Aged 120, living on boiled food, rice beer – and loving it!

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS,

Rongmowe (Assam): At 120, she is one of India’s oldest women and Kareng Teronpi is still going strong, thanks to a daily diet of bland boiled rice, vegetables, and, of course, a regular bottle of moonshine to keep her spirits high!

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She looks frail and emaciated, is weak in the knees and almost bedridden for the past year. But Kareng is very agile – with near perfect eyesight and a voice still chirpy.

“I don’t know when I was born… maybe many years ago,” Kareng said with a coy smile. Incidentally, her eldest daughter is around 90 years old and stays nearby.

A resident of village Rongmongwe Sorpokathar in Karbi Anglong district, about 280 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati, Kareng, a tribal Karbi woman, is believed to have completed her 120th birthday.

“Based on details from our uncles and aunts and grandparents we have calculated her age, although we don’t have any birth records as such,” Docsingh Kathar, one of the many grandsons of Kareng, told IANS.

Kareng loves eating good food – rice, boiled vegetables, soup being her staple menu, besides a passion for rice beer.

“She requires at least two glasses of Hor (fermented rice beer). She relishes the drink. She is a vegetarian and never eats spicy food,” Kathar said.

The mother of four children, Kareng has seen four generations and the entire family consists of more than 60 people. Two of her children – a son and a daughter – are alive, while two others expired.

“She can recognise us from a distance as he still has very good eyesight,” a grandson said with a cheeky smile.

Kareng’s husband died some six decades ago.

Interestingly, the village is home to about a dozen odd people who are in their 90s. Some even claim to have crossed the century mark.

“I am nearing 100 and the key to my longevity is that I never ate tobacco or tobacco products, always ate boiled food with no spices, besides maintaining a disciplined life all along,” said Jon Kathar.

(Syed Zarir Hussain can be contacted at [email protected])