Age is nothing but just a number for her. Her achievement is reassuring for one and all, proving that it’s never too late to finish what you’ve started, even if it takes three decades to do it. At age 56, Lakshmi Susirani Guntupalli has made history by becoming Guntur-based NRI Medical College’s oldest female graduate.
She shares, “I completed intermediate in 1980 and settled down after that. Soon after, I was tied up with domestic commitments. But after raising my children, my brother suggested to pursue medicine since I already had the background. My husband and children also encouraged me. So I gave it a try and secured a seat through management quota at NRI Medical College at the age of 56.”
She also attended the same college with her son and it is an amazing experience for her. She also said “I got nostalgic stepping into a college after 32 years. On my first day, students thought I was faculty member and they were scared to talk to me. But later I clarified them and eventually broke the ice. My son (who was studying in the 4th year in the same college) and I used to go college together. But we never told anyone that we were mother and son; but those who came to know about it were very surprised. When I look back, I feel glad that I went to the college with my son.”This homemaker also adds that student life renewed her spirit. “The students there did not show any discrimination towards me because of my age. Once they came to know about me, we had great fun.” Lakshmi reveals “Initially, the director told me that the college was high ragging and that they were worried about how I was going to face it. But fortunately, I got away with ragging since many students thought that I was a faculty member.”
But, Lakshmi’s story is a lot more than just overcoming bullies- it is about insurmountable grit and perseverance. She elucidates, “My family members- father and brother passed away during my examinations. It became difficult for me to focus on my studies. Also, several people ridiculed me for taking up the course at 50. Waking up at 4 am and doing the household chores, managing the family and focusing on studies took a lot of toll on me, both physically and mentally; but my interest in studies just keeps going.” In fact she used to watch films like Dangal for inspiration.
To our surprise, her elder son Chaitanya and daughter-in-law Chandana also graduated from the same college few years back.