half-years old. Back to Bangalore in 1994, Anand joined the Bethany Special School at the age of six-and-a-half-years.

At the school, Anand was a popular student. “The teachers loved him and he was very helpful. He used to assist his teachers till he completed his schooling in Bethanys, and even during his two-year stint with Fame India school,” says his mother.

Today, Anand works at the Gateway Hotel in the housekeeping department and is in-charge of the distribution of uniforms to all the staff. His superior Pradeep Chandrashekhar appreciates Anand's dedication at work. “Even if little bit of work is left, Anand refuses to go home and he would want to finish it first. His memory is amazing and his punctuality is something none can match. He is a role model to all of us,” says Pradeep.

He travels to his workplace by bus all by himself. “I give one cellphone ring to my mother the moment I board the bus on Bannerghatta Road, then once I reach the hotel and finally when I getting back home. I love my friends and even have a Facebook account. Sometimes I fight with my sister, but I give all my love to her. I can understand her difficulties as well,” says Anand with his slurred speech. He does his prayers with his grandparents and locks the back door for them every day. He even makes their bed. “I watch all English movies 'with love and everything'. I am a big fan of Hrithik Roshan and have his photo on my cupboard. I workout at the gym. I have 8 packs already,” Anand smiles and says. “I also help my mother in the kitchen. You know, my life is all about music and I love my drop shots while playing badminton," he adds, trying to express as much possible.

Anand's sister Aishwarya is 18 years old and pursuing her 2nd year BA at the Christ University. Terming Anand as an extremely affectionate person, Aishwarya recalls the pranks she plays on him. “Anand is very particular about keeping all his belongings at one place. Sometimes I hide his slippers and enjoy watching his frustration, while he searches for it. All my friends treat him as a normal kid and that's a huge plus for the family,” says Aishwarya.

Anand is a sports pro and plays squash, basketball, table tennis, chess and badminton, in addition to being a swimmer. Lately, his focus has been on badminton. “He won a silver at the Special Olympics held in Rajasthan in 2009. In 2013, he went to New Castle for the Asia Pacific Special Olympics and won three medals,” says his mother.

Anand's father Sudesh has often felt the guilt of his wife taking all the load of taking care of Anand. “Since I was sailing, I didn't know all the pains she was going through while bringing him up. To me it is better to accept the condition at the earliest rather than breaking 21 coconuts. It is not the end of the world, if you have as special child. We should look for ways and means and make the best of the situation,” says Sudesh, now working as a dredging consultant.

Chaya's father S K Ramanna is 89 years old and calls his daughter the bravest of all. “She didn't cry when I broke the news that Anand was diagnosed with Down's. Instead, she said that she will make a man out of him and give him everything. There's nothing called failure in life. Through sheer will and determination, we can overcome any issues,” says Ramanna, an electrical engineer, retired from Indian Telephone Industries.

Chaya says she has no regrets having a special child. “We have given him everything and treat both children equally at home. May be if he was a normal child, I would have had more tension in life,” she adds. Hearing this, Anand jumps into the fray: “I am a normal kid, Mom. I can understand you.”

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