I am 23 and after pushing it further and further for quiet sometime I finally confessed to my parents that I did not in fact wish to pursue the most “honorable profession” for Indian parents, the Indian Administrative Services. I was in ninth and after watching Rang de Basanti had declared to my family and friends that I wanted to become an IAS officer. Now, my family does not enforce anything on me but they were visibly pleased with my decision. So it was settled. Always interested in world affairs and national issues, by the time I passed out of school I had already started building a base that is essential for clearing one of the most difficult papers in India, UPSC Civil Services Exam. If given an option, I would have appeared for the exam right after getting twelfth standard but unfortunately they required a graduate degree.
“Fine!”, I said to myself, let me graduate in chemical engineering, my second favorite subject after history. So I did. All the while preparing for THE EXAM. In the final year it was a collective decision of my parents and I that if I fail in the first attempt I should carry on preparing in Delhi, after all that is the hub for students preparing for civil services.
Reaching there, in the hub, and walking by those offices that I hoped would one day be mine, I was fascinated. I was pursuing Master’s in Renewable Energy in Delhi. Now when I failed my first attempt by a very close margin (10 marks only can you imagine!) I did not lose hope and started preparing again. Only this time something was different. I looked at my notes and noticed something my teacher said and I had put in quotes because even then I was intrigued by it. The quote was very simple,
“Ask yourself if this is the best way you want to serve your country?”
I had been an engineering student for so long and I had done so well in this field primarily because I was passionately driven. I wanted to keep asking more questions and keep innovating and finding new answers. That was something that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve by becoming an officer and being made to work under some corrupt minister. For me sucking the marrow out of life meant researching more and more to meet India’s energy needs. So I decided to give up that goal which honestly sub consciously I had already given up when I started with my Master’s course. After putting it off for two years I finally told my parents. They were now visibly disappointed and couldn’t fathom what drove me to give up something I wanted since 8 years!
I know that that decision changed my life and initially I felt pathless but now I know that becoming an IAS officer would not have been the best way to serve my country and I am glad I flunked the Prelims in 2013.