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Anthony Sebastiao Remedios

MAN FROM THE 19TH CENTUARY ( Picture by : N.Pingulkar.)

108 not out, 108 to go…!
Our Staff Reporter

PANAJI: 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.

He may 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.

Living 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, a parishioner.

Born in 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.

Five years 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.

He had 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.

But subsequently, his health has been stable. A doctor is called sometimes to check him up routinely.

What is 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.

“He 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.

Only recently, he started downing a small shot of brandy with some hot water. Says D’Mello, “He has a good appetite”.

Remedios’ 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”.

While he 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…” he says.

Bostu 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 108 years”.


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