Courage and determination are two strong elements to be a successful person in life.
When we say age is just a number we usually refer to people like Sivasubramanian, who despite achieving a successful career returned to fulfill a dream that had eluded him for decades.
Sivasubramanian, who now holds a master’s degree in public administration, was praised by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank who called him a “90-year-old youngster”.
Family responsibilities kept me from pursuing my passion for studies, but at 87, finally, that opportunity knocked on my door. After finishing my school in 1940s, I wanted to go to college but that meant either shifting to Trichy or Chennai. Meanwhile, both my parents fell ill and my relatives advised me against going because I had to take care of them. So, I got a job and started working.
Despite having to leave his education after finishing his 12th, Sivasubramanian rose through the ranks in his job and retired as a director from the ministry in 1986 at the age of 58.
He believed not being a graduate became a hindrance to utilize his complete potential and explained he kept on trying until he succeed.
I was offered an opportunity to be part of a programme in the United Nations. But since I was not a graduate, I could not go. During my tenure at the ministry, I even enquired about the correspondence courses available at Delhi University but then I was transferred and could not pursue them.
But even retirement did not provide him the opportunity to strike gold in education.
My wife was rendered bedridden when I was 87. I used to be by her bedside all through the day and my daughters would also come. One day, her physiotherapist said that he would leave a little early that day as he had to go to IGNOU to collect his form to apply for a course. I asked him to find out whether I could also apply. He found that age is no bar at IGNOU and then I enrolled for the bachelors’ course in public administration even though I told my children, ‘I do not know whether I will be alive long enough to complete it’. After finishing my graduation, I enrolled for the masters degree.
Fearing he might not live long enough to see himself become a graduate, Sivasubramanian ensured he completed his graduation in no time before enrolling for the master’s programme.
Sivasubramanian’s handwriting became a problem but his granddaughter offered to write his assignments and answer sheets.
I had completed my degree but it was only after a year that I received it. In that period, my wife was in her last stages and I handed her the degree and told her, ‘Finally, your husband is a graduate’. She passed away two days later.
Asked about what he plans next, the oldest post-graduate said he initially planned to pursue an M.Phil but later changed his mind.