At first glance, Virender Singh stands out. He does on the second too.
Sitting among young college students at a Delhi University event, Singh is waiting for his name to be called out and as soon as it is, he rushes to the stage. For a moment, it appears as if his age has caught up with him, but the idea vanishes immediately when he proudly holds a degree and poses for cameras.
At 62, he has completed his PhD, thirty-six years after taking voluntary retirement from the Army to learn something new.
Interacting with students at DU interested the retired Armyman and he says he learnt a lot from the young people there. Singh wants to share his knowledge with them and it helps when his daughter, too, is at Delhi School of Economics, pursuing her research in sociology.
"While I was pursuing my doctorate, my daughter was also studying in DU. We would meet in the canteen," the sexagenarian says.
Singh's wife accompanied him at the convocation on Monday, when he received his degree.
After his stint with the Army ended, Captain Singh worked with three corporate firms over a period of 10 years and completed his executive MBA from Faculty of Management Studies in 1988.
Then he entered into a business partnership with NIT and got into corporate training and mentoring youngsters.
"Due to my hectic corporate life, I could not devote time to studies but in 2012, I decide to pursue PhD and my topic was Organisational Pride and Performance. I had learnt about the essence of organisational pride during my stint with the Army," he said.
"I had always been a bright student and even in my graduation, I topped my university. Getting back to academics was not difficult for me," Singh said.
Her said he has recently ventured into organic farming at his village in Rohtak in Haryana.
Also sitting among the crowd college students was Narottam Singh, 48, who quit his government job as a scientist three years ago to pursue his masters in Buddhist Studies from DU, after developed an interest in spirituality. He had enrolled in 2016 for his masters and passed out in 2018. Currently, he is studying in Mysore where is pursuing his masters in neuroscience.
At the 96th Convocation of DU, where he was accompanied by his father, he was awarded a gold medal.
"I took voluntary retirement to study. My aim was not to get a degree but to gain knowledge. But it makes me happy that I have got a gold medal, which is a first for me," he said.
The former scientist did his graduation from Ramjas College in BSc(Hons) Physics and then did his Masters in electronics from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Studying at DU, Singh said he was referred to as 'Sir' by classmates.
"There is a certain problem in acceptance in India when it comes to students who are a little aged. Delhi University is still better," he said.
Singh wants to now pursue his PhD but only after finishing his Masters in Mysore.
"I am doing my masters in neuroscience because I want to find a scientific basis to religion and spirituality. I intend to do my PhD but it will be something different, maybe it will be an amalgamation of all the different subjects that I have studied till now," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)