A string of visitors lined up Tuesday to meet Chinamoo, who claims she is 115 years old, one of the oldest in the world. The only proof she owns, however, is an election voter identification card, issued to her in 1998, when she turned 100.
On International Day of Older Persons Tuesday, people brought Chinamoo gifts, and a Bahrain-based organisation said it would build her a brand new home.
Local legislator and senior CPI-M leader Raju Abraham visited Chinamoo, and told IANS that though the Election Commission records say she is 115 years old, many of her relatives feel she might be well over 120 - making her the oldest in the country and certainly one of the oldest in the world.
"We have requested state Health Minister V.S.Sivakumar to see if a test could be done to determine her correct age. Unofficial records show she could be the oldest person in the country," said Abraham, who is the chairman of Karunya Trust that organised a function at Chinamoo's home to felicitate her.
According to her relatives, Chinamoo and her family came here from Thrissur six decades ago, looking for job.
"She has seen five generations, and in all they number above 140," said Abraham.
She worked as a casual labourer and made a living by digging earth. Old timers believe that this could be the reason of her good health.
"Chinamoo walks four kilometres to the Ranni town, and takes a dip in the river Pamba. She returns home after a little shopping," said Benny Puthenparambil, the Ranni Block Panachayath president.
The trust gifted her a water bed, while another business group committed to fund her family's basic needs for the next six months.
"She lives with her family in an old home. Very soon, she will get a new home, as the first instalment of Rs.one lakh for it was handed over to the trust."
"From now, we will see she gets the services of two qualified nurses, besides a doctor will call on her every other day to check her medical condition," added Puthenparambil.