With World Senior Citizens Day being celebrated on August 21, it is only apt to recognise the achievements of some stalwarts in the two Telugu states. These are men and women, who have excelled in their respective fields and continue to lead active and productive lives.
While many youngsters feel lazy to wake up in the morning, 96-year-old V. Sriramulu, a retired Naval Commander, is still leading an active life and bringing in medals for India at various international events. Sriramulu is all set to participate in the Asia Masters Athletics Championships that will be held in Malaysia from December 2 to 6, and is confident of winning a medal or two. Interestingly, he bagged a silver medal last year at age 95 in the 10 km Race-Walk during the World Masters Athletics in Spain. This time around, he will be participating in the 5 km Race-Walk, Javelin Throw, Shot Put and Discus Throw.
The competitions have taken him to various countries. “Eat less and exercise more” is Sriramulu’s mantra. “After retirement, I decided to participate in athletics and begin my second career,” he says, adding, “I wake up at 2 am and go for a one and half hour walk at around 3.30 am. I advise today’s generation to lead a healthy and active life always.”
A retired lecturer from Vijayawada, 73-year-old A.V. Subbalakshmi has proven her talent in national and international sports over the past few years, bagging five Gold medals and one Silver in various athletic and swimming competitions at the National Masters Games 2019 held at Dehradun, Uttarakhand recently.
Interestingly, it was only six years ago that she resumed swimming on the advice of her grandchildren, Sri Harsha and ASM Suchitra, who live in the US. Since then, there has been no turning back for this senior citizen, who is a regular member of the Andhra Pradesh Masters team.
Even though she officially started competing from 2017, she has won as many as 64 medals within a span of just two years.
More notably, even a range of health conditions has not stopped her from mastering swimming. “Age is just a number when it comes to living your dreams. Senior citizen women should learn swimming to recover from knee joint pains and surgeries, and must aim to become a winner in their field of choice,” she says.
A renowned name especially in art circles, 77-year-old Thota Vaikuntam captures the simple lifestyles of villagers in his paintings — mainly women with their omnipresent vermillion bindis, draped in colourful sarees that highlight their dusky skin, along with paddy fields, scenes of household chores and temple rituals.
The National Award winner says that he loves to visit art exhibitions and practice his art every day. “I start every day with some drawings and like going to exhibitions to see how the art scenario is in the city. It helps me to connect with people and improves my creativity. If I stay at home, I will probably go mad being alone!” he says with a smile.
Perin B. Dittia
The 91-year-old Perin B. Dittia is chirpy and full of life. Born in South Africa, Perin came to India after getting married, and finally settled in Hyderabad after travelling all over the country. One of the senior most members of the Parsi community in Hyderabad, Perin is also a member of the Zoroastrian Stree Mandal, Secunderabad.
A much-talked about chef of Parsi cuisine, Perin has also contributed to various cookbooks and food festivals. Sharing her outlook on life, the ‘gourmet granny’ says, “I have always believed that no human is perfect and that we are born to help others. That’s what I have taught my children too. We must devote time to others without getting jealous of their success. All this keeps me rolling at this age. I may not go out every day, but I have my own way to help and nurture the Parsi community.”...