Starting up and starting over – Mudit Dandwate
Cricket matches and food are key matchmakers when it comes to connecting Indians, including entrepreneurs. One such instance was the Indo-Pak Cricket Match World Cup Final, when multiple IIT-Bombay alumni got together for the match at InstaOffice, Double Road in Bangalore!
One of the many interesting people I met there was Mudit Dandwate, who runs a healthcare startup. Being an entrepreneur who has overcome and triumphed over his own set of challenges, he is many things such as a determined self-starter and a passionate hard-worker. However, the first word that comes to my mind when describing him is “brave”.
Why brave, you might ask? Please read on, for this story about his courage, bravery and human aspiration would help you understand why I consider him one of most inspiring people I have come across.
This July, Mudit took his dogs out for a walk near Thattekere Lake near Anekal in Bangalore. The dogs were excited to see a water body and jumped inside. On impulse, he also jumped into the lake to help them. Knee-deep into the water, he managed to pull both the dogs out of the water. But, as he pushed his dogs to safety, a crocodile latched onto his hand. He thrashed and flailed against the open jaws of a crocodile that was shredding away at his arm despite being only in three feet of water.
At that moment 26-year-old Mudit Dandwate found he had two options – lose an arm and keep his life, or give it all up. And that fateful morning, as he desperately recalled every trick he had seen over the years watching Discovery Channel, he knew what he had to do. The young startup entrepreneur lost his left arm that morning, snapping it off at the elbow, leaving the rest in the crocodile, and hauling himself to safety. Well breaking his own hand was just the beginning as he still had to fight for survival. Mudit swam out of the water, bleeding profusely. Crocodile bites are toxic – if the poison spreads, it’s dangerous. His friend who came with him, completely unaware of the events that had transpired, fainted when he saw Mudit. Mudit was still losing blood, and had to find bystanders on his own to get his car that was parked 5 kms away and drive for another 2 hours till they found a hospital.
Dr. Thomas Chandy, Director and Chief of Orthopedics, Hosmat Hospital was quoted on TOI saying “Usually, crocodiles drown you and then grab you. Had it grabbed his hip, abdomen, chest or even thighs, chances of survival would have been bleak. Mudit is the first crocodile attack survivor I have seen in my career.”
How did you recover? I ask him, completely awed. “I joined back to my office within 10 days of the accident. As an ardent reader and learner of how the brain works, I knew phantom pain and the trauma was tricks that my own mind was playing on me. I just had to keep faith and focus”.He explains, “ One thing I have learned after the accident is to appreciate time more and focus on what actually matters” “If I was putting in 10 hours of work, now it’s 14. My priorities have changed considerably and now I know what matters”.
If that is not in itself motivating enough, he wants to build his own prosthetic arm as and when he gets the time. The current technology we have is 96% accurate. We were, in fact, able to discover that one of our users had tuberculosis. Just by analyzing 3 days of data, we were able to help her realize her condition way before her body gave symptoms. Imagine what it can do in the medical field. Currently, they have partnered with NIMHANS and other medical institutions.
For those days when you feel negative thoughts pulling you down, remember this inspiring story.
A quick intro about Mudit Dandwate – he is an alumnus of IIT- Bombay, my alma mater and he loved making products from a very young age, which explains why he would build electric cars and race them in college. His second love, however, is his dogs. Mudit is the Founder of Dozee (Turtle Shell Technologies), a health-tech startup in which they have built a patented piece of a strip which is attached to our beds that monitor our sleep patterns, stress and sleep cycle among many other things to analyze and give us a health report each night. “We spend 1/3rd of our lives sleeping”, He says. “Health check should be so simple, that you should not have to do anything about it” is his motto while building his products.