At IFORHER, we are committed to bringing inspiring stories of real heroes, who are fighting their circumstances to create a life that they deserve. Here’s one such story of an inspiring woman, who never gave up on her dream inspite of her struggle.
At age of 54, she went back to college to live her unfulfilled dreams. At age of 61, she was living them. It is inspiring how she struggled but never lost her courage to create the life of her dreams.
“I’ve been working since I was 18– after my father passed, I had to take up a job so that we could keep our house. I somehow completed my education alongside and at 26, I got married. Jagdish, my husband, was a Merchant Navy Officer and would sail for months at a time.
So, between tending to the kids and working, my days went by in a blur. I loved being occupied– I didn’t know any other way to be.
But when my kids left to work abroad, I experienced the empty nest syndrome. By that time, I was the Principal at a school, but monotony set in. I was so used to juggling the kids, home and school that I began to feel restless. Upon introspection, I realised I wanted to study further and do my Masters. When I asked for Jagdish’s counsel on this, he squeezed my hand and said, ‘Go for it!’
So, at 54, me, a Principal entered the classroom as a student!
Everyone in my class was 20 years younger than me; but they were so welcoming. They even taught me how to use ‘LOL’– I find the word so hilarious I actually LOL. Each day came with a new learning, like this one time I was asked to make a PPT for my finals and I didn’t know how.
So Jagdish stayed up with me until 6 AM to help me– it was as if we were in college again. He was so proud of the end result! On the day of my presentation everyone applauded me, but Jagdish couldn’t be a part of it… he passed away suddenly just a week before.
My world crumbled. I was in the same spot 37 years ago when dad left us right before my BA finals.
But my classmates yanked me out of it– from sharing notes to chalking out a time table, they pulled me through. Even my colleagues extended my study leave.
I missed Jagdish deeply– I wish he could have been there to see me finish what we’d started together… because getting that Masters degree felt liberating! I knew he would have pushed me to do more, and I myself was hungry to study more, so I decided to pursue my PhD in Education!
I was back to student life– in fact, I even experienced the hostel life in Jaipur! Mess ka khana, chai breaks at the tapri, 2 AM maggi– I was living the stories I’d heard about from my students! But nothing tested me like handwriting my thesis; it ran into pages– by the end I had a swollen wrist. But it was all worth it when I submitted it.
At 61, I had completed my PhD! I came home that day to a name plate which read– Dr. Rajani Tanna! And then I celebrated with friends with some ice cream– kya kare, dil toh bacha hain ji!”