A Challenged but complete full-fledged life

- By A P Irungovel M.A.,M.LITT.,M.S.W., M.PHIL.,PH.D. Manager – Medical Sociology, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai Direct Line: 044 4227 1919 Mobile: 9840821919 e-mail: drapirungo­vel@gmail.com

A P Irungovel

In 1972, a road accident ruined their lives. Mr. Manohar Devdas said about his wife's condition, 'She had no control over many bodily functions...she would have to be loaded with drugs that would dull her sharp mind. She would have to live with the constant threat of infections, bed sores and spasms. She would be a 'dependent' all her life, needing 24-hour attention...'

– Manohar Devadoss, (from his book “Dreams, Seasons & Promises”).

But Mrs. Mahima Devdas, an English literature graduate, who has written many poems and essays, mentally jumped out. She started taking spoken English classes. Because of increased interest in social services and in participat­ing in all the social events surroundin­g Chennai, she spent all the revenues from her art and literary works to the poor and needy. Their virtue was tested once more as they met with another accident. Mr. Manohar Devdas was afflicted with retinitis pigmentosa, which affected his eyesight.

But this wonderful couple were not disturbed.

They always attended any public function they were invited to, as a couple. This wonderful couple - A man, and his wife, brought in a wheelchair – can be seen in all the programmes of Sankara Nethralaya. After retirement in 1997, he started his own Battery Company with friends and wrote several books. He made many black and white paintings as he lost the ability to perceive colours. He conducted exhibition­s of his paintings and donated all the proceeds to various service organizati­ons including Sankara Nethralaya. The wedding invitation of Mr. Seshu Badrinath, son of our guru Dr. Badrinath, is designed with the Auspicious Wedding scene of Madurai Sri Meenakshi Amman. Mr Mano frequently drew many paintings, when Mrs Mahima read the sceneries from many books. During that period, Mr Manohar Devadoss realized that he was losing his vision due to his Retinitis Pigmentosa. So, he wanted to give his attention to one more art - music. He started to learn to play Violin. The artist learnt to focus on the music before the entire sight was lost. But, he was met with one emotional trauma. In 2008 Mrs. Mahima passed away. He called me immediatel­y through his assistant; he wanted to fulfill the desire of his beloved wife. I rushed immediatel­y with our Eye Donation Call Duty Doctors to receive the eyes of Mrs. Mahima Devdoss.

Despite the agony of the death of his wife, who had been a pillar of support through his life, he honored her by taking up the skill of writing, in which she was very skilled, and published eight books –

Green Well Years

Dreams Seasons and Promises

A Poem to Courage

Multiple Facets of my Madurai

My Madurai Memories (translatio­n of Green Well Years into Tamil)

From an Artist's Perspectiv­e

Mahe and Mano; Challenges, Resilience, and Triumphs

Madras Inked: Impression­s of an Artist and an Architect (co-authored with Sujatha Shankar)

In recognitio­n of his services, The Governor of Tamil Nadu was present as the special guest as Sankara Nethralaya presented him with the ‘Mrs. MS Amma Award’.

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