Published: 12th April 2021
90 Rock! This Chennai man with five master's degrees just got his PhD. He now wants to do an MBA
Stanislaus earned his first master’s degree in 1978, when he was 47. Oftentimes, a lot of his teachers, including his research guide, were considerably younger than him
The bright sun that shines above the skies of Chennai is never kind to almost anyone. But 90 years may be a good enough time for Stanislaus S to have learned to withstand those callous rays. He is hardly five feet tall, dressed in a crisp white shirt and a pair of dark blue slacks. He wore a pair of well-polished black shoes with socks, a habit that he’s followed throughout his life. “I always wear good clothes and shoes. Being well dressed is very important. This prompts people to listen to you and help you out,” he sheds a few words of wisdom.
Becoming a ‘Doctor’
Slowly, yet confidently, he walked all the way to the main road to guide us to his house. We settled down on a chair in his living room big enough to accommodate a maximum of five people. Law books were scattered on the teapoy. He extended his arm to the side table to show us a bound copy of his PhD thesis. A few months ago, he was awarded a PhD degree by Acharya Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh, where he researched on the ‘Administration of Justice: Special Reference to Death Penalty’. Adding a ‘Dr’ prefix to his name excites Stanislaus. After all, he seemed to be someone passionate about earning degrees. He holds five master’s degrees — MA (Previous) Sociology, MA Sociology, MA International Relations, LLM and PG Diploma in Criminology and Forensic Science. He is now pursuing another MA in Political Science and tells us how he stays up until 12 am every night, studying.
But if you think that this will end Stanislaus’ student-life, you are wrong. He is not your regular next-door 90-year-old grandfather. “I want to do an MBA. It is a respectable degree,” he says. He smiles, revealing a few missing teeth in the front row. “I want to study all the top courses in the world. Education is very important,” he says.
On his own path
Stanislaus earned his first master’s degree in 1978, when he was 47. Oftentimes, a lot of his teachers, including his research guide, were considerably younger than him. While pursuing a lot of his degrees and diplomas, he worked full-time, took care of his family and raised his children. He studied all his degrees via distance learning, going to the university only to write his examination. He tells us how he had to put a pause on his education in the 1950s, owing to financial trouble.
The fiercely independent nonagenarian lives alone. His children live in different parts of the world. He travels alone, depends on no one for his chores, walks whenever possible and uses public transport almost always. He recalls how he travelled all the way to his university by train during his research days. That is one of the lessons that he wants to pass on to the next generation. “Never depend on anyone for anything. Solve all your problems yourself. In fact, do not listen to others. How will you even know that they intend to help you?” he asks, giving us some food for thought.