Theresa Sundarambal Thambuswami of San Thome turned 100 on September 24. And it was a day for her and her family to thank the Lord. Her relatives hosted a special birthday celebration on Sept. 23 at the church hall in K.M.N. Street, R. A. Puram.
Over 70 family members attended this special celebration. Alongside was her sister from Puducherry. Theresa cut a cake and the nuns of a local convent sang songs for her.
Theresa has been a San Thomite for ages. She completed her schooling at St. Raphel’s School and did a course in physical training at YMCA and went on to work for the P & T Department.
She retired as a senior superintendent at the Department. She is one of the three survivors of her family. Here two younger sisters Rita Lazare and Catherine Jayamary reside at Puducherry.
Theresa Sundarambal currently stays with her sister’s daughter Pamela Mahadevan in Malayappan Street, R. A. Puram. She is fondly called as Sundamma by all in the family, says Pamela.
At the centenary birthday party, seated in a cushioned armchair and sipping sweet lime juice she was in rewind mode. “I was one of the 11 children for my parents.
My father was the first Post Master General of Post and Telegraphy Department. He was appointed by the Europeans,” she says.
This is one sentence that she kept repeating.
“My father was posted in many places in India and we had to travel. I can speak Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, English and a bit of Malayalam,” she says.
Her drink in the morning is unique – a mix of egg and milk. “I have been taking this for many years,” she says.
“Sundamma has to take this drink early in the morning. I also think that this is the reason for her long and healthy life,” says Pamela.
“Till date she has not had any aliment or sickness,” she added.
Before she came to live with her niece, Sundamma used to stay in Custian Beach Road. Every morning and evening, she used to go for walks.
Sundamma has remained a spinster all her life but her family says she was a very stylish woman. Her accessories always matched her dress, says Pamela.
“I was a good swimmer and also loved boating. One coach called Buck at the YMCA was my mentor. She was one of the first trainers in Madras for women,” she says.
Horse racing was another favorite, she adds.
“I would watch a race carefully and if I felt confident I would bet on a particular horse. I always won,” she says with a smile.
“I was also a shopping freak. Whenever I had a guest at home I would take them for shopping. We would normally go to Moore Market near Central Station, to China Bazaar or to Luz.”
She says she loved the ride on trams.
“They were popular here in Madras during my school days. We were staying in Parry’s Corner at that time, and daily I would use this service. It would be slow and it was always an opportunity for us to sit and talk for long hours,” she says.
Her niece can be reached at 99628 74993.