Tag Archives: UPSC

UnOfficially Her – #nofilters

#1 Why Write? Why not Write?


People often flood me with questions and requests regarding “strategy” and “tips” to ‘Crack UPSC ‘ , to become IAS.  And with all due respect, I rightly refrain. Not because it’s some valuable trade secret that I’m zealously guarding, but because it is not one worth emulating for sure. UPSC was an experiment I did on myself, patiently testing my own strengths and shortcomings, one after the other. I have hardly been in the ‘UPSC Mode’, a dedicated 24 X 7 student, revising and re re  revising. Never giving up life nor its many celebrations, trials and tribulations on the go. Hence, my experiments with myself will hardly be of any help to anyone , rather will mislead and blur you with illusions about what to do/ not to do.

I am one, who dreads an “Instruction Manual” of any kind.

Nevertheless, if one can take away something valuable from it- it is being a Reckless Optimist, a Patient Believer who improved an iota each day and didn’t worry about how much time it took, also most importantly loving the journey with its kachcha and pacca roads alike.

Also, I believe ‘tips’ and ‘strategy’ is not the quintessential element for this exam. On the verge of sounding arrogant, I would confess that I hardly tried to befriend any successful candidate, hardly sought any advice. Thus, I strongly believe, it is ONLY YOUR OWN work and self-motivation that helps you get through. No advice/tips however valuable, can become your guiding lights.

Having said so, I would like to share that I used to browse for pictures and stories of LBSNAA, of hardworking Officers on the field, of what they did after they became what they aspired to be. And that surely made me work a notch harder.

Today, as I wake up in the morning, I look forward to the day- of the opportunities that it holds, of the risks that will come my way, of the people that I will meet, of the problems that I might help solving, of the little change that i shall bring in myself and in my surroundings. And I rejoice with gratitude- for there’s never been a dull day- either there’s storm or there’s sunshine.

So, I believe my journey now, may be of some value to someone looking for a little nudge to work a notch higher than they are. And thus I shall share small chunks of my life now and then, as I metamorphose into a different individual in an entirely different land, far away from my own family & friends, speaking a language that I picked up just as I turn 30 and evolving into a inconspicuous cog in the Public Service machinery.

My blog has been my constant companion in times that were tough and lonely. I believe most of us have a bit of what is called “Athazagoraphobia”, or the fear of being forgotten by the people. Some people aspire to leave behind extraordinary legacies , other ordinary folks simply try fighting their Athazagoraphobia, putting effort to remain relevant in this fast moving world. I am the latter and so I write, to satisfy myself that I am doing my bit for not being forgotten .

Also a very crucial DISCLAIMER. This is no attempt to showcase how ‘ Efficient, Compassionate, Ethical or Upright’ I am. I go by my work, with all my imperfections just like most of you. And this page shall just be a crude consequence of my fingers hitting the keyboard carelessly, mostly at midnight. All thoughts… unabridged and raw from the days that left some mark on me. There shall be no “Precious Takeaways” only plain experience sharing with #nofilters .

Yes-  No Instruction Manual. No Bottom Lines. No Filters.

Meri Mussoorie!

I had a Dream.
A ‘little-Big’ dream
which I wondered, Why had I ever seen?!

The dream was distant,
almost impossible to achieve.
And that was why I wanted to own it,
surrender all I could ever give.

The jolly days of youth,
the warmth of family,
the companionship of friends,
the fashion, the fervour and the trends.

I would choose solitary confinement,
and sleep on a bed of books.
Pages and pages would fly in my dreams,
Dates, people, places- uttered in silent screams.

I would look into the mirror,
and graying eyes would stare.
few strands fall on the floor,
a bald patch without hair.

Mortal fear gripped me by.
My dream could be stolen,
if I didn’t hide it high.

I hid my dream under the clouds,
and hid the clouds in the sky,
then hid the sky above a Hill,
and to hide more had patience still.

So, I hid the Hills in the Mists of Mussoorie,
and hid Mussoorie in the safest of safes.


This safe was my soul,
to breach it, the world had to take me whole.
Dig my grave and bury me in,
But I would still have my Mussoorie within.

After failing to climb the Hill,
to see the sky and cuddle the clouds-
I had immense doubts,
on self, on Destiny, on God.

But My Dream was so endearing,
That I started again enduring-
Pain, soul shearing pain.

Outcast by the world,
mocked by friends…
If sorrows have beginnings,
they also must have ends.

They mock and they will mock.
But I must meanwhile unlock-
the courage to Dream again.

Thought then,
I have hid my dream
in the mists of Mussoorie.
Someday I would go there,
although tired, beaten and weary.

And today..
The clouds have conspired to bring me here.
I have met my dream,
A dream so dear.


PS: 4th July, 2015. I was born again.
12th June, 2014. I had died a million deaths in one go.I had lost the cutoff by a single mark. I couldn’t decide whether or not to cry. The fact that I was so close, yet so far away…
The inertia of my innocent tears… They flowed while I laughed hard. They stopped at the back of my eyes, while I cried, wailing like a child. Like me, they were unsure how to act upon God’s Design.

After the heart break, I had never imagined I could ever post this piece. I had written it in 2012 and waited each single day, to find a reason to post it… .

That day, in the middle of midnight I wrote “The Loser”... https://resonner.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/the-loser/
” Who decides who is the loser?
Who decides whether there ever was anything to lose?
Yes the Loser, who will never lose again…”

Today,The Loser has totally Lost it!
The Loser has lost it all-
her anguish, her doubts, her self!!

Yes the Loser, who will never lose again- her Faith 🙂

No dream too distant…

Almost half a year gone by…when I had to relinquish all that i was passionate about in this world…except ‘that one dream’ which dragged me along this way…

The Day of Deliverance came and went …but the question mark remained as glaring as it ever could be… 😦

In the heat of the June Sun…squatting on one of the million  footpaths of Delhi…for not less than three hours that sunday…I was trying to figure out…”whether time changed me or I could change the time?”…

just 2 years back I could never imagine myself here…never crossing a street alone without panicking, never travelling places without biting off my nails…never fending for myself without grumbling about life….

But LO!

things change…and change they do…pretty fast!!!

Nibbling on the dry cake slices…trying to quell my rumbling stomach…I was nervous trying not to get nervous…

As I frantically turned the pages of my book…I was reminded of those days when daddy would stuff the pulaw into my mouth…rattling on formulas…

These breaks between 2 seatings of an exam would drive me nuts…all the more with tons of people around… pampering me with all their attention… 🙂

Now, there was no time to act jittery…no time to indulge in nervousness…

I was supposed to be a big girl and act like one as well… :P:(

I  couldn’t afford to cry…I couldn’t afford being a delicate darling…

I had to put up a brave face, manage a plastic smile….and epitomize nerves of iron …while the life changing moment awaited me…

There were some pretty sophisticated girls in there too…munching on sandwiches…enjoying the ac of their SUV…as I shook of the ants that fell upon me from the tree above…while I clung to the Footpath on the dirty newspaper…looking like one on a Hunger strike… 😛

But somehow it did not invoke even a tinge of sadness in me…I smiled at myself!

The day that I wished to live…would be the day… when I would pull down the window glass of my car to take a look at the country crowd…while they would consider me the raison’ d etre of their happiness and welfare….

and the day that is to get me this day, is the day I’m squatting on the footpath staring into this SUV…trying hard to see through the dark glass…thinking…”will that girl in there be able to make it to glory….will she see be able to see the burning problems of the people…never having tanned herself in the sun…”

Such a peculiar dream it was…it would lead me to a Crystal Palace ….but the pavement is full of shards of glass… and there’s only this one way…I’m not allowed any slippers ..nor do I have any iron feet…the only thing I can ask for and would be granted is an Iron will….

Now its time for me to choose…

But I want to go in…go in there desperately…coz if I dont..this dream would always remain a dream so distant, as painful when wide awake …as blissful when in slumber…. 😦

I will have to go…the Crystal Palace is calling me…

But so tough it is…they ask me “shed thy blood but never thy tear…”

And so I tread on…on shards of glass tearing my feet apart…but there’s immense pleasure…astounding bliss with each bleeding drop…and So I would never stop until I claim  that crystal throne in that crystal palace …”

…..The bell rung…time flew by…the bell rung again…

and I started walking…for one of the few times, knowing exactly where to go…fearlessly crossed d road…bargained with the auto-walla bhaiya..for every single penny…(earning and not earning had taught me the difference well !! 😛 )

Reached home…

Didn’t know how I had fared…and didn’t want to know either…

With every single moment…the anxiousness driving me crazy…i just wanted to survive with the hope I had borrowed from God..

It could be so..that I would be led to my Crystal Palace…It could be what I had long desired, It could be what I had long deserved….or it could simply be His grace…a miracle…

The rules are fair…but they are fairly tough as well…

It could be so..that they shoo me away rite at their doorstep….I might  have had trodden the tortuous path…I might have had shed my blood…

But they might say…I didn’t follow their rule…I shed my blood…but I might have shed my tear as well…

hmmmmm….a deep sigh was all I could afford to have….soaked in sweat, drenched with doubts…

But somewhere my heart said…”while worrying about the Life full of exams…I had somehow miraculously passed in the exam of life”… 🙂

I had learnt to be on my own…I had learnt to bear a frozen heart when things turned out exactly the opposite of what I wished for….I had learnt to burn in nervousness while braving the sweetest smile ever… 🙂

…I could see the crystal doors now…opening and closing at their fancy…

I could not see myself in there…But atleast I could see those doors..

I knew I wasn’t there yet…but I knew…it wasn’t far off either…and one of these days I was going to make it through that Crystal door….and claim that Crystal palace forever… 🙂 🙂

My dream may be distant…

but I am equally adamant… 😀

i have nurtured within me the patience to wait…

And i know …my Iron Will will change my fate…


No dream is too distant to achieve …

Only if you believe!!

Happy Independence day to MEEE!!

If you think you are going to find something about …”How India struggled to get its Freedom?…How efficiently have we been handling our precious Independence?…Have we flourished enough building Valuables..or building up  Values?…Have we been true to our state all this while..or have we made corruption as a core option??….Have we made Commonwealth bring pride to India or have we made Commonwealth the wealth exploited from common  people…..

Then …..I must Say SORRY…..!!!

Having made you read all this long…I want to admit I don’t know what’s happening in India…because I don’t know what has happened to me and why…So I remind you…on reading this you are not going to acquire the snapshot of India and its 63 years of Independence…But you may continue with your own fancy… 🙂

We had our Independence Day celebrations in Office…and it being India’s Premium Research organization… having the Minister for Science and Technology as its Vice President and Prime Minster as its President…we were expected to put up a great show…

Hot and humid as it was…I was getting confused whether I was nervous…or whether it was just everybody sweating profusely…as the ink from the papers I clung to… gradually began to fade away…

I had to compere the entire session… and sing … a solo and one in chorus…

It was just 40 mins that would suffice for all the show…as the Minister had to go…

So I began…the taste of Devnagri on my tongue and the melody of such pompous Hindi to my ears felt really great…I felt proud of myself… that I was doing all this …and that being presented to people  of such profile…

I would not say I did a commendable job…but yeah neither did the microphones….

But then filling in my eyes with the sight of a Minister who had graduated from Berkley …a highly Qualified Director General….. (all the while smiling at me)…and three top notch IAS officers…I said to myself…whether great..good or groggy..I would have to do it..because if I didn’t then nobody else would…. 🙂

And I held on…..

Well first time in the 11 months…we were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Minister…He whispered in a fraction of a second…You are running the entire Show?!…GOOD!…you sang well too…”

I couldn’t even smile back….had to run for compering the next event !! 😀 😦

So came the end…and the numbers dwindled away…I stood there confused as everybody gave their share of opinion…on what it was and what else it could have been…

The very people that I work in close association with said…It was too long…it lacked vibrance …It was too sad… you didn’t look glad…it was melodious but a bit too tad!!

In short BAD!! 😦

I knew it wasn’t so…as a bunch of people complimented me on how gracefully I had done Lataji’s  ‘Aye Mere watan k logo’..it being such a difficult song…some were really impressed at the way I compered and the contents of my script….some said I looked confident …and so on… 🙂

Well can’t say I wasn’t disheartened with the way people could play such great critics without ever caring for the other person’s feelings…I simply stood there gulping each word in…

The saddest part was people who said so were all those whom I face each day of the 7 day working week we have here…who knew how I was dragged to the office at 9 and came back home all withered and spent at 8…with the humongous task of compering in Hindi…last night…

I programmed myself to shield my sensitive heart…and told it…if it wasn’t worth appreciating…it wasn’t fair criticizing too…So my stupid heart just stop being so sensitive!!

We were taken to snack at the India International Centre to while away time as my boss didn’t have the keys to go back home…we were there..

On a call from Daddy…my heart again ailing …he was really down with a burning temperature for the past few days..He had come to Delhi..stayed at my place..washed all my clothes…stuffed my mouth with bread and Jam…as I typed an email for office…

On 14th He had a flight to catch up at 11:45 back home…and I had a meeting to attend at 10…So I had to leave him home with a hasty bye…to attend that really important meeting…

With the Dosa a few more words of analysis of Today’s show fought their way into me…as I remembered my Daddy…as I remembered how hard I had struggled last night…writing the script in Hindi ( ofcoz with tremendous help from one of my colleagues over the phone)..till 2 into the night…..

Who knows what worth it was !!

Then I decided what worth it actually was…hurrying through the dosa…

He said coffee for five to the waiter…and I yelled “ No a TEA for me please!!”…

I never was this happy sipping onto tea before…

Since Sept 15, 2009…I had loved the Coffee…I had loved the dosa…idly …and Upma too…I had loved to claim “YES SIR!!” as my favourite words…I had loved to see my puffy eyes doing both the horse and donkey stuff late into the night…I had loved to console myself…”a sincere try never fails…my work would certainly speak for me one day…yeah some day he would certainly utter my name first when he had ultimately remembered it…yeah someday I would make all of them happy……”     HUH!

But then I had forgotten…touching my pillow each night I should have atleast made one person happy in the day…either them..or me and that one person was certainly never them…and that one person certainly wasn’t me either!!

So…I sipped on delightedly as I formulated and engraved onto my mind…the decision of a long fought battle…

The glass doors of the IIC…shut behind us…stepping onto the sun…I gaped madly at the laal Batti on  Sir’s vehicle…as if seeing it for the first time…I smiled a smile…a smile that swung me off and onto my dream… 😀 🙂

I said to God…will you give me that one??….although Red’s never been my favourite colour…And Pink is what I like most….. But I would love to have this one in red….!!!! 😛

I sighed..some things/people have their value recognized…only when we come to know we can never have them again… But then…… SO BE IT!!

Got down from the car..there was an assortment of kids…all sizes, shapes and colours available…trying hard to put up an Independence day show for the Apartment residents…

Parents were lined up in the scorching sun…

I had nothing to do…Nothing here in Delhi..No Friends..no family..no kids (ofcoz) 😛 !!

So I stayed back..clicking on the camera..absent mindedly…

I could see kids perform…their eyes searching for their maa on the stage…mothers more anxious than their performer kids…

I could see children running back to their parents…who would then proudly say..how great their performance was…how sweet her voice sounded..how smart he seemed while he danced….

Which if one fairly judged was partly true and partly not….But for parents there is never any partly ….they are just entirely..entirely for their kids.. 🙂

I was reminded of school…of my Mommy who would dress me so aptly for each and every performance that I did….how she would drop me anywhere and everywhere I wished for with her zooming black Kinetic Honda…how she would yell at Daddy who was too shy to tear the crowd and step to the front for clicking my pic while I performed….

I missed them madly…tears flowed down my cheek…I had been yelling at my Stupid heart for being so touchy feely since the morning….I had calmed it down too…But these memories just broke me down beyond repair…

Suddenly the job…the life here seemed meaningless…

I opened the keys into my flat…the past 11 months had made me forget myself…my family… as if I had locked myself up and thrown away the keys…

I had forgotten how I hate to be so lonely…How I should miss home more often…so that I don’t miss life… and How I should respect my likes and dislikes as much as I did so for others…

I had almost forgotten…”How much I had loved to be myself…before…Before I earned this fat salary…”

While at school…money never filled my pockets…but Individuality and self respect filled my soul…

Having struggled in Delhi alone for the past 11 months had given me an illusion of Independence…of freedom…But I had never realized what a poor miserable slave I had become..trying to please those who were not even my own…how I had curbed my freedom…  my dreams….for the sake of others…..Shame on me!

Now I have all that money and all that money can buy…But I just couldn’t buy the ability to dream…the pride in being myselffree…fragile yet fearless!!

This Independence Day…I will buy myself some freedom..Shop for some expensive dreams…. that when I keep in my wallet will not let me sleep for the fear of being lost….and I would hold them dear…

I would give myself some Independence to be the one I have always been . This Independence Day….I would make myself realize how Independent I actually should be!!

I laughed to myself…as I unlocked the door…I will unlock myself today too! 🙂

I promise Daddy…I would get that one for you…I hope you don’t mind red..as you have always been colour blind!!

I promise Mommy….I would never grossly deviate from the way you had manufactured me Fragile…yet Fearless!!… 😛

I promise myself….I would never ever love the Coffee again… 😛

Hey!! Happy Independence day to MEEEEE…!!