July 23, 2021 12:58:54 pm
As the world battles the deadly coronavirus, with the elderly population being its soft target, a resilient Jalandhar resident, has emerged as the picture of resilience, staving off the virus with her solid immunity and highlighting the importance of healthy eating habits.
Basant Kaur, who had turned 98-years-old on January 1, 1995, according to her voter I-card, is perhaps one of the oldest women living in Punjab, and the country. A resident of Lohian Khas Town in Jalandhar district of Punjab, Basant’s documented records as of today put her to be 124-years-old. Her family claims that she is older.
Currently living with the fifth generation of her family, Basant doesn’t have any co-morbidities that generally come with old age and is an inspiration for many. With no history of diabetes or hypertension, she is healthier than most adults in the country today.
She has nine children (six sons and three daughters), of which five have passed away — her eldest son had died at the age of 95, around 7 years ago.
“Her grandson’s grandson is now 28-years-old and is now living in the US,” said Kulwant Kaur, who is the wife of her fifth born — Sardara Singh (72).
At 128, her family says that Basant continues to surprise them with her mobility, and clarity of speech and thought. With few of her original teeth in place, she speaks with clarity and conviction, walks a little, and bathes herself twice a day. She remembers even the incidents from the time of the Partition, recounting how the Muslims in her native village were leaving their houses to go to Pakistan.
“My four children and I went to my parents’ house in Nahl village, while my husband helped our Muslim neighbours find safe passage to Pakistan,” she told.
“She is hale and hearty and has never even gone to a doctor… the only problem she is facing at present is that she cannot see properly, and is hard of hearing,” said Kulwant Kaur, who is taking care of Basant, adding that the family was still contemplating whether to get her vaccinated or not because of her age.
Feeling blessed to have their mother at this age, Sardara says his family is the greatest gift he has ever had. “And my mother is the biggest jewel of our family,” says Sardara, who has a small business of his own. “My mother was very hardworking, she used to work in the fields, even till her mid-90s,” said Sardara.
The family shifted from Sabuwal village to Lohian around a decade back. Kulwant Kaur said that her mother-in-law often reminisces about the old currency, old times, old people and sometimes cries remembering her lost children and siblings. “Everyone wants a long and healthy life. I do too. But I have lost five children, all my eight siblings, and my husband. It seems almost as if God has forgotten me or has no place for me,” said Basant, following it up by asking her distant relative Aman Singh Lohian, who visits her quite frequently, if the lockdown was over now.
Ending things on a sweet note, Sardara talks about his mother’s fondness for sweets, stating that she eats biscuits for a week in the month, besan for another, and Badana for the third week, with tea. She also eats jaggery regularly, and has her meals only with curd. “She hates eating vegetables,” Sardara says to wrap up the conversation.
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