It’s not every day that you get to hear of someone turning a 100, and still living a spirited life. But come October 8, and Manorama Rao, my grandmother who’s from the city with three generations under the same roof, will be hitting a century!
Born in 1917 in Madras into a Konkani Saraswat family, Manorama is a postgraduate in English Literature from Presidency College, and has lived through some of the most significant events in modern human history the two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Indian independence movement, the turn of the century and even the dawn of the digital age! Among the highlights of her life are having sisters Lakshmi and Mrinalini Swaminathan as schoolmates; listening to the speeches of freedom fighters and literary greats like Sarojini Naidu, Rabindranath Tagore, Nehru and Bose while in college; winning two gold medals for topping Madras Presidency in Literature; traveling solo to Europe and the US for the first time ever in 1969; meeting (now) Saint Teresa in Calcutta in 1990.
An avid reader all her life, Manorama’s hobbies include travel, gardening, knitting, coin collecting, bird watching, music and writing. She is also a linguist, who knows as many as six Indian and two foreign languages.
Manorama’s secret for longevity is keeping her mind active and the love and affection of her family and friends.
Barring some age related problems, she remains quite independent, and is able to walk, eat and dress herself. To commemorate the event, I, her grand-daughter, recently put together a project on Facebook, titled 100 Days to 100, a hundred day narrative of the grand old lady’s memorable life and times.
Here’s wishing the centenarian a very happy and healthy 100!