Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rendezvous with different shades of life

I started this blog way back in 2011 .Much water has flowed own since and from a student of economics as well as UPSC aspirant , I now stand at a juncture where in I have almost more than 6 years of experience as an Indian Administrative service officer. Each day as an IAS officer has given me experience and helped me to have true "Rendezvous with different shades of life".
I am getting back to blogging after a gap with the aim of putting in words the wonderful experience and learnings which I have had in last few years.
I feel inking or expressing through words the feelings and learnings is intrinsic to giving true meaning to what one experiences.
I would share different theme based practical snapshot from amazing world of administration as well as musings as a normal avid learner from life.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I am leaving for the academy day after tomorrow .....As of now am excited, bit anxious ,bit Nostalgic.....Finally the "TRUE JOURNEY" begins..Since last few days I am really blessed to experience  the love and blessings that all my family members and especially my grandparents are bestowing me with..Its an amazing feeling to see that "happiness" in their eyes...and in the process am being pampered with delicious delicacies from NANNI's(my maternal grandmother's kitchen) each day...Each day each wish of their's make me feel that i have to shoulder my responsibilities nicely come what may! But today got one of the most beautiful BEST WISHES GREETINGS one could think of getting on starting  a fresh new sojorn. An old tribal lady has been coming to our home for some days now  and i have known her since like just a week ....and today when she got to know that am leaving for training ...she told me"didi acche se kaam seekh kar jaldi se ache se  Kaam kijiyega ....i will meet collector didi next yr"....In spite of me telling her that i wont be collector next yr but fr her IAS=collector....But fr me this is  a nice advice and a befitting wish to start my sojourn as civil servant...to give my best in whatever way i can to my service!!!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finally its time to start the true journey of Civil Services!!

It is almost time to pack my bags for “that one dream journey to a dream destination LBSNAA,Mussoorie”. Ahh!finally THAT moment is here….that journey for which I had always dreamt of …time to see “LIVE” the academy!!!!!!Ever since I made up my mind for UPSC , LBSNAA’s  (Google Image pics) were all that adorned my room walls, my PC/Laptop screen page and   THAT one picture of LBSNAA Gate  gave me true enthusiasm to keep moving ahead!!!!I remember the low points and frustrating evenings during the preparation phase of CSE (when everything seemed so weired,grey and my mind used to tell me “Bas karo abb nahi hoga”!!) ,I used to login on Fb to have a glimpse of LBSNAA pictures of fellow friends and seniors undertaking training there……ohhh!How  desperately  I used to wish that I was there next year and then jolted myself out of that chair with a determination to get a picture clicked of myself in same locations next year no matter what and to give my best to my preparations!!!!Everything then seemed like a dream ..just backed with a determination to witness it soon!When you literally live with a dream and a determination day in day out …over a period of time ,it becomes a part of you…so was it for me!Today when am actually heading to academy…am filled with mixed emotions..Really excited to start off with dream journey and life but also anxious of what lies ahead!That feeling that life is no longer going to be same again and that a life and a service full of challenges and responsibilities awaits ! Post 4th May,2012…each day seemed like a blessing and the innumerable felicitations, phone calls, random visits by all and sundry at home(to just wish me good luck and see me) ……every act was so humbling…I could not but thank God for blessing  me with each beautiful day in my life!But so much of wishes, so much of aspirations ……also brings with it “BIG EXPECTATIONS”…At individual level, I  would definitely try my level best to give the maxim to one’s service come what may….and would hopefully prove oneself worthy of all reposibilities.!Finally it is time to start THE TRUE JOURNEY OF CIVIL SERVICE !!!!

HAPPY 66th BIRTHDAY INDIA –A birthday Message from Indians !!

HAPPY  66th BIRTHDAY   INDIA –A birthday Message from Indians !!
May God bless you with Happiness and Success
Happiness- ( After all in 1750 AD you were the happiest country in the world(according to certain computations of Happiness Index in Economic History)and hopefully you would soon lead the tally of Gross Happiness Index gifted to you by your neighbor country ,Burma.
Economic Success(“Reflect a bit on your glorious history-You were the  world's largest economy during the years 1 AD and 1000 AD.Your share of world income collapsed from 26.6% in 1700 then became almost equal to Europe’s share of 23.3% at that time, to as low as 3.8% in 1952. Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th Century, “the brightest jewel in the British Crown” was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income.”Since then , you have come a long way and   wish that you return  to 18th Century glorious days and much more in present perspective!!!!
You were considered to be the “Textile Workshop” of the world in 18th Century…You did had a comparative advantage then in textile .Today you have comparative advantage in several other realms and  wish you realize you still have that advantage…all that is needed is realizing and developing this potential .
Social and Human Development Success-You are blessed with one of the richest resources….HUMAN RESOURCES!!!!!Develop it ,appreciate it and reap the “Demographic dividend”……You are positioned very favourably vis-à-vis several “aging countries”…Use this resource as a factor to accelerate your progress !!
May  you be blessed with the courage and determination to shed away the obstacles ofEconomic Inequality (one of your mammoth challenge and a malaise Inequality in earnings has doubled in  over the last two decades, making it the worst performer on this count of all emerging economies. The top 10% of wage earners now make 12 times more than the bottom 10%, up from a ratio of six in the 1990s. …add to it consumption inequality and your Ginni Index goes haywire!!!),poverty(no doubt you have come a long way since Dadabhai Naoroji’s poverty estimate to present day tendulkar’s estimate but still house a major chunk of poor people of the world ) ,illiteracy(In spite of big strides in making many Indians literate, you also house one of the largest number of illiterates in the world…..Education is pious..a true catalyst for developing the basic intrinsic human potential and a fundamental right .You need to take literal giant strides in terms of Education quality and quantity),malnutrition ,hunger (No doubt you have moved ahead from the days of 1943 famine and severe food crisis et al..but the very fact that many Indians are denied or don’t have access to food is truly a grave concern,add to it the women anemia and malnutrition and you are sure to feel you have a mammoth human challenge ahead of you and rightly so), low HDI and many other  challenges….faceit boldly and forge ahead ….You are positioned very favourably today…..Realise this and march ahead. We Indian’s promise you we would celebrate your  birthday party today in right earnest and with excitement and true fervor and our combined birthday gift would be that that  when  dawn will break tomorrow and our flag will flutter,whatever task we are doing in the interest of the country , we pledge that we will work with full commitment and dedication ,honesty and integrity and with a sense of pride and do our bit for our India !

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

She's CSE soujourn!

She was a little girl from a small city. She was  small in size but had big dreams in her eyes…..She was introvert and happy in her own sweet world. Her life oscillated between the school and the home. For her   this  was the meaning of LIFE and she was pretty happy with small yet beautiful things in it..be it discussing about a fellow classmate, sharing tiffin and at times chocolates…for her the teachers of school were the ideal…to whom she looked upto …..However, whenever she heard about big cities like New Delhi, London et al  …she was drifted in her own world of beliefs…in spite of the fact that she had been to some of these cities ..but her perception was very different…she would paint her own beautiful picture about the same…Tall high rise buildings, heavy traffic and smart people. She saw her city as opposed to this a very small, serene place where you could enjoy true niceties of life. As a little girl she could not understand the” paradox of cities “…It was not her fault ..she was just a small little girl. She tried to find the simplicity in life but very often failed in doing so… The true turning point came in her  life when she was a  secondary school student , she was introduced to the world of Civil Services Examination…That day,she had accompanied her parents to a book stall to purchase a “DISNEY COMIC” for herself but in stead she was fascinated by the cover picture of a CSE topper in one of the competitive magazines…the curious side of little “She” made her ask numerous questions about the same from her parents and finally ended up with a hard copy of the same magazine….she could not comprehend a single word of the magazine ….just the word IAS topper echoed in her mind!!!!!She was thus introduced to the world of CSE……Times flied by and whenever in class teachers asked “SHE” what does she want to be when she grows up….her confident reply would be “Mam, I will be an IAS Officer”…hardly knowing what IAS is all about….One day she saw a yellow light ambassador car  and was fascinated by it…curious SHE could not resist her temptations and in stead as usual asked about whose car was that….someone told her its “DC sahaab’s car” ……those three words made her ponder who DC sahaab was…and finally as a high school student she got to study about Civil services, IAS/IPS/IFS in her civics classes and her curiosity finally got its fodder…..She was now fascinated by the services and slowly started appreciating the beauty of the same …She became passionate about it and was determined to carve a niche for herself one day. Her parents started moulding her in a way that sooner or later she is definitely going to be an IAS…. But for a small city SHE ..it was definitely a big decision…..all her friends asked her to take a safe route to career…she however decided to take that holy dip of CSE no matter what!!!!!She then passed out of school and entered college….here “she” was bewildered to see how everyone was busy enjoying their college life while SHE was busy slogging day in and day out because most of the people had told her that SHE can compete in UPSC examinations only if she goes to delhi( and for that she needed to compete in certain entrance examination)….She studied like mad literally..often forgetting when she entered the college and when she left…She was living her first passion ….Economics and she did not care about the world…She was determined to make it to top universities in Delhi and shift there to start with her true sojourn of CSE……But it seemed destiny had some other plans for her….She in spite of her serious efforts could not get through any of the competitive exams …In spite of the fact that she was a topper all throughout her graduation days…She was disheartened…the gold medal was of no use!!!!Suddenly , she remembered that she had also filled a form for LSE….In fact her dad had made her fill the form and fulfill all the relevant formalities (which she did half heartedly as she was quite confident at that point in time that of all places and universities in the world …a university of the stature of LSE would hardly care to entertain a student from a non descript university of India !!!!) But she decided THAT DAY to check her email account and  browse internet for some other Masters in Economics opportunity…..BUT God had a plan for her……Her email account had an inbox message which was one month old and which said “LSE is happy to confer an unconditional admission to you in MSc.Economic History course”!!!!!!She literally jumped out of her chair….she did not know what happened at that very fraction of second…..life is definitely strange.She was soon in London…Quite naturally , she was in a different world, different culture!!! From a small non descript city She was suddenly a part of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan city -staying in a University hostel …she slowly became part of LSE student life…But “She” was “ She”….One day she got to know that Amartya sen was going to visit the university at 3pm that day….from the time she started appreciating “E” of Economics ..Amartya sen was her ideal…she would purchase Sen’s collection of books..even if that meant  spending huge amount and pre-booking!!!! She decided to meet her IDEAL and for that she went and stood before the conference hall from 9am onwards in spite of the fact that it was snowing badly and the event was to start at 3pm..!!!!She had a roller coaster ride in London, learnt a lot , got an opportunity to appreciate the nuances of world life …..she was a good student there as well and ended up with distinction in some of her papers….With a good academic score , she was soon flooded with Phd and job offers …She was confused, amazed and bewildered!!!!!She as any other person of her age was attracted towards these options…..she decided to consult her parents but she was told that it was she herself who will have to take the final call and she will get unconditional moral and emotional support for that..She spent a whole night thinking about it……It was then that the same competitive magazine that she got as a secondary school student with CSE topper interview….came to her rescue….her dreams were in front of her…she decided to give back to the nation and do her bit for it….very next morning she took THE DECISION and rejected all offers ….While flying back to India, she was full of emotions…she was the only one from her batch who was flying back to his/her country….but she was determined to ‘chase her dreams”….She was determined to serve her people ….today she was coming back to give and try her best..It was indeed tough for small “SHE”…As soon as she landed in New delhi , she went straight to Old Rajinder Nagar(the epicenter of CSE preparation)….She however, was very dependent on self study and she was not that comfortable with the way things were there in stead…so she decided to come back to her same small city from where she started the journey and give her best…when she came back..she faced several adversities..the London overhang , the desperation and determination to chase one’s dream, the incessant sayings all around that “yaha se padh kar koi kabhi nahi kar paaya hain “, the confidence and hidden aspiration in parents and grandparents eyes,the fact that her fellow classmates are now top shot economists, doctors and professionals….Ahhh!!! her mind was indeed in turmoil …and she finally decided to brush aside all these and do what she can….she started her preparations whole heartedly…she decided to try her best..no matter what….and finally on May 11,2011 …her first CSE result came ..she was AIR 640…everyone around her was so happy ..yet she was devastated..she was sad …..she had very high expectations from herself …her relatives started flocking at her place but she was stoned…she could not sense anything….she decided that as a punishment she would take up a job assignment of lecturer in Nigeria…she even mailed the concerned university..she decided to run away from everything. It was then that her parents stood by her as her foundations…they made her believe that “SHE CAN INDEED MAKE IT “…she just need to be back to studies!!!!it was just twenty days for the next Prelims and it was a completely new pattern which was being introduced for the very first time. She was however now determined that she will give her 100% this time and then see what happens!!!!Prelims passed away nicely and very soon after that she was back to her study table …….determined to carve her niche this time…..she indeed tried her level best and in the process she could pinpoint that she had  indeed faltered in her efforts in the first attempt. In the process her health deteriorated…she did not care for that…she was on “sattu” diet for whole month of exams …she still did not care for that as ell and finally  she passed the mains exam.Her interview went on nicely and she was expecting to make it to the list with some rank improvement. But again God had a plan for her! On 4th May,2012-2:38pm …she was informed that she indeed is an IAS officer !!!!!she was silent, full of emotions ..she did not know what had happened ….before she could think anything..she was flooded with TV interviews…that night she just prayed to God …”thank you God for taking me to a destination from where the real journey begins….give me the courage and the confidence that I can whole heartedly do justice to my service..Thank you”.

(She's in heading may seem odd...but i used it intentionally as i earnestly wish that this SHE here (me) is soon replaced by several SHE's  like me)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rendezvous with the “Gateway to the Northeast”

The curious side of me very often makes  me excited to explore an idea called INDIA much more …to witness the beauty of the country being unleashed before your eyes..Northeast of India has been one part of this subcontinent which I always wanted to explore. Last weekend , I got an opportunity to explore and visit Assam(the gateway to the Northeast) and Meghalaya.  As a kid I remember seeing the map of the country and trying hard to remember the capital city’s of these seven sisters of NE(I must admit though I could cram up all the ancient history books without saying “uff”..but i would never be able to remember the names of capitals of these states and would end up mixing them all!!!) Only capital city name which I could remember nicely out of these 7 states was that of  “Guwahati”…since then I wished to visit the place and after almost decades I indeed visited the city.Before leaving for Assam , I was having a faint idea about the place..i thought the city must be small  though green and slightly developed…..BUT…it was all a myth..The city in fact was really big, green and I would say by any standard nicely developed. Surrounded by the seven hills  and the mighty Brahmaputra, the city is so green(I would admit here that I myself is born and brought up in so called Green city-ranchi )but this city was so beautiful….its like cosmopolitan world coexisting with the pure green nature…a perfect example of what and how should the modern city be like.Where KFC’s coexist with dense forests, where traditions coexist with modernism!!!!The serene  beauty of the place was reflected in the nature of the lovely people who reside there…so innocent, so grounded..this can truly happen when you live with nature and not in conflict with it..My first visit in Guwahati was to the KAMAKHYA temple( a holy shrine for the Hindus) ...On my way to the Kamakhya , I could sense the spiritual beauty , that calmness and peace all over the place….The” REAL India “was in full bloom..where the “tantrics”, sadhus and the Indians and foreigners alike were flocking to the place out of that one faith …Real beauty of India lies in such instances where everything….diversity  of faith to the nth level intermingles and lives happily.. The temple visit was followed by a short trip to the “BARA PANNI”(Umiam Lake) some kilometers away from shillong.The drive from Guwahati city to BARA PANNI gave me an opportunity to witness another wonder of my country….hardly 5 kms enroute to Meghalaya from the Guwahati city ….a strange “ROAD MIX” exists..the left of the divider on road is Assam and right is Meghalaya!!!!!This strange mix persuaded me to see the ECONOMICS associated with it(in spite of the fact that I try hard not to mix economics with travelling…but that Eco thrill bugs me wherever I go)..the dynamics of economics was that thanks to that divider , there were array of wine shops on the side of Meghalaya(obviously relatively less taxation by the latter state govt is precussor to it…,,,these are instances when you feel (sorry for sounding like a economic bureaucrat) that govt should roll out GST as soon as possible… though Wine/alcohol would even then be on exemption list ..but this also hints indirectly at the fiscal federalism(independence of each state to have and earn its own share of revenue …Petrol pumps and price differences there on was another such instance….travelling through the muddy roads , I found large number of small industries thronging the route( and it was really nice to witness industrialization in such a landscape)…Rows of trucks loaded with coal on enroute from Meghalaya to Assam dragged me to think that no matter what.. natural resources from so far a region is really the catalyst for spurring the India story ..but  it also hinted at the fact that its high time we do think seriously about the alternative sources of energy. Those small wooden houses perched on top the hills amongst the trees and forests ,those little tiny tots playing football even on the hill top …the pristine beauty..that calmness…ahh ..it was a heavenly experience. (especially for people like me who is from the so called mainland of India with high density of population and where calmness ,peace and natural beauty are things of the past)….On reaching BARA PAANI (Umiam Lake)-, only word that I could utter was WOW!!!!the calmness of river in spite of the fact that it was" Huge ", that greenery all around…it was as if you are sitting in nature’s arms literally( it  taught me a lesson indirectly as well..no matter how big or successful you become ..its your warmth ,calmness and humbleness that needs to be maintained. )!!!It was like you are so close to her that you can hear and reflect upon your being , your self truly….I tried speed boating there ( I would reveal that I did have initial hiccups as far as water sports and boating is concerned) but that day it seemed as if nature had given me that unflinching courage to sit up and experience the ride…..i was defeating a fear of mine literally ..witnessing the beauty all around and felt soooo at ease( I could then sense that last few years of UPSC process had literally drained out every bit of me for I could not have appreciated such niceties of nature ever before)….I was refreshed!!!!On way back to Assam, we happened to drop in by a traditional resort there…located in deep woods, constructed out of woods itself ..and tastefully decorated with “Khasi” artefacts……As soon as I entered there , I was in my world of anthropology…..seeing the tribal world so closely…i.e ., witnessing the artefacts and the traditional food ….with the view of the BARA PAANI and the pristine blue sky, sun and the dense forests on the other side….what more could you ask for !!!! After relishing the delicacies , we were on our way back to Guwahati and here again I could sense that physical infrastructure development is key to growth and development….the tough and difficult terrain was having just a single narrow stretch of roads…and  it was decked with scores of loaded trucks and personal vehicles….this road was in fact the gateway to the NE and is almost the lifeline of the region…infrastructure development in such terrain is definitely a tough task but nevertheless needs urgent and immediate attention. Next day, I got an opportunity to interact with some of my young college friends from Assam at a seminar….On talking to them, I realized these young fellows were intelligent people ,sooo innocent , such pure souls ….and desperate to carve a niche for themselves. It was so heartening  to see the young demographics of the country so keen on succeeding, on marching ahead ….feels like nations development can easily bank upon this “YOUNG, ENTHUSIATIC DEMOGRAPHICS”( all my economic theories of human capital development was relived and relished)!!!!I was thouroughly enjoying my trip ….as I got an opportunity to see a city about which I had only heard about , met one of my mentors since UPSC days (with whom I had interacted only via telephone and internet but who was my true friend, philosopher and guide), and above all witnessed the beauty of the place. In fact, this was not enough , it seemed ,as I got an opportunity to visit one of my friend’s home..this visit gave me and my parents a snippet view of the beautiful culture and traditions of ASSAM…the simple living and high thinking sums it up perfectly. On my way back to the airport, passing through the dense green  canopy cover …..i was drifted into a world of mixed emotions and feelings….this was the same city that was once gripped in the hands of Insurgency and  I had read so much about the troubled atmosphere there…but today in stead the same city taught me several lessons for life..what simple living is all about, what egalitarian society means…how beautifully traditions, cultures, nature ,spirituality and modernity merges …giving way to a dynamic life…I would admit I fell in love with my motherland all over again….INDIA is beautiful…each state of her’s is unique…each experience of that state teaches you some lessons for life.MAA TUJHE SALAAM!!!!