The title of this article says it all: Awesome Centenarians. These ladies and gentlemen are showing us that to be “old” can still carry its own excitement. Life for them is about enjoying the things they love best. They take the concept of happiness to the next level and they make their wishes become realities.
Here are ten centenarians who in their own way call out to us to live life to the best of our ability:
100-year old Indian bodybuilder Manohar Aich born on March 17, 1913 said at his birthday celebration ‘100 not-out’ and stressed on staying happy for long years. He ended his speech with this statement “bodybuilding has kept me healthy for 100 years, how can I stop that? Given a choice, I would want to become a bodybuilder in my next life as well.”
Aich no longer lifts weights but he continues to train for up to 90 minutes and still stretches after his workout. He accomplishes this at his own gym Studio de Physique in Kolkata. Aich’s diet consists of rice (along with other starches), pulses (dal), vegetables, fruits, mango, banana, jackfruit, and guava. Among non-vegetarian items, he likes to have fresh-water fish.
Manohar Aich was honored with the ‘Diamond Award’ in the health category by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the occasion of Sri Shanmukhananda Hall’s Diamond Jubilee and Golden Jubilee celebrations. The event was graced with 60 nadaswarams and thavil and performances of 60 violins for the week-long event.
100-year old British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, born on February 10, 1913 currently lives in West London with his wife and their daughter, his only child. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours. Slocombe features in a book entitled Conversations with Cinematographers (2011) by David A. Ellis, published by USA publisher Scarecrow Press. His many films as director of photography include the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again (1983) and the first three Indiana Jones films between 1981 and 1989.
101-year old Indian actress and choreographer Zohra Sehgal, born on April 27, 1912 has appeared in many Bollywood films as a character actor as well as in English language films and television series. In 2008, at the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF)-Laadli Media Awards in New Delhi, she was named Laadli of the century and the award ceremony was presided by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit.
Latest filmography includes Cheeni Kum and Saawariya in 2007 and latest awards are Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 2004 and Padma Vibhushan in 2010. Zohra Sehgal describes herself as an agnostic having been an atheist in her youth.
102-year old British marathon runner of Punjabi Sikh descent Fauja Singh, born on April 1, 1911 is a world record holder in his age bracket. His latest marathons are in the Hong Kong Marathon (10 km) 2012: 1:34 (raised $25,800 for charity) and the Hong Kong Marathon (10 km) 2013: 1:32:28.
In October 2011, Singh, a vegetarian, became the oldest man to be featured in a PETA campaign.In July 2012, Fauja Singh carried the Olympic torch.
Singh had stated that he would retire from competitive running after taking part in the Hong Kong marathon on 24 February 2013 (just 5 weeks shy of his 102nd birthday). He successfully completed the 10 kilometre run at the Hong Kong marathon in 1 hour 32 minutes and 28 seconds,and fully intends to continue running for pleasure, health and charity.
103-year old Italian soprano Magda Olivero, née Maria Maddalena Olivero, born on March 25, 1910 is of the verismo-school of singing. She was born in Saluzzo, Italy. At age 86, she performed Adriana’s monologue in Jan Schmnidt-Garre’s film Opera Fanatic. She made occasional singing appearances well into her nineties. The great verismo soprano, a friend and rival of Maria Callas, is reported to be living contentedly in Milan.
When in her early eighties, she recorded major scenes from Adrianna Lecouvreur; her always slender, rather reedy voice was reduced in size, but still guided by all the conviction, crystalline diction, and unfaltering legato that were her hallmarks.
104-year old British humanitarian Sir Nicholas George Winton, MBE born on May 19, 1909 organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. Winton found homes for them and arranged for their safe passage to Britain.
The UK press has dubbed him the “British Schindler.” To celebrate his 100th birthday, he flew over the White Waltham Airfield in a microlight piloted by Judy Leden, the daughter of one of the boys he saved. His birthday was also marked by the publication of a profile in the Jewish Chronicle.
105-year-old American woman Pearl Cantrell, born on May 8, 1908 recently revealed the secret to her longevity: bacon. Pearl Cantrell from Richland Springs, Texas celebrated her 105th birthday with more than 200 guests. The event lasted three days. When Oscar Mayer found out about Cantrell’s love of bacon, they sent one of their iconic Wienermobile to make a bacon delivery to Cantrell’s home. Cantrell rode “shot-bun” in the Wienermobile through her hometown, as dozens of local residents watched.
“I love bacon, I eat it every day,” Pearl Cantrell told NBC affiliate KRBC. “I don’t feel as old as I am, that’s all I can say.”
106-year old Australian woman Marjorie Hemmerde, born on May 7, 1907 and a 73-year-old man have found love in a nursing home, Australia’s news.com.au reports. Neither Marjorie Hemmerde nor her special fella Gavin Crawford expected to fall for anyone.
“We just sort of melted into each other,” Hemmerde told news.com.au. “We get along like old friends, the age gap doesn’t seem to matter.” Crawford said, “Marjorie is very outgoing and has good outlook in life.” He also told news.com.au that she is “always very cheerful and appreciative and we laugh together all the time.”
“I think we both have learned that life is far too short not to enjoy it,” he continued.
Neither lovebird has ever married before, which raises the question of whether Hemmerde and Crawford might consider tying the knot. It would surely be the wedding of the year, but—alas—it appears it isn’t going to happen.
“I’m too irresponsible,” Hemmerde told news.com.au. “I quite like living in sin.”
107-year old Chinese linguist Zhou Youguang born on January 13, 1906 is often credited as the “father of Hanyu Pinyin”, the official Romanization for Mandarin in the People’s Republic of China. In total he wrote ten books since 2000, some of which have been banned in China. In his old age he has become an advocate for political reform, and was critical of the Communist Party of China’s attacks on traditional Chinese culture when it came into power.
In early 2013, Zhou and his son were interviewed by Dr. Adeline Yen Mah at their residence in Beijing. Dr. Mah documented the visit in a video and presented Zhou with a Pinyin game she created on iPad.
109-year old Alice Herz-Sommer also known as Alice Sommer born on November 26, 1903 is a Jewish pianist and music teacher from Bohemia, and a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Herz-Sommer has lived in North London, United Kingdom since 1986, and is the world’s oldest known Holocaust survivor. Alice Herz was born in Prague, Austria-Hungary.
At age 104, Alice Herz-Sommer had a book written about her life: “A Garden of Eden in Hell.” At age 109, she still practices piano for three hours every day.
To all the centenarians out there seen or unseen, heard or unheard and known or unknown, we bow to you all and wish you joy and happiness. Your impact on society has been and continues to be phenomenal. We honor you as beacons of light.
This post concludes the series on longevity and productivity. Love and Peace!