Island News

Strong will power carries Davendra through

Written By : Nandika Chand . Nothing can stop a person from achieving his or her destination in life who has a strong will power and determination. Without a strong
12 Jul 2008 12:00

image Written By : Nandika Chand . Nothing can stop a person from achieving his or her destination in life who has a strong will power and determination.
Without a strong will power a person will not able to do things or fulfill their dreams and goals with sheer confidence.
66-year-old a retired school teacher Davendra Mudaliar has been facing and crossing hurdles and obstacles most of his lifetime.
Davendra known as Master Daven is a well-known figure in the Lautoka community and has gained the respect and honor of his students and colleagues.
He said he has been living in Rifle Range for more than 60-years as he was born there and settled with his own small family there.
“I have seen many changes and developments taking place here over the years,” Davendra said.
“In my young days there used to be few houses here and there were lots of trees and mango and guava bushes,” he said.
“We used to climb the mango trees and eat the mangoes up in the trees and used to have stomach aches when we ate too much guavas,” he said.
“My mother made mango chutney and pickles and I was the one who picked mangoes for her from the trees,” he said.
“We were eight siblings, five brothers and three sisters. In those days there used to be large families and people loved it because there were many people to talk to and the house used to be full,” he said.
“We all used to walk to school together and come back together and it was very much fun,” he added.
Davendra said he attended Natabua Primary School and was a very much interested in sports.
He said Natabua Primary was a government school and the school had various sports equipments.
“I was a sportsman at heart and liked to play hockey and soccer but loved to play hockey most of all,” Davendra said.
“I was 12-years-old in 1956 and playing a game of hockey with my friends during sports time in school when tragedy struck,” he said.
“A hockey bat hit my leg, it was fractured and I had to be rushed to the hospital,” he said.
“At the hospital the doctor just looked at my leg and without even taking an x-ray, said it was nothing major and gave my mother a bottle of massaging oil for treating my leg,” he said.
“I was taken home and over a week, my leg swelled up. I was again taken to the hospital and the same doctor saw me and took an x-ray this time,” he added.
Davendra said the doctor plastered his fractured leg and he was admitted in the hospital for seven to eight months.
He said he did not go outside and feel the sunlight on him for seven months.
“My leg did not heal and it got even worse in the plaster, my leg swelled up more and got filled with pus,” Davendra said.
“There was a foreign doctor in the hospital from overseas and he took up my case. He said my leg was bad,” he said.
“The doctor cut the plaster and they had to drain the pus out and informed my parents and me that my leg will not heal up as it had gotten infected,” he said.
“Because of the infection, the doctors had to amputate my right leg. I was a boy and had just become a teenager and my leg was amputated,” he said.
“I did not feel discouraged or loose hope and faith in myself of achieving something in live,” he said.
“I was given wooden crutches by the hospital and at first it was difficult to use and I could not get over the fact that I had lost one of my leg and I would not be able to do work like any other individual,” he added.
Davendra said he did not rely on anyone for any thing and used the crutches like it was part of him.
He said he used the crutches to work to school and said it was very difficult and tiring at first but he got used to it.
“I walked to school and used to swim in the river back home. I used to swim with both my legs and then after loosing one I learnt to swim with one leg and it was very fun,” Davendra said.
“I was happy that I could do my work like any other normal person and was independent and did not ask anyone for help or support,” he said.
“After attending high school at Sri Vivekananda College till form five, I stayed home with my mother and helped her with cooking and making chutney and pickles,” he said.
“I even taught the women at SPC how to prepare and make the pickles and make money from it,” he said.
“One day while I was at home a masterji (school teacher) approached me to help him teach in a school,” he said.
“I saw the doors opening up for me and I grabbed the opportunity immediately and started teaching,” he said.
Davendra said he went through teacher training at Nabua Teacher Training for four months and he was a qualified teacher.
He said no one saw him as the man with the crutches but respected him as a will powered individual.
“I taught at Lautoka Muslim Primary for five years after qualifying then at Lautoka Andhra Sangam Primary from 1972 to 2005 till I retired,” Davendra said.
“Actually I retired in 1999 and the Ministry of Education gave me another three years to teach till 2001,” he said.
“Then I worked as a part-time teacher and also as a librarian for Lautoka Andhra Sangam Primary till 2005,” he said.
“Now I am fully retired and stay at home but it is very difficult for me because most of my life I have been surrounded with children and teaching them,” he said.
“Whenever there was a function in school such as awards night or carnivals I did all the cooking,” he added.
Davendra said he loves cooking and is often found cooking at weddings and temple pooja.
He said he does not charge any sort of fees because he loves cooking and likes to see people smiling after eating food cooked by him.
“I have also engaged in social work – helping out the community, helping in weddings and special functions,” Davendra said.
“I often come down to the school and have a chat with the teachers and the children also come up and talk with me,” he said.
“In 1960s and 1970s the school children used to be disciplined and listened to what the teachers said to them. They listened to their teachers more than they listened to their parents,” he said.
“Now in the 1990s and 2000, a very big change has come about. The children are not at all listening to their teachers and neither their parents,” he said.
“Previously the teachers were allowed to hit the children if they were naughty now a teacher cannot do it because the parents will question the teacher and the children seem to be taking advantage of that,” he said.
“The cases of students sniffing glue being highlighted in the media are very much a concern for the parents and teachers and the question arises that where we went wrong,” he said.
Mr Davendra said previously the parents used to spend a lot of time with the children.
He said the men worked and a majority of women stayed home and looked after the children.
“Now in every household both parents are working and little attention is given to the child as they are too busy with their works,” he said.
“Parents must find time to talk to their children and find out what is going on in their lives and what they are up to,” he said. Davendra said his advice to the children was to listen to their parents and for the parents to take out some time for the children.
“I was determined and had the courage to make something out o myself in life. If I had lost hope in the starting then I would have ended up begging in the streets but I worked hard and am what I am today,” he said.
Davendra said if he could achieve with a disability then anyone could do it.

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