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What a 100 year old Jewess, who escaped Nazi Germany, can teach us about Life...

  The 100 year old Jewess who can teach us so much

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The other day we helped Felice usher in her hundredth birthday. Elegant, stylish... revelling in some delicacies friends brought over... She oohed over art we gifted her... And social distancing be damned, swept us up in her arms...

She is and always has been a charmer... but she is more than that... For she escaped from Nazi Germany, migrated to  Britain, carved out a life in India, cares for a motley collection of animals, loves life, and dances with the divine...

Wealthy... But money is not her God.
Felice’s father was wealthy, by European standards... In the 1930’s their garage had an assorted fleet of BMWs, and Mercs. Backed by a flourishing industrial business, and legendary wealth. With that wealth any nation would have welcomed him with open arms. But even when the Nazi clouds roiled, he thought it was something that would blow over. Even late in 1938-39, he had the chance to go to Hong Kong. What will I do there? He had wondered and stayed put.

The daughters he however at the very end sent away. One would be captured and killed in a gas chamber. The other Felice escaped to Britain. There, penniless she had to take up cleaning jobs and then as jr exec in an oil company. Going from someone who had to lift a finger to have 4 maids do her bidding,  to earning a living at the bottom most rung could leave many bitter, not Felice. Her recollections are always marked with wry humour.

In fact, after the World War 2 ended, repatriations were being offered. She could have got a big slice of incredible wealth. Instead she turned her back on it. “I did not earn it”, she said. Money is not her king. Would I? Would you? It is not that she does not love life, or lives in penury. Before lockdown at 99, a week wasn’t lived without a trip for a 5 star lunch and a visit to a cultural do!

Hatred has little place in her heart.
Many who’ve had most of their family gassed would be burning with hatred. Not Felice. She relates an amusing story from the late 1930’s. Two Nazi officers showed up late at their mansion’s doorstep. And marched in with the express purpose of taking Felice away. As they stormed into her room instead of fear, seeing two handsome men, Felice smiled. Inexplicably the Nazis turned around and walked away without her. Her mother attributes their change of heart to her smile. But think of this, in the midst of hatred a smile worked.

Neither did she show any hatred towards her mother a German who had married a Nazi after the father had been captured and killed.

In the Middle East, simplistically, Jews and Muslims are dire enemies. But Felice has a healing touch there too. The helper who keeps her life moving smoothly is a Muslim.

Love of Life... Marks her Life.
Love of life and passion, are Felice’s hallmarks. Why come to India? Because she met passion and came here. But to her marriage is a dance not a mausoleum, so when life threatened to become a dull desert she left and found the real love of her life.

When we walked in on her 100th birthday she was in the process of demolishing a quiche!

Caring for Others... Love of Animals.
Felice has grace, and great charm, but God help you if you mistreat an animal in her hearing. Dogs on her street live a charmed life. And Crows. Each morning a gaggle of crows arrive and are fed. One a crow with half a beak torn off is a favourite who is hand-fed. And anyone who has feed birds by hand know how sharp a crow’s beak can be.

Intensely Intuitive... Deeply Spiritual.
Years ago, we were giving Felice healing, we had called an angel. She got the name of the angel. Its form and colour.

 

Felice N us

Felice has a hundred and one stories about talking to animals, foreseeing a robbery. Astral Travel. Divine encounters.

We have known Felice for close to two and a half decades. Till international airlines would fly her she’d have the most exotic holidays. Camel rides in Egypt in her 80’s braving 20 foot snow in Austria...

Charming Nazis and tipping her hat to Angels...  Felice is a light... And we are delighted to share glimpses of a great, and witty soul with you...

May we sum up Felice's Lessons for Life...

Don’t cling to earthly possessions.
Go where your passions take you.
See goodness... in everyone...
Try forgiveness...
Care for Others.
Trust The Spiritual.
Revel in Life.

  Love & God, Celia & Tarun Cherian
   
   
  Also Read: Blazing Till The End. Celebrating the Oldies who give us a lesson in Youth by Tarun & Celia Cherian, 2016