I still find it difficult to believe that I'm still alive. In my teens I thought I wouldn't live beyond the age of 40. In fact, during the brief period I studied palmistry (when I was 20), I found "proof" that I would be dead in a few years. It didn't happen and every day when I get up in the morning, I'm grateful to be alive.

Many people I knew in childhood and in school have passed away. Two close cousins died before the age of 70. I used to suffer from breathing problems and blocked nose until ten years ago. So there is no earthly reason why I didn't conk out years ago.

I really don't know why I've successfully completed seventy nine years. Perhaps it's due to the fact that I never took up smoking. I also stayed away from red meat and kept my weight under control (70 kgs). Plus of course I walk more than six thousand steps every day.

This year I'm spending my birthday in England, with my daughter (my youngest child). She's the one I like talking to the most, as (like me) she's read a lot. She persuaded me to travel this year, and I agreed, even though I hate travelling long distances.

So, if anyone were to ask me how I've managed to remain alive despite being "unhealthy" most of my life, I would answer that it's because I've been physically and mentally active throughout my life (besides of course having a healthy diet).