Age no bar

T.D. Krishnamachari. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Advertisements and advice from wise elders keep reiterating how important it is to plan for “retirement”; save enough to sit back and relax after years of clambering up the corporate ladder or a busy life in general.


But 75-year-old T.D. Krishnamachari would rather spend his days pursuing dreams that took a back seat while he went about the conventional routine. First stop after retirement from Lucas Indian Service (a subsidary of Lucas TVS) in 1998 was a Masters in Sanskrit from Karnataka University, inspired by his grandfather who was a Sanskrit scholar. Next was a M.A. in Vaishnavism from the University of Madras. “I wanted to understand my religion and its principle better. And this sowed the seed for a Ph.D.,” he explains. And the academic pursuits don't stop there.

He turned his attention towards a Masters in Journalism. “When I was a child, ours was the only house in the village to have a radio. Newsreaders like Poornam Vishwanathan inspired me. Later, I was also a newsreader with Doordarshan. Even now I only watch news on television; I do not like fiction-based programmes. So it was only apt that I took up this course,” he explains.

Having finished his first year, he is currently interning at The Hindu. “The news I read now is much more meaningful,” he says after understanding the processes involved in bringing out the news everyday. Though getting admission was tough, this class topper has faced no scepticism and at no point felt unwelcome. “I think it's got a lot to do with the HOD of Journalism Mr. Ravindran receiving me wholeheartedly. Even the teachers respect me, so I have the responsibility of living up to their expectations. Though people did ask, ‘why are you here?' they have only been curious and inspired. It's been pretty smooth so far.”

But one thing baffles Krishnamachari: “I don't understand how many people bunk classes and not even bother about it. The flow of the lessons is broken and I wonder how they catch up with what they've lost out learning in class.”

Looking ahead

Ask this one-time yoga instructor about his plans for the future, “I am conscious of my age. I like to take one thing at a time. When I finish with this course I will think of what to do next. I did promise my wife a world tour, so that may be on the cards next.” Or the MA in Philosophy that features on the to-study list.

Mr. Krishnamachari also works for the cause of the aurally challenged, and has been successful in acquiring a second language exemption for such children in school and making sure that the government provides one per cent reservation for them in engineering colleges.

After competing and interacting with “peers” two generations younger, this is what he has to say of them: “They have more access to information and knowledge. They have the ability to do things that others would hesitate to. There is a lot of hope riding on them and it's time for them to be on the saddle and bring about radical changes. But this has to be done with some responsibility.”

What is left unsaid, and for us to emulate, is the undying enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge and useful pursuits irrespective of age and sniggers behind one's back. If you have a dream, what's stopping you from going behind it?

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 5:48:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/age-no-bar/article2047501.ece

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