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TT’s oldest person

BY HERMAN ROOP DASS Monday, April 21 2008

SUBHAGIYA SARRAN , of Phoenix Park, California, in Central Trinidad, may be the oldest person alive in Trinidad and Tobago. She was born on December 13, 1901, and is 107 years old.

When she was asked what was the secret behind her long life, Subhagiya replied: “Bhaiya (brother), I do not hate people. I make plenty friends like how people use to live long ago, and the Big Man above (God) always listen to my prayers.”

Subhagiya’s parents, Sarran Dhanai and Baoorie, came to TT from India as indentured labourers and were assigned to Waterloo. They had seven children, five boys and two girls.

When she was still very young, Subhagiya’s parents arranged her marriage to a young man named Sarran. That marriage produced nine children — Surujdaye, Jamaldai, Basdai, Soogrim, Balo, Deo, Bobby, Gulsin and Ramdaye. Surujdaye though died last year.

Subhagiya has 48 grandchildren and 60 great grandchildren.

Her husband died in 1975, just as they were settling into their new home in Phoenix Park.

Subhagiya now lives with her grandson, Ashley Lalla.

During her long life she has enjoyed good health until recently she was warded at the San Fernando General Hospital for some three weeks with a kidney ailment. She was discharged and is at home as an outpatient. Her daughter, Ramdaye, is taking care of her.

Ramdaye said: “My mother is no big problem, as a patient. She does whatever I ask of her and takes her medication at regular intervals.”

Subhagiya’s biggest physical challenge is that she cannot now walk long distances.

“As soon as I make a few steps I need support and help,” she said.

The very alert centenarian has vivid members of World War I (1914-1918) and World War II(1939 to 1945),

“We suffered plenty for food but we still managed to stay alive,” she said

Up to a few years ago Subhagiya worshipped at the Phoenix Park Mandir. However, she said: “I cannot walk to go there again.”

She thanked Bhagwan (God) “for keeping me alive for so long so that my life could be a lesson to young people”.

“If people want to follow me they must pray hard with a sincere feeling and whatever you do will turn out right,” she said.

She hopes that “my life will be a model for others to follow”.

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