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Batuli Lamichhane based in Nepal is quite the remarkable lady. Her national ID card verifies her as being 112 years old (born in March 1903), but local villagers believe she may be older. Asking her what she thinks she replied:
“I don’t care how old I am!”
The brief time spent by our Nepal based correspondent Puskar, with an elderly lady who lives a simple existence; but has probably lived through some of the worlds key events and happenings over the last century. Ask her about Facebook, and she would not be able to tell you anything. The internet and most modern technology used is something she has never, and will probably never know anything about and maybe this is one of the secrets to her longevity.
Her life story is remarkable.
Many years ago her husband traveled abroad as a migrant to make money and never returned. Her youngest son is now 80 years old, whilst her other children have all passed. Her family provided translation and told us about her life story and it captivated us from its earliest beginning to the current day.
The first question that comes to mind when speaking to someone at such a grand age is what is her opinion regarding the secret to longevity? She is clearly very frail, and her hands show the signs of a life of manual labour. Her speech is incoherent mostly, but she communicates well considering her age. She simply exists very humbly; living in the open air with her only belongings being a satchel bag containing tattered cloth and some torn clothes. Did her satchel contain any clues to how she has remained even as mobile as she is at such a grand age? Is there an elixir that only her or this village in which she resides is aware of? We did ask; and apparently not!
The air is cleaner than most western cities, and she lives what would be classed as a rural, and organically sustainable existence. That has to help!
Following the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal earlier this year, the roof of where she lived caved in and all the walls destroyed and yet she refuses to live anywhere else. She quite literally sleeps under the stars. She still chooses to earn an income by doing small tasks for local villagers and then she gives away any money given to her to the local Hindu temple. She gathers crops for the animals as something she has always done and she has everything she feels she needs.
Within the hours spent with her, Batuli chain smoked at least 10 cigarettes. It’s a new vice she has picked up in her later years. That, and eating her favourite biscuits.
Batuli has actively participated in every election of Nepal, yet asking her about modern politics and she has an endearing apathy for the ways of the modern world. As far back as she can remember, she says that she has worked daily and she says this is one of her secrets to her longevity. She gave up eating any meat since the age of 100 and her diet now just consists of organic vegetables, pulses and rice but only in very small quantities. She has a routine of only eating after a cold bath every day, regardless of the weather or season outdoors. And she drinks fresh cows milk daily… and the kind of cows who are feeding on natural, open grass and plants.
Local villagers believe that Batuli is at least 114 years of age and they consider her to be like a living Goddess. Even the eldest local villagers recall her as always having been an elder person in the village even when they were very young. Regardless of how old she may be, and who are we to question it. In our opinion she is truly a remarkable lady as you will hopefully be able to see from our brief footage above.
During conversation, we still wanted to learn a little more about what she feels may be the secret to her long life and when questioned by our colleague Puskar she replied:
“You will all probably die earlier. People of this modern age have too much stress. And those who do not work or are idle in their old age won’t live long. If you study a lot and work hard, you’ll live a long life. And just be happy!”
Quite logical if you think about it really!
Special Thanks to our Nepal based colleague Puskar and to the local villagers in Nuwakot. A special mention to the family of Batuli for assisting with translation and also their kind assistance.
Music score in video is by: Kevin Mccleod