Anthony Sebastiao Remedios has literally bridged
the 20th century. Born at the turn of the 19th century,
the Saligao resident has seen the last one tick
by and is still alive and kicking in the 21st.
be a little hard of hearing and unable to walk,
but Goa’s arguably oldest citizen is not only
in good cheer and health but also possesses a phenomenal
passion for life at 108.
a quiet life with his daughter and son-in-law at
the foot of the hill in Molembhat, he is perhaps
unaware of the buzz in the village and the birthday
bash planned by his kin and parishioners for its
senior-most resident. “We will present him
108 roses after a thanksgiving mass at the house
on Friday morning,” says Joaquim D’Mello,
Salmona, Saligao on 19 March 1896, he did his schooling
in the village. Says Lucy Cordeiro, his son-in-law’s
mother, “He studied Primeiro and Segundo Grau
(in Portuguese) and migrated to the metropolis in
1908”. He studied up to fourth standard (equivalent
of eighth standard) at St Xavier’s in Bandra.
later, he left for Uganda in April 1913. He worked
as a clerk in a bank and later took up a government
job. He loved life in the African continent and
often recounts his experiences there. He returned
to Goa after his retirement in 1953 and started
a quiet life here. “He still receives his
pension,” says Lucy.
married Severina in Goa and had three children,
Napoleao (Canada) Dennis and Linda (Canada) from
her, and Ria Rina from his second wife Alina, who
died only four years back. He has 19 grandchildren
and 5 great grandchildren.
Soon after his return, he suffered from a cardiac
problem and had to be hospitalised.
his health has been stable. A doctor is called sometimes
to check him up routinely.
the secret of his life? His great grandchild Annmay
who spends a lot of time with him relays my question.
“Dreaming the whole night,” he says
jocosely. Jokes apart, he had no vices. His dietary
and other habits are regular -- tea at 6 am, breakfast
at 8 pm, lunch at 1 pm, tea at 4 pm and dinner at
around 7 pm. He goes to sleep by 7.30 or 8 pm. He
wants his food on time and his advice to the others
is to do likewise.
loves potato chops,” says Annmay whom he calls
`Ant’. He takes less of rice but eats more
of dry food -- bread and butter, biscuits, chips
and cake and half of a Moira banana at every meal.
he started downing a small shot of brandy with some
hot water. Says D’Mello, “He has a good
knowledge and zest for life amazes villagers. Says
Mario Mascarenhas, “He is an absolute storehouse
of the village oral history and I am yet to encounter
another oral historian like him. He has got dates
and events, and family histories”.
spends time sitting and sleeping in bed, he loves
to talk to anybody who is around. He often goes
down memory lane. Tuning to the radio for news and
music keeps him entertained. He loved animals and
had kept five cats a couple of years back when he
could walk. For exercise, he keeps moving himself
in a rotating motion.
For a man
who thinks every day is precious, his advice is
simple, “Keep on trying whatever you are doing…”
as he is known locally is not really tired of life.
He told a visitor to the house that he wants to
live 50 years more. When this reporter popped the
question, he said with a twinkle in his eyes, “Another