May 8, 2008


Posted in Education, Guyana, Philosophy, Poetry, Religion, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:41 am by randallbutisingh



This is an interview I had with two student doctors in the USA, who interviewed me in 2001 when I was 89 years old. — Randall Butisingh

Question; How have you kept your health over the Years?

Answer: My state of health is not fortuitous. Apart from being born into a strong, healthy family, I had a good start from babyhood. I was breast fed from for many months. My parents had a small dairy, and as a child, I was given milk fresh from the udders of the cows which were grass fed. I liked fruits and in my days as a child, we had them in abundance. I exercised a great deal during my life; I ran, I swam, I boxed, I played cricket, I did acrobatics. I remember as a child, I never liked to be a mere spectator in a sporting event. I always liked to be a participator. Throughout the years, after surviving all the childhood illnesses, except typhoid and whooping cough, which I never contracted, I believe I built up a good immune system.

Mentally, I improved with old age. At eighty-nine, I think clearer, learn faster and remember better. My eyesight has very much improved after cataract operations so I can do much reading and writing. At present, I read Oriental philosophy and Comparative religion. I read and write poetry. I am interested in music also and did some practice on the violin at the age of seventy-five. I started to play the recorder (German flute), only a few months ago and have acquired some degree of proficiency. I can also translate music to accommodate it on the recorder.

Apart from being a teacher, which I am all my life, with a few breaks in between where I garnered good experiences in other occupations, I am a learner . I learned shorthand and typewriting, Hindi and Urdu while at school and the Arabic Script after I was eighty. I believe that when one stops learning, he ceases to live, and it is never too late to learn.

Question: Whom do you admire most in life? How do you feel that influences you in how you live your life?

Answer: The person I admire most in my life is Mahatma Gandhi, the architect of India’s freedom. Although I never saw him, I wept when he died as many did all over the world. I have read his autobiography and several of his biographies. I have also translated a hundred page biography of him from Hindi to English.. His doctrine of love and non-violence and self-denial appealed to me. He taught that I can live comfortably on very little; while others are poor while being rich, because they are never satisfied. I can be rich without having much because I want nothing and can share from the little that I have.

Question: Knowing that you live two months in the U.S.A. and two months in Guyana, what are the differences?

Answer: I enjoy living with relatives in the United States. My physical needs are well taken care of, but I am pampered and dependent. I have, however, made many good friends here, ranging from early twenties to past middle age. I am a good teacher, and there is always something which I can teach someone, . Here I am exposed to the best programmes on television, to music, to art, (I did six paintings of sceneries at a class I attended), to philosophy. I can follow the issues of the day, be an armchair traveller where I can see the countries of the world in the comfort of the living room, can communicate freely by telephone and e-mail. Here I have all the time of the world at my disposal.

In Guyana, however, I enjoy more independence. I do most things for myself, including cooking and washing. I move around more freely with the friends I have there. I am in an organization that propagates Hindi. I teach Hindi, set question papers for the Hindi examinations, edit a Journal, write Welcome and Farewell addresses in Hindi for High Commissioners and Hindi professors, give talks at religious gatherings and correspond with the newspapers.

Students: Thanks!


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