Those days, better nights

Today my mind trips back to previous year, when the surroundings were intense and the mood was ever fluctuating. Today my mind is tripping into good old days when the short term goals meant remaining of mock tests and sporadic turning-on of internet connection was just to check upon whether the checked answer sheet has been yet uploaded or not. Tonight, I am remindful of the nights that were spent in revising, practicing, planning and endless worrying.

Now it’s a matter of another couple of weeks for the mains examinations and I myself can still feel the butterflies in my stomach. I can go on for ever talking about these two weeks but given the restricted time that we have on both of the sides, I intend to share just a couple of lines which might help in keep going.

वृक्ष हों भले खड़े,
हों घने, हों बड़े,
एक पत्र छाँह भी
मांग मत! मांग मत! मांग मत!
अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ!

तू न थकेगा कभी,
तू न थमेगा कभी,
तू न मुड़ेगा कभी,
कर शपथ! कर शपथ! कर शपथ!
अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ!

यह महान दृश्य है,
चल रहा मनुष्य है,
अश्रु, स्वेद, रक्त से
लथ-पथ, लथ-पथ, लथ-पथ,
अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ!

Many of you might have already read this before, but I ask of you to sing it out loud and bold, the voice must come from within while, each of word being felt and spelt from the core of your self and highest of spirit.

I wish and hope you all do well and achieve what is being deserved and is aspired for. Good Luck!

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Reign Well

Exam is round the corner. But you once again re-scheduled the mock test for tomorrow as you thought that still you hadn’t prepared enough to take the test. Yesterday coaching sir didn’t say any encouraging words. Roommate has been able to attempt all 20 questions in GS papers. Last year topper asked for writing ‘exclusive’ answers but you are nowhere near in understanding the premises of word ‘exclusive’.

There must be already many of similar woes and worries running in your head. There must have come moments when you have felt that ‘you can’t take it anymore. Enough is enough’. Or, ‘what have I done to myself’.

If anyone of you is having any of it all or something similar, then I would say you are there where I had been once. No matter how are we doing, these negative thoughts sneak in through one of our thickest blankets of optimism, to ruffle up things here and there. It becomes natural of us to wonder endlessly to spot that one single thing which was missing in our answers last time, and if present then would have done all the wonders. I was there too. I myself used to scratch my head to seek that style of narrating my answer that would make it stand out. I used to practice the derivations for many a times to cut on my time of answering. I used to whine in front of my peers (whom I trusted and still do) that how awful I was doing in my GS2 or why I wasn’t able to make it a 100 percent attempt like them. Or at times, I would gather their answer sheets in the night and compare them with mine.

Those were the times when milkless-black coffee at night was a treat to oneself. And TheHindu used to be the first thing to wake up with. Those were the times and It was one hell of journey which I know I will never be making again. It was the sheer joy of learning and meeting wonderful people during it, that kept the spirits high and persistent.

Today when I have already changed the position, all I intend to share and ask from you is one simple thing; to smile through it all. To smile at every stage of this journey. Be it prelims, mains, mock tests or the final interview. Everyday, look yourself in the mirror and gaze deep into your own eyes and repeat with a broad smile, that you will do it. What may come, you will see it to the end. You will give your best in those each of 3 hours of examination. You might not know all the questions but still you will try to maximize your attempt with patience and grit.

Promise that you will fear the least and take the mains as an opportunity to express deepest of your thoughts and convictions with most beautiful arguments and facts.

Thus, just go out there and shine bright and high with utmost of confidence and self belief. Pour your heart out in that one week with finest of your words. You all are here for a reason, realize it – achieve it. Good Luck!

General gyaan

While preparing, I came across various tips and fundaes that somehow helped me in keeping track of things. Many of them may seem like bol bachhan, but the reason they worked might help in digesting them 😛 . Here they are:

Disclaimer: Many of these are not mine. I have come across them from various sources, but I would want to sum them up with my own take on them.

  • Don’t read 10 books 1 time, but read 1 book 10 times. Almost every topper would say so. I always picked any new reference book if I felt confident enough that I would be able to revise it during the last one week of exam. Because, revision is a key in this exam. There is already a lot to remember and retain. Thus, if we can’t revise in last days, there is very little chance that we will actually use the new information in our final answers.

 

  • This exam is about going beyond the books. ~ Vajpeyi Sir. I would say go beyond every written or read word. Invest your own energy in what you are going to study. Engage yourself. Participate in your readings/lectures. How? start making connections in your 3rd or 4th reading. Or ask questions before accepting what is written or suggested. For ex: an editorial might recommend full farm loan waiver – but ask rationally, can it be really done? or SHOULD it be done at all?

 

  • Always keep a balanced approach. Neither of extremes are desirable. For example India can neither stop investing in space programs for we have large number of poor people but simultaneously we also cannot ignore the misery of such people. We got to balance our resources so that none is sacrificed at the cost of others. So better be balanced. An administrator usually has good amount of discretion at his/her disposal so extreme viewpoints might reflect despotic personality and thus, would be eliminated in the exam process – if not in prelims and mains, but definitely in interview.

 

  • This Exam is all about the basics with a lot of clarity. The exam can be written well when the preparation is simple and the aspirant is very strong in basics with clarity. An officer would get to deal with various kind of issues in his/her tenure. Thus, knack of basic understanding of things might help in coming to the roots of problem and thus, solving it in a more efficient manner. So no need of complexity at any stage. Keep it well and simple and just understand the basics of things. For instance if an editorial is talking about Naxalism, try to understand what is naxalism basically, what do they want, why do they still exist after near 70 years of independence, why only in specific region of the country, international parallels of such a movement etc.

 

  • One can’t know everything. No one can. So manage it according to oneself. Also, everyone would have their own weak and strong points. Identify them, prioritize them and play around them. Build upon your strengths and improve upon weaknesses. Strengths can be essay or GS1 paper or optional or interview or economy and so on. But never foresake any topic completely, for we never know what might come. Thus, ensure atleast minimum in your weak points as well.

 

  • Sometimes our mind get’s choked and we feel saturated, if we keep on reading same subject, say Geography for too long. So in that case, leave it in middle and start something else, say maybe economy or polity. Thus, one can have a mix of topics in a day or two to break the monotony.

 

  • There will be own set of highs and lows in given 2 years of preparation; there will be usual frustration over any and many of things, say for as simple as ‘Why should I know how earthquakes are caused’ or ‘which soil is found in which part of the country’ and so on. In such moments of despair and anger, keep calm and just believe that whatever is there in syllabus it’s there for a reason. Try to imagine and wonder the cases in which you might actually apply this knowledge as an administrator… a DM in North East must know how earthquakes are caused or a secretary of agriculture would be required to know which soil is present in which part of the country. If this perspective would do no help in remembering but least it would alleviate mood and state of frustration for a bit. 😀

 

From InsightsOnIndia

First thing you should be doing is removing all pressures from your head. Become independent completely, from thoughts of making parents happy, revenging the ex girlfriend/boyfriend, becoming a local celebrity, saving India from the corrupt, and importantly from the thoughts of gaining huge prestige in the society.

Prepare for this exam keeping your focus on Today. List the things you want to do today and finish those things. If you are preparing for Prelims, let the focus be on it. Not on the day of final result where you are giving TV interviews.

Second, find a purpose. Yes, you want to be an IAS officer, but to prepare well today, this is not the purpose. If you are preparing for Main exam, then your purpose will be to make notes, or to solve previous question papers.Every day, find a purpose. And fulfill it.

Third, love what you do. Love reading newspaper, love writing something on what you read; love it because every day you are evolving into a knowledgeable and stable person.

I would also add the word Enjoy to it. I consider this years of preparation as a journey, and thus ask you to enjoy it. Enjoy the highs and lows. Enjoy the frustration and whining. For they will not be there for ever. So love and enjoy this process.

 

  • Save yourself from dark thoughts. Defeat the defeatist thoughts. Keep an upright and positive attitude. If want to hold on, read this: Desiderata
  • If even after this advice, if one begins to dwindle or thinking to give upon  or starting to re-evaluate the whole decision of preparing for services, I have one last thing to ask, just remember the start. Once recall the day or fine moment when you set your sails for this path. I had my own times of second thoughts but every-time I read the following quote, I was back on my plan.

” I can write more than ten pages describing various powers of IAS. But, Gaurav Dwivedi Sir, IAS Chattisgarh Cadre who brought about PDS reform in the state, nicely summed up all in one line –

” An IAS officer has the ability, opportunity and freedom to innovate and improve the life of a poor man. ” ”     ~ Varun Ranjan IAS

Do pardon me if gyaan seemed overstretched, but I had to convey it all.