August 3, 2010 Dear Achhachan, When a batsman scores a hundred in a cricket match, we praise him to the skies; but when a man scores a century in the game of life, we simply don’t have words to express our admiration. Yes, Achhachan, you’re simply great! To reach a hundred years of age is not only a physical achievement, but a mental and psychological achievement as well. I want you to know, Achhachan, that I have long admired the discipline you bring to your life—the way you always get yourself to do the things you think you should do, and avoid the things you shouldn’t. I remember the occasion when Aunt Vidya brought those delicious samosas we all started raving about, but how you adamantly refused to take a single bite because you felt it would be too rich for your system! And everyone knows you still wake up at five every morning to do a full hour’s meditation. Though I gain knowledge in school, I gain wisdom by watching people like you.
From you I’ve learnt that the good life is a simple, honest and well-ordered one. And I know another secret of your longevity—your cheerfulness, sense of humour and your ability to look at the funny side of things even in the most grim situations. I remember when you fractured your arm. For some time you lay very still on the floor.
We ran hoping nothing very untoward had happened; but you opened your eyes, smiled through your pain, and remarked, ‘Don’t worry—I was just playing possum!’ Achhachan, may you live to be 150! We all want to see your name in the Guinness Book of World Records! Yours most affectionately, Chhotu