Clad in a black suit and black robe, 77-year-old J Francis was all smiles as he walked up to the dais to enroll himself at the Kerala Bar Council on Sunday.
This Kollam native had earlier spent nearly five decades working in a number of government positions, until he retired as a Revenue Department Officer in the year 1995.
Eighteen years after he retired, Francis decided to fulfill his long-term dream of pursuing law.
In 2013, when he felt his four children were settled in their lives, Francis decided that he would now fulfill a promise he made to himself years before, and enrolled for a law degree at a university in Odisha.
He was the oldest student in the batch of 60.
â€śExternal professors who used to come for Viva Voce would be curious when they see a student who is older than themselves,â€ť says Francis.
Francis has grown used to narrating his tale to the many people who look up to him as an inspiration.
He recounts as he has done in the past, â€śTo be eligible for posting as a tahsildar, one needs to either have a law degree or pass a criminal judgement test. I began pursuing my LLB in Pune in the year 1987, and even passed the 1st year. But when my father passed away that year, I had to leave my studies and get back home.â€ť
Francis is looking to begin practicing soon. Age is no barrier, the 77-year-old reiterates.
If pursuing law was the fulfillment of a long standing dream for Francis, for 31-year-old Aravind Janardhanan, it was a huge leap of faith.
Aravind, a former Navy officer, began to study law in 2008, two years after a motorcycle accident in Visakhapatnam left him paralyzed from the waist down.
He was 21 at the time of the accident, three years into his job as a sailor in the Navy.
"I underwent treatment for almost two years after the accident. As someone who used to actively take part in athletics and other sports events, I couldn't imagine going back to the Navy and doing clerical work. It is only when you are bedridden and staring at your bleak future that you get the urge to do something," Aravind says.
Having joined the Navy just after completing Class 10, Arvind had to finish his last two years of schooling, after which he joined a college in Kalamassery in Ernakulam to pursue law. In July this year, he enrolled for a Masters Degree in Law.
For Aravind, who last wore his Navy uniform on the morning of his accident, the black robes of a lawyer come with a strong sense of achievement and pride.