From a cancer survivor to a fight for survivors: Anant’s storyShinjini Chowdhury
Anant recovered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and started Jannat, an organisation to help cancer patients
Anant Shukla, now 27, recalls growing up in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, with his large maternal family. He talks of a love for computers that grew in him from that young age. They fascinated him, and the iInternet gave him his gateway to the world. This interest, later, led him to a passion for social media.
In 2010, on a train journey back home from his college in Noida, he was watching Sweet November starring Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves. That was the first time he felt a pain in his abdomen. Within days, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the same disease Charlize’s character, Sara, suffered from in the movie. To him, this still remains an interesting story to tell, as is that of the coming years.
This type of lymphoma causes tumours to develop from lymphocytes. The cancer originates in the lymphatic system of the body. Anant, however, recalls that he was cheerful and positive throughout the period of his illness even though he had to drop out of his engineering degree at Amity University.
All in the mind
He is cheerful and enthusiastic. He talks about how the disease was a tough time for him and his family, but of the loving support he received from many. “Not everyone stays with you, you know, when you are in a spot. But, those that do are the ones meant to stay for life,” he muses.
During his treatment at Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, he spoke to many cancer patients and with many more when he visited Bhatinda ‘cancer belt’. His noticed that most people lose the will to fight once they know that their bodies are afflicted with cancer. Anant, however, believes that a lot is in the mind. “Heavenly power comes not from a higher body, but from our own minds,” he believes. He held that thought and set up Jannat in December 2010 with a four other friends.
Heaven is a place on earth
Jannat is a social media platform designed to help spread social awareness. It mobilises people to make others more conscious about cancer and its curability. Besides, Jannat also takes up the fight for other social evils, such as corruption. For instance, during the Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi in 2012, Facebook was replete with the colour black set as profile photos in mourning and solidarity. This, in fact, was Jannat’s idea that went viral.
While battling cancer, Anant was resolute that he would not let his life change. He wanted no sympathy. It is this spirit for life that forms the motivation behind Jannat that currently works through Facebook, Twitter, and web blogs.
Anant, the traveller
This life enthusiast is also a voracious writer. He and a team of like-minded youngsters started a PR and content marketing tool called DafuqStory in 2015. Later renamed DAFUQ, the goal of this platform was to raise eyebrows and amaze its readers with entertainment journalism that bears a perspective.
In 2016, his journey with DAFUQ ended and Anant spearheaded THEPOST24 which is the in-house news portal of Celledge Technologies in Mumbai. “With a traffic of over 1.5 million users daily from Southeast Asia, the United States, and Europe, THEPOST24 is a one-of-its-kind independent media platform that allows the masses to express their views, opinions, stories, ideas, and analyses in the form of news articles,” says Anant.
His dream is to keep exploring new opportunities and make the best of the years to come with patience and fortitude. Today, Jannat has a loyal community of social media friends who believe in its cause. Anant himself is extremely passionate about it and talks of creating a parallel platform that will generate funds to help further Jannat’s reach.
He emphasises that Jannat has much potential to win over the war against cancer and other evils that sap the life out of a happy, healthy living.