Page 37 - ScienceIndia Magazine March 2021
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         tices. With the advantage of her long age and good health, she could revive many best practices that were in vogue in the pre-Independence era. She grew pulses such as butter beans, horse gram, green gram, cow peas, native vegetables such as flat beans, brinjal and ladies finger. Now she retains 2.38 acres of land; she has sold the rest as that is how much she is able to work on at this age.
She has been a stickler for perfec- tion and believes that she might not save
  Even at her grand old age, Papammal continues to work in her fields
much, if she employed farm hands. She, therefore is used to working on the farm by herself. Her extended family includ- ing her sister’s children help her in the chores. She would wake up by 3.00 am every day, have some fermented rice (pazhya soru is a traditional dish across rice eating cultures where left- over cooked rice is left in a bowl of water overnight and consumed the next day) with raw onions and fried dry chillies pickled in curds as a side dish.
Papammal attributes her health and her thick shock of white, healthy hair (which she bundles up with pride) to the native food she has had all through her life. Boiled millets such as Kambu (pearl millet), Kudhiraivali (barnyard millet), Samai (little millet), Thinai (fox- tail millet), Ragi (finger millet) are part of her diet, along with vegetables and greens. During her childhood, rice was a luxury, and was available to her family on special occasions such as the festivals of Pongal or Diwali. She also makes it a point to mention that for the last 50 years, since 1970, she has been having her food on banana leaf and that she
With the advantage of her long age and good health, she could revive many best practices that were in vogue in the pre-Independence era
believes is the secret of her health and long life.
Pappamal is happy with her achieve- ments but says with humility that it is just a coincidence she is being recog- nised as an achiever. The Padma Shri awarded to her this year is the crowning achievement amongst all. The people of the Mudaliar community to which she belongs, her village, her district and the Kongu region (part of western Tamil Nadu) are proud of the recognition she has brought. She had a personal audience with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month on February 24, at his invita- tion in Coimbatore and she blessed him for the service he is doing for the country and the world.
Papammal is 105, and is going strong.
*The writer is State Secretary, Arivial Sangam, Tamil Nadu state unit of Vijnana Bharati, and Founder- CEO of Green Wear India, Erode
 MARCH, 2021 SCIENCE INDIA 37
        Images Courtesy: Left: reditt.com; Right: Internet























































































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