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Opinion Kashmir Singh Turns 105: Keeps God Close To Heart


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Kashmir Singh Turns 105: Keeps God Close to Heart
indiawest.com March 03, 2011 01:36:00 PM

BALDWIN PARK, Calif. — Kashmir Singh pointed to the skies and said his life is trouble-free. The secret to his long life, he added, is keeping God’s name close to his heart.

Singh’s words and thoughts should not fall on deaf ears, especially for those who seek to maximize the number of years they wish to grace this Earth, as the man from West Punjab celebrated his 105th birthday at the Garden View Post-Acute facility here Feb. 27.

Celebrating with a few local members of his family, Singh, who arrived in the United States in 1992, happily shared a Happy Birthday song with the Garden View staff and enjoyed some chocolate cake to commemorate the event.

Born in the city of Nankana Sahib before Pakistan officially became a country, Singh has seen quite a bit since his birth in 1906. Several events are obvious, such as the successful fight for India’s independence, two world wars, multiple financial crises, nations gaining and losing global influence, and the many advances in human technology from automobiles to the Internet.

Singh is even old enough to have witnessed the birth of Bollywood.

A former postal worker and farm owner, Singh may very well have his greatest pride in his family. Married by age 15, Singh went on to have eight children with his wife, who lived to the age of 93. They were married for 78 years and oversaw the growth of their five sons and three daughters, all of whom are still alive today and range in age from 58 to 79. Collectively, Singh’s eight children have provided him with 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

His two youngest sons were here to celebrate their father’s momentous event.

“His life was very consistent,” Singh’s youngest son, 58-year-old Tommy Walia, wrote in a note to India-West, adding that his father was punctual, calm and respectful of others. “He never touched hard liquor and never smoked. His hobby was to recite Guru Granth Sahib two times a day, morning and evening.”

Sharing a few thoughts with India-West, Singh spoke of the positive influences of his grandfather and how he left his home in Pakistan during Partition. Most importantly, he shared the simple wisdom of his long life.

“I have no trouble in my life; I have seen no trouble in my life. I have not made myself; God helped me,” Singh humbly told India-West. “I pray to God my entire life.”

Such a peaceful attitude in life was evident to the staff here at the Garden View Post-Acute facility, where Cindy Ayala manages social activities for the nursing home’s residents.

Ayala noted that Singh, who moved into the facility last November, is always upbeat and one of the most positive residents.

“He’s such a blessing. What I noticed about Mr. Singh is he is always so positive and says hello to us. He is always so humble and such a nice man, just a very good spirit,” Ayala told India-West. “The other residents always come by and say hello to him, and he says hello back. Everyone is excited for him because he is celebrating his 105th birthday.”

Fourteen-year-old Raj Walia, one of Singh’s grandchildren, vividly remembered a simple moment about six years ago that demonstrated his grandfather’s strength and thoughtfulness.

“I was throwing a ball in my house and it went behind the couch. He was sitting there and he asked me, ‘Do you want me to move the couch?’” Raj recalled. “I didn’t expect him to move it because he is old, but he gets up, moves it and gets my ball.”

Raj’s sister Tanya also reminisced about a moment she shared with Singh the day she left for college a few months ago, when the grandfather and granddaughter had a heart-to-heart talk about her decision to attend the University of California, Riverside.

Clearly, many more stories can be told of a man who has lived to see 105 years of life, yet the moral of each story shared on the day of Singh’s latest celebration tell us all we need to know: there is no great secret to living a long life and big things can be accomplished by maintaining a keen level of respect, humility, and simplicity.



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