Monday, October 29, 2007


EIGHTY-FOUR-year-old Lakshman Goundar (pictured) wishes nothing more than for his children to come and visit him at the Samabula Old People's Home which has been his home for the past seven years.
Mr Goundar who is originally from Simla in Lautoka said he has five children two sons and three daughters who have graduated from various tertiary institutions in the country and have good jobs.
Mr Goundar appears as a jovial looking elderly man who is always ready with a smile for the person who talks to him. But once he begins his story, it becomes clear how sad and lonely he really is.
"I used to work for the Mobil Oil Company in Vuda, Lautoka and I worked there for 35 years before retiring," Mr Goundar said.
He said he saved money to build a double storey house for his wife and children but then things changed when his children completed their education and began to neglect him and finally he had to find his place at the Home.
"I never denied my children anything and I would always get them whatever they wanted," he said.
"I remember buying things during different festivals and how we would celebrate in happiness with all our family members."
Mr Goundar had tears in his eyes when he talked about his family and the time they spent together.
"My children never had to cry for anything and I always fulfilled their needs and demands but may be I didn't do enough for them," he said.
"It is really hurtful to see that the children who learnt how to walk holding my own fingers would one day feel that I was a burden on them," said Mr Goundar.
He said he had been a resident of the Samabula Old People's Home for the past seven years but his family had never visited him.
"I do not have any grudges but it would have been nice to see them once in a while but maybe they are busy with their own lives and see no need to visit their old father," he said.
Mr Goundar's only friends at the home are fellow residents and staff who take care of them at the Home.
He spends his time talking and sharing memories with his fellow residents and he loves to listen to the radio and bhajans.
His memories of his days spent with his family were brought up during the visit by staff of the New Zealand Pacific Training Centre which had made an effort to bring some light and cheer into the lives of the residents at the Home.
"I remember my Diwali with my children when they were little and how we used to light up candles and diya and arrange flicking lights around the house," he said.
Mr Goundar said he would light up the fireworks with his children and watch them laugh with glee at the different colours of the fireworks.
But today he has no one but his memories of his family to help him live his days at the Samabula Old People's Home with his only wish that maybe, just maybe, one day his children would think of him and come and visit him.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online