Mumbai: Incapable of speaking, cerebral palsy patient and 11 year-old fan of Tendulkar learns to say 'India' after watching WC matches.

As the Indian team lifted the World Cup, the events that led to the victory changed one boy's life significantly.

Eleven year-old Hitansh Mandavia from Vile Parle (W) who is incapable of speaking (apart from uttering a few monosyllables) and voluntary movement, has learnt to utter the word 'India'. Although he tries but is unable to pronounce Sachin Tendulkar's name, he utters the word 'India' frequently while watching matches, especially when Tendulkar is batting.
"It (watching India in the tournament) is one of the rare occasions when he actually socialises and actively interacts with the family," said Hitansh's mother Rupal Mandavia. Hitansh suffers from acute cerebral palsy, a condition that encompasses a group of non-progressive motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement. In the case of Hitansh, not only can he not speak or move, he also suffers from a limited attention span of not more than a couple of minutes.

Cricket has changed that too.  According to occupational therapist Pushpa Shahri who has been treating Hitansh since he was a toddler, his attention span has improved considerably since he has been watching matches on TV.

 "He has become a hardcore Indian cricket fan and follows matches minutely," she said. "Although he cannot even sit up straight on his own, he does not miss a single ball, right till the final over." During the recent India-Pakistan semi-final, Hitansh even refused to be fed till India won the match.

Nine year-old Khushi, Hitansh's younger sibling, learnt of her brother's passion for the game when she casually remarked that Pakistan might win. "He rarely emotes, but when I said India might lose because we did not have a big total to defend, Hitansh almost bit me. The only other time he is so full of enthusiasm is when we mention Tendulkar's name in his presence. His face lights up," she said.

Seeing Hitansh's enthusiasm, his father Sanjay Mandavia, who works as an airline pilot, purchased a bunch of India team jerseys for him. "These positive signs of activity are a reason for us to rejoice," he said.

Courtesy: Mid-day.com