At the grand old age of 102 you would expect to be lucky enough to just be able to communicate and do the most basic of tasks – with the freedom and ability to feel content and happy with having successfully spent just over a century on Planet Earth. Fauja Singh – also fondly referred to by his fans as ‘The Turbaned Tornado’ or ‘Sikh Superman’ – having survived many World Wars, witnessing the likes of Boxing legend Muhammad Ali at the peak of his career in real-time, and being around during some of the key revolutionary periods worldwide in politics, technology, science and now communication – he carries with him a certain content vibe and disposition we haven’t even witnessed with those a quarter of his age, let alone over the age of 100. Well described by the Sports Columnist from the Las Vegas Review-Journal as:
“a convivial personality… This old man was practically gregarious!”
Reading about him doesn’t do justice to the abilities and zest for life this man possesses – although if you read some of the achievements he has made during his time on Earth he is certainly worthy of the love and affection he attracts wherever he goes and all we feel regardless of his grand age. Having the privilege of accompanying Mr Singh to Las Vegas in the states was just that… a complete privelage and life-lessons-learning-fest from the very start of the journey to the finish. And not forgetting the amount of laughter… even at the grand age of 102, Mr Singh has the funniest sense of humour, and a child-like innocence that is instantly warming.
The project for which we traveled to Vegas was in conjunction with Gatwick Airport and British Airways airline who have recognised Mr Singh as the UK’s Oldest Jet-setting Traveller – which doesn’t stop now that he is even 102. He leaves for Toronto in Canada a week after having returned this week from Las Vegas where he enjoyed a well-deserved vacation and attendance at a series of local events. Straight after Toronto he will be leaving for India for another set of Charity runs which he remains committed to in order to raise funds for as many worthy causes as he can.
“If I stop running, I feel as if my body will think I am stopping. I get restless if I sit for too long, and I always listen to my body whether I am tired or whether I feel I can walk or even run.” says Mr Singh in his own passionate and gesturing style of communication.
“Although I can feel my body is getting weaker, I refuse to give up completely yet and so will remain listening to my body and praying to God. I have much more to do on this Earth yet and I want to carry on making my own small difference for others… and of course, I still love to travel so will carry on doing so wherever I get invited!”
Less publicized is the fact that Fauja Singh is one of the significant philanthropists of this world who lives within his means and gives away everything else for the benefit of others less fortunate than he has been in 102 years. He has no vices as such – but he does have a strong and surprising passion which is his love of clothes. Another unofficial title we reward him with is ‘Most Dapper Centenarian’ – a grand old + funky fashionista if you like.
You can check out a 90 minutes glimpse into what it is like sitting + conversing with Mr Singh – by the great Vegas-based columnist Ron Kantowski – a beautifully written piece which appeared on the front page of the ‘Las Vegas Review-Journal’ Sports sections, side by side with news of boxer Floyd Mayweather and his most recent win- all whilst Fauja Singh was visiting Las Vegas just this week.
If this short glimpse into one of the most Incredible human beings on Planet Earth doesn’t impress – how about knowing that as an illiterate man with no set qualifications – he has had the honor of lunch with the Queen, he appeared in an advert alongside David Beckham and Muhammad Ali and was the oldest man to be sponsored by Adidas – he also recently endorsed the benefits of a Vegan diet with the charity PETA – and of course, most importantly – at his grand old age he has run far too many marathons around the world than his age should allow him to.
The word LEGEND was made for the likes of this man… a true inspiration on so many levels, and his secrets are both logical and here for us all to learn from regardless of age or abilities. When asked about the secrets to his longevity, he laughs and simply responds that it is all in his mind and in his heart. He eats small meals of lentils and chapattis and sometimes treats himself to rice. He doesn’t do junk food, and he doesn’t eat processed foods or meats.
But as mentioned, it’s the unique disposition, his infectious personality and what he represents to the world which is what makes us love him all the more not just the many secrets he divulged during our trip and the ones I simply observed. More than everything else, it was his spirit and zest for life even at such a grand age that has taught us that anything is possible, and at any age… and we must never give up!
PHOTO CREDITS: Guavo Media / Gatwick Airport Press Team
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