On April 25, 2024, the Boodhun family residing in Bhagelloo Lane, Mont-Fertile, welcomed its first centenarian in the person of Jasodah Boodhun, née Rajmun also known as Dadi Dewantee. An event described as a blessing and happiness for this vast family which extends as far as Canada and Australia.

Everything combined to make the event a memorable one. Family members in Mauritius, neighbors and some local seniors who were also invited, were joined by two of Dadi Dewantee's grandchildren, who had specially made the trip from Canada and Australia.

“Dadi wanted everyone, or almost everyone, to be present, including the neighbors who still remember the days when she worked hard,” explains her son Jeeanduth, who usually answers: “I live with my mother.” when asked where he lives. “It’s a way for me to indicate that it’s my mother who takes care of me and not me. Because she is not a burden to me. She is a blessing,” he said.

The prayers, on this Thursday, April 25, attended by some 60 people, all relatives, took up the entire morning. “From a very young age, my mother never failed to read a page from the Ramayana. She made two principles from our sacred book the pillars of her life: family and unity. It was out of the question to start that Thursday without the recitation of mantras, sloks and bhajans,” points out Jeeanduth.

Resources in prayers


Throughout his life, Dadi Dewantee found the necessary resources in prayers to face the harshness of life. But she also knew that nothing came on a silver platter. “Kan ou nouri vas, bizin travay kouma bien dir,” she said.

The eldest of a family of six girls, she learned Hindi up to Standard 3. When she married at 15, she went to live with her husband Balkressoon Boodhun in Vacoas before following him to Mont-Fertile, in New Grove.

“Like all the local ladies, she raised cows. Then around the age of 43, after my father retired, she started working as a plowman in the fields of the Riche-en-Eau sugar refinery in order to pay my college fees. For those days, Rs 20 was a lot of money. My father, who died in 1990, first served as a sirdar in the Ministry of Works and then in the Public Works Department,” says Jeeanduth.

The latter still remembers the realism shown by his mother during her years of hard work: “She said that if you like chocolate and ice cream, you should also be ready to taste onions, gourds and peppers. She was very aware that in life there were always ups and downs, existence was never a straight and flat road. She has always had a philosophical side. But I always saw her as someone who never gave up. She was driven by perseverance. She cherished the truth and had a sense of sacrifice. »

“Bouyon bred mouroum”

Before experiencing some health problems in recent weeks, Dadi Dewantee was still doing household chores, never neglecting her morning prayers. To this day, she has remained vegetarian, with a preference for “bouyon bred mouroum” and “satini koko”. Not forgetting Hindustani TV series, religious films and pious songs, kirtann and bhajan on YouTube.

“She hated being idle, noisy or sleeping for long hours. For her it was wasted time,” confides Jeeanduth. Like other seniors her age, she still loves chocolate. Before, she could snack on snacks and sweets all day.

“She rinsed then cut the vegetables that my wife Devika was going to cook,” he continues. She made a point of cleaning the sink, so she was constantly washing dishes. Sometimes, when we didn't see her saying her prayers in the morning, me and my wife got a little worried. It was just that she hadn't gotten up yet. »

His greatest satisfaction was seeing Jeeanduth rise to the position of deputy director at the Ministry of Labor and winning a scholarship to the prestigious Oxford University. “Almost all of my sisters and brothers studied up to secondary school, as my mother always emphasized that education is the only way out. Never having gone to school made her understand the importance of education. The grandchildren have accessed tertiary studies and reached important positions in the public and private sectors. Others have carried the family flame higher in Canada and Australia. These achievements are truly sources of happiness for my mother,” argues Jeeanduth.

“Gayatri Mantra”

For the approximately one hundred guests present at the party given in a restaurant in the region on the afternoon of Thursday, April 25, the opening of the party with the “Gayatri Mantra” took on particular meaning. “Everyone had the deep conviction that my mother was blessed by the gods. But I also told myself that the fact of having spent entire days in the stable with his cows and even of having breathed their excrement in part explains his longevity. Today, Ayurvedic medicine highlights that nature has elements that allow us to have good health and which avoid becoming dependent on drugs with chemical composition. Old age is also about harmony between body and mind, something my mother managed to achieve,” observes Jeeanduth.

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