Ira Singhal suffers from scoliosis. Which means that her spine is bent.
Fortunately, her spirit isn't, and she was determined not to let her physical disability limit her.
The 31-year-old had first cleared the Civil Services Exam in 2010 and had been allotted the Indian Revenue Services (IRS). But the revenue department refused to giver her a posting because of her deformity and her height (she can't twist her arms because of her deformed spine and she's only 4 feet 5 inches tall). The official reason given was her "inability to push, pull and lift".
But even after the revenue department eventually relented, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) refused to give her a posting. But that didn't deter her either.
“It was a big disappointment, a major setback. But I decided to fight back."
"It was tough initially as I had to undergo tests, submit medical certificates and prove that I am capable of doing jobs entrusted to me in the IRS. For two years, it was tough but then everyone realised that I am capable of working in spite of the disabilities."
"They realised I am no pushover," said Ira, talking to the Indian Express in 2010.
She took the exams over and over again. The reason, she said was to ' improve her rank'. And this time when the results came out, the Delhi girl has topped the exam.
"I want to be an IAS officer. I want to do something for the benefit of physically-handicapped people," says a jubilant Ira.
"The Irony is that on medical and physical grounds, I am not eligible to be an IRS, a clerk or even a sweeper, but the rules do allow me to become an IAS." The sweetest moment was when her phone rang and it was the DoPT - who had denied her in 2010 - who called with a job offer.
Apart from all this, Ira has an MBA from Delhi University's Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) and a B.E. in computer engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT).
She has also worked as a manager at Cadbury India and has taught Spanish for a year. She is currently posted as an Assistant Commissioner in the Customs & Excise department of the Indian Revenue Services.