'Iron Lady' of Kovai Dies at 117

Believed to be one of the oldest persons in the country, C Thayammal, died at the age of 117 at her residence on Theppakulam First Street near Flower Market here on Friday morning.

Published: 22nd June 2014 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2014 12:09 PM   |  A+A-

Iron-Lady

COIMBATORE: Believed to be one of the oldest persons in the country, C Thayammal, died at the age of 117 at her residence on Theppakulam First Street near Flower Market here on Friday morning.

According to her family, Thayammal was very active till a week before her death and never sought help from others for her routine.

Widely known as the ‘Iron Lady’ and ‘Patti’, Thayammal had seen six generations, including the family of her seven sons and three daughters.  Her family now has 186 members, including grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

Thayammal used to live on the first floor of the house, and used to visit other family members residing on the ground floor four times a day. She used to do all her chores by herself.

C Jayabal, one of her sons, said, “Amma used to cook, and wash her clothes without any help from others. Her ‘mantra’ for a healthy life was to live in a joint family and avoid oily food.”

“Apart from the one off incident of her undergoing a cataract surgery, she never visited a hospital or took medicine. In fact, she used to come up with homemade medicine for headache, cough and cold. Till her last, she did not have any problem in her ears or eyes,” Jayabal added.

J Nithyanandan, grandson of Thayammal, said that his grandma was a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes. The iron lady, as she is fondly called had a passport confirming her visits to temples in Sri Lanka and Malaysia with her friends four decades ago. 

“She once told us that in olden days, people used to fill oil in vessels and keep them atop small pillars along the roads. In the evenings, wicks would be lit for the benefit of late night travellers as there used to be no street lights then. She also told us that women used to rush inside on seeing Britishers mounted on horses in the locality,” J Nithyanandan said.

Though Thayammal had told the family to bury her body at the Athupalam burial ground along side her husband Chinnappa Chettiar, who died 36 years ago, the family could not carry out her wishes and performed her last rites at the Theppakulam residence on Saturday morning. The family members performed various abhishekams before cremating her.

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