UPSC is one of the most difficult and prestigious exams to crack in our country. And so of course, when someone makes the cut, it becomes a bit of a national celebration!
Which is why we thought this list of confessions about people discussing how they spent the day after cracking the exam is so, so relevant. Because what's a greater motivation than reading about people who have made it in a field you wish to make in too! So take a look, and read on.
1. I went and touched my father’s feet and he was like, "What the hell happened to you?" I just said, ”Ho gaya selection,” he jumped from his seat, asked my mother to come. She said as a normal homemaker, “Abhi kaam kar rahi hoon, thodi der baad aaungi” (I am working right now, will come later on), excited my father shouted again, “Chhod do sab kuch” (leave everything). She then came and I touched her feet and they both hugged me. By that time, my sister also joined joyfully. Fast forward, my mother asked me to shave, change my dress. Media people started coming in. phones started buzzing (I mugged up few lines like, "Aapke aashirwaad se hi hua hai (its all because of your blessings), aise hi aapki shubhkamna aur salaah milti rahe (may I get the wishes and advices from you always). Sweets, people, laughs, name on TV etc. was happening all around.
2. When the PDF finally came, my heart had relocated to my mouth. Even though I knew I'd definitely crack top 200, a Rank of 35 was unexpected. I saw my name in a PDF posted on telegram and my parents didn't believe cause they thought it wasn't authentic. The website wasn't showing it yet. People started calling incessantly and it was then that I finally realized that I had actually scored Rank 35. I couldn't stop shaking for a few minutes. After that I rushed to ForumIAS where truckloads of congratulations came my way. Initially you feel like everything is getting numb, people are congratulating but you think to yourself, "Why?" "Should I be excited?," Is it really happening? In my opinion I have still not fully digested this fact. It's not sunk in yet, because it's HUGE. People who haven't talked to me for a 1000 years are now calling and congratulating me. Rishtedars, who don't care if you existed before, are now calling up.
3. I hail from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and the state considers civil servants as next to God. The saying in UP/Bihar goes like: Agar upar bhagwan hai toh neeche collector. (A collector is an embodiment of God on earth). Needless to mention, I got a lot of media attention. I had given some half a dozen print and electronic media interviews that day. It was the first day since January 2016 that I was not reading a book or newspaper in the morning. My pet dog didn't quite like the hustle bustle at home since it was tied in the leash all day long. The house was flooded with relatives and well wishers. My breakfast, lunch was all about mithai and laddoo. The coffee tables in the living room were filled with bouquets. But the craze for attention petered out by noon. It was just family members by night.
4. I was working in Gurgaon in a High Frequency Trading firm during the time of result. The result was declared on a weekend (Saturday). So the Sunday was spent in attending phone calls and visits at home. Everyone congratulated me for clearing the exam in the 1st attempt and wished me good luck for the future. However, the day after was pretty normal. I woke up in the morning at 5, had breakfast, took the first metro at 6 AM, changed 3 metros, 1 bus and 2 shared autos to reach office at 9. The entire staff came to congratulate me. They were happy for my result but were also sad to let me go after a very short stint of 5 months in the office. During that time I was working on a project which involved writing C++ trading platform for NSE. However, the day was spent mostly in attending phone calls in one of the meeting rooms of the office. In the evening we had a small get together, where we ordered snacks, sweets and golgappas.
5. The rest of the 24 hours were just a whirlwind. Phone calls would not stop, people were congratulating me from left, right and centre. Neighbours came home with sweets, Facebook messages would not stop pouring in! The entire 24 hours just went in thanking everyone for their wishes. The best part though was the night of 10th May, when I finally slept the most peacefully, relieved and happy since Aug 2014 (when I had started my preparation)!
6. Everyone wanted a piece of me. The newspapers called seeking my personal details, profile pictures etc. I tried to receive every single call even though the conversation remained brief and crisp. My mother wanted to hug me. So we drove back to Srinagar. At my home, my relatives and cousins had arrived. It was a festive atmosphere. I felt as if I was getting married. Everyone hugged me. It was a euphoric moment. I was like a “mini celebrity”. My cousins were on cloud 9. Everyone congratulated me for making them proud and with this the day in a way ended. I thought this was it. But 28 April was a bigger day. At around 7 in the morning my sleep was broken by my mother. And within an hour the guests started to flow in. I was like this show piece who sat in this room with people staring at me. Every 5 minutes somebody came in and presented me with a basket of almonds and sweets. There were hugs and kisses all around. It seemed as if someone dead had come to life. Media started to come in. I spoke to a number of channels. NDTV, CNN, IBN along with many others. I was asked about my journey, the difficulties with people expecting “masala answers”. Unfortunately for them i had a non spicy response for every question they posed. There were relatives who hadn't spoken to me for 10 years or more and they came in and blessed me. Life was showering me with blessings from all the sides. Every moment was like a dream.
7. Firstly, I told my parents and friends. The news spread after that like wildfire. I had my near and distant relatives calling me and congratulating me. Some even claimed they were sure I am going to do great in life since I was in kindergarten. I chuckled. For around 2 hours I was continuously on phone so much so that my ears started to hurt. I got calls from many newspapers and news channels for my comments on my success. My Facebook wall was flooded with congratulatory messages. One news channel invited me for a live interview next day. Their studio was in Noida so I said it is a bit far away from where I live (Old Rajinder Nagar). So I would rather give a telephonic interview. But they insisted for a studio interview and offered a vehicle to ferry me to and fro to the studio. I agreed. Next day an Innova came to pick me up in the morning. That was the first time I went to a news studio. My interview was telecast live and one team of the news channel also went to my home and telecast live responses from my family. I could see how intimidated my parents were to be on TV but they handled it well. My sister Neha Jakhar, on the other hand was pretty smooth and confident on camera. Even my relatives from my ancestral village saw it.
8. Numerous calls, texts, firecrackers, TV, interviews followed. The joy I saw on my mother’s face when everyone was congratulating me was the best feeling for me. The next 24 hours passed as a whirlwind. People from our native place took pains to come and congratulate me as I was the first person to clear this exam from our village. I reopened all my social media accounts after a gap of 2.5 years. Neighbors, relatives came home with sweets and the lights of crackers continued. The entire 24 hours just went in thanking everyone for their wishes and blessings. At the end of day, when we were about to sleep, my mother was recollecting all the events that happened since morning and slept happily. As a son, that moment was the proudest one and I felt really happy for being the reason for their happiness.
9. I saw my name in the list and started crying. I called my husband who was in Mumbai, and told him my result came. “Oh, you didn't make it, is it?” “No, I got the 56th rank.” “Then why the hell are you crying?” He asked, puzzled. “I don’t know. I have no one around to even hug!” Then, I called one of my colleagues, who came home. I finally got to hug someone! And between all this, my mind constantly kept reminding me about finishing my 20 pages of Art and Culture! First 24 hours and how life changed: I have heard a lot of people get very excited. Well, I wasn't that excited to be honest. Nor would I call this a life changing moment. My life changing moments were much more profound and impactful than this. This is not to say that I don't feel happy, I do feel privileged! But I still feel that UPSC exam needs to improve and it should actually revaluate what it wants to measure. As of now, there is very little relation between the papers we write and the work we do. Those who can write good or insightful English are not the ones who will necessarily become good administrators too. Ethics, after all, is better practiced than written!
10. I let the result and the whole day's experiences sink in. With each passing moment, the day kept on becoming sweeter. And with each passing moment, the result seemed small while the prospect of fatherhood loomed large. I called my wife Lekshmy, my mom and all others important in my life and conveyed the message. Then immediately, I rushed outside and bought a red velvet cake. I had the words “Hello Mom” written on that cake. Then I simply waited for Lekshmy to come back home. When she came back home from office she was so happy she hugged me at the gate. It was a journey that both of us took together and it was now coming to an end. But when she entered our house and saw the cake with candles burning on it, she cried. We were about to embark on a new journey now. We were going to be parents and we both were now totally ready for it. The rest of the day went by as if I had won a lottery. We did not tell anyone about the baby yet, so everyone kept congratulating us on the results. Local channels started calling, friends and family kept calling and what not. I was the same person, but my life had changed. It felt great to be alive at 28 on that day.
How very beautiful. The happiness of achieving a goal so significant is clearly bigger than words can explain.