What is to be living a hundred years or more? – This thought stuck me when I read news of an 111 years old person dying recently. I was wondering what she had seen in her life. 2 world wars, 2 pandemics, multiple economic disasters, global war on terror, dropping of atomic bomb, a near annihilation of species- thanks to cold war, multiple refuge crises, and many more disasters. On the bright side: Science & Technology made huge leaps leading to the rise of Computers, GPS, internet, mobile phones, tablets, AR glasses, Mass production of Cars, flights, and the list goes on. Same goes for the medical front too. All these happened on societal level or global level, but as an individual what kind of life she would have led. May be she was a private person born, brought up and died in same city/country, or maybe she was a wild traveler who explored the world, lived in different places and returned to her home towards the end. She might have been an active participant in social movements, helping the needy, having the back of those who are distressed. Or she might have been a radical who wanted to upend the existing social order and failed miserably. May be she wanted to be a rebel in her early life, but the humdrum of everyday life made her lead a normal life (whatever that maybe). May be she wanted to lead a normal life, but life took her by surprise and she ended up living an adventurous one. May be she had abundant love that she showered on anyone who needs it or maybe she was so deprived of love that she hated herself. Maybe she was a deep thinker who had crazy thoughts about the world she lived in but failed to record it for history. Maybe she was an artist who had innate talents, but failed to find avenues to express her artistic nature. Maybe she wanted to have dozen children and got what she wanted, or maybe she never wanted to have children, but ended up having one. One might ask, wouldn’t all these “maybes” be applicable to those who lived even 25 years? It might be, but their span would be so limited that they might not have gotten the opportunity to course correct. Does this mean this lady got the opportunity and did course correct? We will never know. Even she might not even have known that she is going to live 100 years. Maybe she outlived all her friends and families, making it miserable for her to live without them. Maybe she relished her independent life after their passing. Finally, I wonder at what stage did she realize that she had lived enough and was prepared to die. Or was she was in constant fear of dying? If so, when did she start fearing? Or was she not afraid of death at all, unlike characters in Woody Allen movie, who all consider death as their biggest fear? I started wondering, what all these pondering amount to? May be its trying to understand life from a person who had a long life. May be we cannot understand our life from observing others’. May be we can understand our life as Kierkegaard said , “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”. Did that person understand her life on her 111th b’day??.

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