101-year-old Dubai expat reveals secret of long life

Tehemten Mehta lives alone and does all his household chores himself


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Mon 1 May 2023, 4:06 PM

Tehemten Homi Dhunjiboy Mehta is not your typical centenarian. This Zoroastrian Dubai resident, who turns 102 on May 9, is a living testament to the fact that age is merely a number. He has no secret formula for his longevity other than long walks and staying away from all kinds of vices and excesses.

Living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina, Mehta remains self-sufficient and independent. He does all his household chores himself. Sometime ago he bought a home-cleaning robot, but the contraption is still lying in his packaging.

He's not one to shy away from a challenge either, as his sheer grit and determination helped him recover from a fractured leg and a nasty fall that put him out of action for several months in 2018. Despite his age, Mehta is still active and engaged with life. He renewed his UAE driving license until October 2023, although he has not driven since 2004, as he prefers using public transport. “The Dubai Metro is cheap and convenient. I use it regularly,” he said. "Else, I walk. Back in the days, I’d often walk from the World Trade Centre to Jumeirah Creek, but now I do it in the neighbourhood.

Born in 1922 in Kenya when it was still under British rule, Mehta's journey to Dubai started in 1980, when he moved to the emirate and worked as an accountant at a five-star hotel in Deira. He continued to work until 2002 when his age was revealed in a routine background check of employees, and he was asked to retire. But retirement hasn't slowed him down one bit.

The grand old man, who is of Indian descent, doesn’t follow the conventional wisdom that "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." He prefers to take his time and start his day at 1.30pm. After a refreshing cup of tea that he makes for himself, he spends his evenings reading or watching TV. He opts for a light meal, either at a nearby restaurant or a pre-made dish from the supermarket.

Mehta has never married. He has a younger sister in the United Kingdom (UK), but he dropped plans to relocate there after being mugged in London in broad daylight during a visit a few years ago.

“I feel safe in Dubai. There is no place like it anywhere,” he says.


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