A lady in my hometown, whom everyone in her family and the neighborhood knew only as ‘Amma,’ lived to be a ripe young 101 before she passed away peacefully in her sleep two days ago.
‘Amma’ was a popular, kind figure. At her age, a bent back would have been no surprise, but she walked ramrod straight, and had a hearty laugh that I could almost see originating in her slim belly! Amma taught me some valuable secrets of youthfulness and well-being. Here they are:
Eat less: Amma was vegetarian. Her favorite vegetable was cauliflower, which she liked to steam and season with a squeeze of lemon juice, freshly crushed black pepper and a little salt. She loved fresh fruit, nuts, and yogurt. Amma never ate leftovers, preferring to cook her food fresh and by her own hand. She never ate after sunset.
Learn more: So what if she did not attend school or did not know how to play chess? Amma loved to watch a good whodunit! She was fascinated by the stories her grandchildren told her—of the new advances in astronomy, for instance. She could hold her own in any debate on politics, too. Research studies have shown that keeping the brain sharp can slow down age-related degeneration.
Want less: People like Amma stay stress-free because they are not ambitious or covetous. Amma was not a ‘high achiever.’ In fact, she did not even complete school. But simple things such as a good bout of rain after a hot summer day delighted her heart.
Give more: Amma was a true giver—of care, smiles and happiness. Every winter, she would send blankets to an orphanage. The part-time maid servant who worked in their home worked in ours as well. She told me Amma paid for her children’s education. And every time I spotted her watering the plants in her front lawn, Amma would flash her lovely toothless smile at me.
I shall no more see that smile; but its radiance will forever glow in my heart.