UPSC aspirants from Kolkata script success with grit
It took over three years of constant and rigorous practice by Kantesh Kumar Mishra, a B.Tech graduate from Birbhaum, to finally secure 103rd rank in UPSC exams for 2014. He studied for at least 5 hours a day, while also working in the IT department of a public sector bank. When his friends would party on weekends, Mishra would spend his time studying and finishing the backlog of homework.
"Patience is the key and you have to stay focused. When you start thinking that the job gives you an opportunity to become part of the driving force in society, you feel the fire burning within," said Mishra. Mishra read at least two newspapers thoroughly every day which helped him to tackle history which he took as the optional subject though he was a science student. "In the civil services, you are expected to relate issues with people. What else can connect you with the masses and find the right perspective?" Mishra said.
There is no short cut to success for Angshuman Giri, who secured 132nd rank in the UPSC exams for 2014. "One has to dream and work hard with full determination," he said. Giri graduated as a telecom engineer and joined the telecom industry. Having failed to clear the UPSC exams twice, he quit his lucrative job in 2013 as he wanted to achieve his ambition which was to become a civil servant. "I identified my weaknesses and started working towards overcoming them. I had to work hard to improve my proficiency in history, international relations and essay papers. Apart from reading newspapers extensively, I would study for four to five hours every day," said Giri.
Sweta Agarwal, who secured 141st rank in the exam, quit her lucrative job in a multinational company to pursue her dream. "I had decided in my schooldays that I would appear for the UPSC exams. When I thought it was time, I decided to quit my job to focus fully on civil services exams," she said. There is no fixed mantra for success, according to Agarwal, who had sociology as an optional subject. "It is very subjective. One needs to learn from his or her own set of mistakes and keep moving forward with full grit and determination," said Agarwal.
Dhiman Barai, who secured 768th rank this year, pointed out how civil services exams were different from the other exams. "You can crack JEE or IIT at the first go, but that is not possible with UPSC exams. Generally, candidates need multiple attempts to understand the nature of the exams," said Dhiman. Dhiman, who left his job at a private bank to prepare for the tests, is a B.Tech graduate and an IIM Bangalore alumnus. "I started moulding myself. To develop an analytical mind, I read newspapers," he said. "I am fond of Bengali novels and it helped me, although I was not a student of literature," he said. Dhiman was one of the very few candidates who chose Bengali literature as an optional subject.