It was an unforgettable day, happened 21 years ago. A boy baby was born to a couple, who looked unusual . It was a day of disappointment, the couple were in tears, depressed and frustrated as their first son was a special child. Days passed by in tears and fear, unable to digest but finally decided to bring up the child in the best possible way. Yes, it happened… today, that special child is a Gold medalist in a game called ‘BOCCE’, where the parents are now in tears of joy.
JOEL SHIBU VARKI is that special child, born to Shibu Varki, the chief ophthalmologist cum surgeon at Vasan Eye Care centre, Trichy and Vineetha Rachel Philip, a consultant at Kauvery Hospital, Trichy. Since the parents were medical professionals, it was a challenge for them to make him as they wished. Beyond the expectation of the parents, Joel had developed in his talents, with the spirit given by parents and the training provided by professional teachers and now turned up as a celebrity. Joel is now the Hero in the family , especially for his brothers Benjamin Philip and Timothy Cherian.
It was a cool, chill evening, we chose To meet Joel and his wonderful family. We walked into their house at Crawford which had a keralite touch, where the medals of Joel welcomed us along with a warm welcome by the whole family. After a brief introduction, the mother of JOEL Vineetha Rachel Philip started her conversation from the past. “ Just a couple of days after JOEL was born, we found him to be a special child, took him for complete body check-up, since most of the special children will have defects or problems I heart, kidney, liver, limbs and hands but to our surprise, there was no problem in any organ. This made us more happy and feel confident that it will be easy for us to mould him to a normal person and we decided to give him the best training and support.
Since, I was also in the medical field, I had to skip my practice, spend more time with Joel and at the age of 4, we admitted him in BLOSSOMS, a special school run by Holy cross college. He was given speech therapy, physiotherapy, behavioral therapy and taught the methods to interact with others. A special teacher named PRAVEENA CARMEL took care of JOEL, which created a strong affection on her. At a stage when she left BLOSSOMS and started her own special school named ‘DOLPHIN’, JOEL was the first student as he was stubborn to be with PRAVEENA CARMEL.
Studying the ability of JOEL, PRAVEENA introduced an Italian ball game known as ‘BOCCE’ which was unknown in Trichy. Hence she arranged special coach from Chennai to train him. JOEL started liking this game, involved himself whole-heartedly and began to prove himself. Subsequently, he was to training camps held at Chennai, Ranchi, Lucknow, Hydrebad and many more place, where he developed his skill in BOCCE.
Though he started competing at school level, then he participated in state-level, national-level and international level competitions and bagged medals. In 2009, he got silver medal in the national level competition held at Patna, in 2013, he scored the 4th and the 6th place in Asia Pacific special Olympics held at Australia. In, 2016, He got Gold and silver medal in the special Olympics held at Jakarta, Indonesia. Even recently in the 8th special Olympics held at Bihar, he finished with a Gold medal. His thirst for achieving and success is going endless. He was also awarded as the BEST SPORTS PERSONby the former captain of the Indian cricket team Bishen singh Bedi in a function held at National college, Trichy in 2014. Being a special child, he broke the barrier that special children will be confined to a parameter and we, as parents are confident that he will achieve even more and we will be playing a vital role in all his efforts in the days to come”.
After a cup of tea, the father of JOEL, Dr. Shibu Varki continued his experiences about the hurdles and barriers, as parents they faced, having a special child. “As JOEL was our first child, initially , we were emotional and depressed, but later as we both were from the medical profession, we took this matter as a challenge. The most painful instances we felt so bad were, when we attend any function, few of our relatives advised us not to bring JOEL, as they felt that he symbolizes BAD LUCK. We were not given seat in the front and many de-motivated us by their words and gestures, which were really painful for us as parents of a special child.
When a parent realizes that their child is a special child, they should start the relevant therapy from the following day itself, but most of the parents keep their child indoors, not identifying the talents and abilities of that child, which will further burden the parents.
Here, I wish to proudly say that People of Tamil Nadu are 10 times more supportive than keralite people and after winning competitions, JOEL himself calls all the relatives over phone and say that ‘I have won’. Though he will not be able to converse so fluently, we are quite used to his gestures.
Joel with Medals
At this time, I wish to acknowledge his special teacher and trainer PRAVEENA CARMEL, coach Arumugam, and state co-ordinator for special oympics Paul Devasagayam, for their contribution at all levels to make JOEL, a successful person. Till date, we have been providing him all the needed support and we do worry about his future, as we grow old, who would take care of him.
Moreover, JOEL has obtained a diploma in computer education, a course by the Bharathidasan University for special children. He helps his mother in her clinic and even takes care of the Opticals attached with the clinic. Am confident that he can survive alone with the abilities he has acquired. JOEL has not only tasted success through his ability but also proved himself to become a CELEBRITY.
I wish to appeal all the parents having special child, to identify their talents and try to manifest their ability in all possible ways, which will really bring Joy of tears and a good life to them”.
A special child can also exhibit their talents and prove that they are extra-ordinary, only if they are trained and taken care well. Dr. Shibu varki and Dr. Vineetha Rachel Philip had spent most of their time and money, taking care of JOEL, their elder son who was a then a special child, now proved himself as a successful super kid.
With a sense of mental satisfaction and wonder, ‘NAMMA TRICHY’ weekly wished JOEL and his family for sparing their time to share their experience about JOEL.
– E. Paul guna loganath – Naveen Elangovan – Photo – G.Kumaran