Earlier today, I was having a look at pictures of a ceremony. There was a big decorated stage, a lot of people sitting in front, so many cameras. The ceremony was presided over by the Governor of the state, and hence a lot of government and district administration officials were present. In the crowd, there was a group of around 10 ladies, all very excited and at the same time nervous, about the event they were participating in. The average age of the group was easily more than 50 years, but the anxiety levels could perhaps compete with a group half their age.
Their excitement was special for them because they were the star attraction that evening. There was an added zing because the event was a convocation ceremony. Yes, a post-graduate convocation ceremony for a bunch of enthusiastic ladies who at this age had the conviction to finish what they could not do so many years back - to finish an unfinished task.
The pictures, and earlier the event itself that took place almost 2 months back, leave me with goose bumps. All thanks to one particular lady in the group - My Dear Mother! Yes, there she was, my source of inspiration for so many years. It was a dream come true for me, as much as it was for her. One person who has always stood by me, any time, any where. One person for whom words do not come easily in my mind. I have in the past attempted writing some rhyming lines for a few of my dear ones. But whenever I even think about making an attempt to write about her, my mind stops. Anyways, the intent behind this post is not to write paeans about her. No words or feelings can do justice to this creation of God. The intent was to focus on the conviction shown by this bunch of ebullient ladies. It was to highlight the fact that you are never too old to learn anything.
For the last two years of her student life, I could see her getting jittery before the exams, getting up early to finish her studies, sitting late in the night even though India was loudly asking some questions on the television or Kapil Sharma was entertaining some heroine. She was all nerves when the results were expected, and questions like "what will my grandson think of me if I fail?" forced a smile on my face. The best one was the reaction when she missed the top rank by a whisker. Right before the exams, the group of ladies used to exchange notes and there were a few who actually couriered her some notes from another city. Such was the enthusiasm!
Even at this age, she is excited about her new smart phone, she is curious to know about making online bill payments, she will make 10 attempts to take a picture of an official document she received at home to send a clean copy to me. Whatsapp already figures in the list of her downloads, she has been checking videos on Youtube, and I expect her to send me a friend's request on Facebook soon. Guess how interesting her recommendation for me on LinkedIn will look like.
All this reminds me of one gentleman who surprised me with similar excitement and eagerness to learn at an advanced age. Takes me a few years back, when I was doing my engineering and was staying with him. Preparing for the semester exams the next day, I was struggling with a difficult problem in thermodynamics. Beside me was this gentleman, equally engrossed in his thoughts, trying to finish answering his set of questions. He was almost 70 years of age then, doing his post-graduation in Sanskrit language, that too by correspondence. That day, he was answering the monthly set of questions, that needed to be sent out. He was meticulously going through the entire routine, forgetting about his food, even his daily dose of newspapers. One more source of inspiration for me, that day and today, for the enthusiasm to learn at any age. What I make of this inspiration is anybody's guess, and a topic for another day! This gentleman was none other than my Maternal Grand Father.
Someone will ask, what was the trigger for this nostalgia? Well, I was interacting with a bunch of fresh MBA graduates, who, having joined the corporate life believe that their learning is over, and now it is all about earning. This FedEx advertisement is my all-time favorite to share with these studs.
Two messages - Learning doesn't get over, whatever be the age! Learning doesn't get over, whatever be the educational qualification!