Lifestyle diseases are wreaking havoc with the health of people these days and even young people suffer from hypertension and diabetes. In such a scenario, it would indeed be a big achievement for somebody to live up to the grand old age of 100 without being affected by these conditions. And Maryamma, belonging to Vyttila in Kochi, Kerala, is one among those few fortunate people.
Maryamma’s one-hundredth birthday was celebrated recently at St Raphael Church premises at Thykoodam recently by her eight children, 22 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great grandchildren. In other words, it was a get-together of five generations.
Surrounded by all her close ones, Maryamma was happy. Even though her children and their children were dressed colourfully in pink and gold, the ‘birthday girl’ wore a pure white, crisply ironed traditional attire.
Maryamma’s daily diet starts with a cup of black tea and rusk in the morning. A sweet lover, she also has a craze for prawns ‘ularthiyathu’ and pickles. She demands three spoons of sugar for her tea but does not suffer from diabetes. Maryamma also prefers some additional salt for her dishes. Even then, she never developed hypertension.
Hailing from Cheriyakakranchry in Mundamveli, Mary came to the ancestral house of her husband Koodarappally Mathew at Puthenpalam, Vyttila after marriage. She was 16 at that time. Maryamma and Mathew had eight children; four boys and an equal number of girls. On her centenary birthday, Maryamma was at the house of her eldest son Augustine, who is now aged 80. Her oldest daughter Baby is 82 and the youngest child is Joseph, who is 66.
Mathew passed away 54 years ago, when Mary was 46. At that time, four of her younger children were still in school. Maryamma worked hard to raise all her children, saw them get married and then helped take care of all the grandchildren. She was obviously pleased when each of them arrived for her birthday. In fact, they used to reach Maryamma’s house during her every birthday. Even those living abroad ensure that they are with the grand old lady on her special day.
Maryamma, who recognizes each and every member of the family, also has a sharp memory. She can point even the youngest kids and spell out their names and birthdays. She now has a wish. It is to celebrate the wedding of the fifth generation of her family.
Ask Maryamma about her interests and she would quickly reply, “Films and television serials.” She is an ardent fan of Mohanlal and has watched ‘Pulimurugan’ several times.
However, Maryamma is not a great admirer of present-day movies. “They don’t have a story,” she complains. So when some old films are shown on TV during odd hours, she keeps herself awake to watch them.