Possibly the world’s oldest living man from India was recently found traveling unaccompanied much to the disbelief of the fittest flyers. 123-year-old Swami Sivananda’s solo international flight including a stopover at Abu Dhabi International Airport not only drove Netizens to google for maximum age limit to fly, but also made the Guinness Book recheck its world records for the oldest living person.
Recently, Swami Sivananda traveled unaccompanied on Etihad Airways from Kolkata to London and sent immigration officers into a shock at Abu Dhabi Airport where he walked through the terminal without any additional support, rather with ease during a stopover there.
Born in Kolkata on August 8, 1896 as per his passport, Swami Sivananda does not look even a centenarian. He seems to look 85-90 years old, according to the Abu Dhabi Airport staffs that were left in a shock on seeing his no-difficulty movement. The only record of his age is the register of a temple in Varanasi.
Unlike many senior citizens younger than him, he seeks neither wheelchair service at airports nor any travel companion on unaccompanied flights. ‘Far from the madding crowd’ of social media, he is not even aware of such groups as Travel Solutions for Unaccompanied Indian Parents on Facebook.
The immigration officers learned that yoga, discipline and celibacy are Swami Sivananda’s secrets to awesome fitness. After having lost his parents when he was only six, he has been leading a life of austerity. He traveled along the length and breadth of India with his spiritual guru before he found home in Varanasi.
The immigration officers also got to know about him that he does not eat anything but boiled food with a couple of green chilies and that he never consumes dairy products or fruits. He sleeps on the floor laying a mat and rests his head on a wooden slab instead of a pillow. What appears a life of renunciation to other people is a life of simplicity for him.
‘Earlier people were happy with fewer things. Nowadays people are unhappy, unhealthy and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot,’ he said. ‘I just want people to be happy, healthy and peaceful.’
In response to a host of Internet searches for “What’s the maximum age limit to fly alone”, Etihad Airways said, “As long as you are fit to fly, there really is no age limit for air travel.” In a communiqué, the airline said further, “We are committed to ensuring that all our guests are well-looked after.”
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s oldest living person is Kane Tanaka of Japan, aged 116 years and 278 days. Kane Tanaka was born in 1903.