Ooty: Six generations of a Toda family decided to celebrate the 110th birthday of Rujjam, the oldest woman of the tribal community here on Friday, but had to put off the celebrations due to the death of one of its 230 members made up of her sons, daughters and 39 grandsons. While there is no official record for Rujjam's date of birth, the family says she was born on January 25, 110 years ago.
Ask the old woman what the secret of her longevity is and she says, "Ragi, saamai (millet), butter, ghee, buttermilk, greens, wild fruits, honey, good thoughts, a helping tendency, caring for nature, animals and my fellow human beings and an active lifestyle, working on farms, have helped me lead a long and healthy life."
She confesses her partiality for ragi , rice and saamai mixed with butter or ghee and eaten with fresh hill vegetables and for kadugu keerai (mustard greens).
Perhaps the pollution-free serene and remote Pudumund hamlet, where she has lived all her life, has something to do with it as well. Rujjam, who gave birth to 10 children, including three sons, has been almost bedridden only for the last three months.