Anantnag, July 23: It would have been the end of the road for Parvez Ahmad Dar when he lost one of his arms due to an electric shock when he was quite young. He saw himself slipping into depression, but his rendezvous with the game of volleyball changed things for good.
Dar, now 33, has become a prominent volleyball player in his native village Jaybal Shangran-a small hamlet en route to the famous township of Dooru in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Besides playing the game skilfully, Dar is actively training and coaching young players from his area. According to him, he has represented the state in national games twice, and many of his trainees are important members of many prestigious teams in the area.
“I lost my right arm in an electric jolt when I accidentally touched a live electric wire. Even though I survived this incident, my one arm got disabled for life,” Dar adds.
Due this accident, Dar lost interest in his studies and slipped into depression. “I couldn’t help my family in daily chorus and also lost interest in everything. I gave up my studies after the accident,” he adds.
Having to sit idle at home, Dar, one day, thought to visit a nearby playground to watch his village pals playing volleyball. As he watched the local boys play, Dar developed an interest in the game.
“I wanted to play, but my local team didn’t allow me,” he says, adding, “obviously due to my disability.”
He didn’t have to wait long to try his hands at the game he had developed much interest in. “Once, during a volleyball match between the team of our village and another opposite team from a different village, I got a chance to join the opposite team as they were short on players.”
It has been two and half decades since. Dar is a permanent member of his local team and is an inspiration and a coach for scores of youth in the area. “The game of volleyball attracted me a lot. I bought my volleyball and would practice alone all day at my home. I perfected the game so much that I went on to play for the state team,” he says.
As Dar found refuge in playing volleyball to combat stress, anxiety, and idleness, life had more tragedies in store for him.
A decade after the accident, he lost both his parents, and the responsibility of his family fell completely on him.
“Volleyball helped me bring my life back on track, but fate had something else in store. I lost both my parents in two successive years. I had to take care of my three sisters,” he says.
Afterward, Dar dedicated most of his time to looking after his paddy fields and earning wherewithal for his family. “But I continued playing volleyball and inspiring and training our local boys. At one point, I was rejected to play in my local team, but now all the players emerging from our area are trained by me.”
He says he had the talent to play at the highest level but rues selectors' indifference towards him. “Those players who I have played with have made it to international level as well,” he added.
As of now, Dar continues to play in big local tournaments besides training many youngsters, but all his experience and hard work are yet to bear substantial fruit.
Though he receives a meager stipend from the social welfare department occasionally, he wants to be adjusted in any government department based on his sporting achievements. “I did not let my disability hinder my day-to-day life; I believe that is the best achievement of my life so far. Given an opportunity, I would like to be productive for my family and my people alike,” says Dar as he spins the volleyball on his finger.