Posted by Anil Joshi with Rashmi Joshi, New Delhi
Devanshi, our daughter grew up in the company of many loving friends, relatives and acquaintances. Early in life, she learnt the art of exploring and making herself comfortable in every situation.
When I shifted to Delhi in 2007, everything was new. Devanshi at that time was in school enjoying her life to the fullest with her friends in Nagpur. She along with her mother shifted to Delhi after her tenth boards in 2009 and quickly adopted to the new life.
After completing class XII in Delhi, she picked up photography and earned from the sale-proceeds of her photo exhibitions. She has been working in full time regular jobs since 2013. Over the past seven years, she has won many hearts, has large number of friends who are her admirers and fans. She keeps in touch with most of them through social media and WhatsApp.
Many awards and accolades that Devanshi received as Best Employee and Role Model has kept her motivated to constantly learn new things and attain new heights. She is a regular presenter at Parents’ Meets, awareness programs and national and international conferences.
Devanshi and her mother Rashmi were invited to Melbourne for World Premiere of Raising The Bar – a documentary covering Devanshi’s journey along with other families from India and Australia. Australian High Commission hosted it’s Premiere in Delhi and Mumbai. The high point was when she was invited to speak at UN Geneva as a self advocate in March ‘20. All the travel plan done, visa issued…
AND, that was when the pandemic happened and flights were suspended. We all were disappointed, and were apprehensive about her reaction, but Devanshi quickly got over it and was enthusiastic in getting back to her work.
Devanshi is first employee with Intellectual Disability at Big Bazaar. Her Manager informs us, “She is extremely disciplined, cheerful and has a positive outlook towards her work. Her positive aura reverberates in our store with customers as well as fellow employees. She is a very quick learner and a quick task master with respect to adhering to processes and ensures compliance from everybody.”
The lockdown announced later posed many challenges for everyone. It happened suddenly. But it also opened up plethora of opportunities. Initially, it was very difficult for Devanshi to accept the sudden break to her disciplined routine. She loved her job and interactions with colleagues and customers so much. But she found her way by using technology to keep herself entertained and explored WhatsApp conference feature by herself to stay in touch with her colleagues. We both were stunned, when we found Devanshi trying to resolve lockdown difficulties being faced by her team members who were new to Delhi! She also passed on safety training instructions to them!!
Devanshi always loved to help her Mom in the kitchen, but never found time due to her full time job. With no domestic help now, we all took turns to complete the tasks. Devanshi learnt so many new things including cooking a complete meal for the family and using the pressure cooker. It was indeed amazing to see Devanshi doing the household chores with a bright smile on her face.
Devanshi has developed her daily routine now. Getting up in the morning to tidying her room herself and quickly getting ready. She does her yoga and fitness exercises daily, waters the plants and helps her Mom with house work. She loves to set the dining table and serves food with pride! In the afternoons, she has her training sessions and then a short evening walk. We always end our day playing either a card game or a board game.
I feel very proud to see her regularly participate in leisure activities, online training webinars by Down Syndrome Federation of India and Down Syndrome Parents’ Society, sports training by Special Olympics Bharat (being their Youth Leader) and many other forums. She also gave motivational speeches and presented webinars to groups of professionals and parents from Jammu & Kashmir, Oman and many others.
There is something new to learn from Devanshi everyday. The emotional maturity she has shown when we lost one close family member to cardiac arrest during this period, was simply divine. I was not able to travel because of restrictions and she offered motherly love to both of us. She comforted us in her own way.
She showed courage when we had our building sealed for nearly 45 days due to Corona positive cases. Devanshi connected with our neighbours over the phone, regularly enquired about their well being and asked if they needed any help.
I often feel, we need to trust our children and give scope to develop their independent thinking. Trust me, they all are capable of surprising us every time a new challenge is presented. We need to explore their abilities that are waiting to be tapped. We only have to provide the atmosphere so that our children feel enthused to connect and feel respected.
Devanshi started jumping with joy, when the news of partial opening of lockdown came in. Frankly, we were both apprehensive due to fear of exposure. After lot of brain storming and regular training about hygiene and social distancing, our confidence was built up.
It is nearly three months now that Devanshi is attending her duty, twice a week as per the office roster. Sometimes we feel a little worried, but she comforts us quickly. We need to strictly follow safety protocol and make ourselves comfortable with the idea of living with Corona.
She is very happy to be with her colleagues and follows all the precautions meticulously. The glow on her face after she has finished her duty cannot be captured by any camera!! Her answer to my questions makes me feel jealous, “How was the day and are you tired?” on our drive back home. Pat comes the reply “Day was great! No, I not tired at all!!”
I can’t thank God enough for having such a loving Angel in our lives. She is truly a Divine Blessing, who is full of positivity. Pandemic has helped us strengthen the bond by facilitating more quality time together. It is because of her that we are now connected with thousands of families.
Pandemic has made us all look at life differently. It has taught us to accept change and innovate. It has made us more humane.
I genuinely feel the need to have compulsory nationwide lockdown of at least a fortnight (if not a month) every year. It will help us all get closer to nature as also give us time to explore beauty within, AND BE OURSELVES!!
Cover Image: Inc.com
Story Images: Author
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