Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another Day, Another Wedding

It’s the season of weddings and yesterday I went to another wedding. The interesting thing is there are so many similar things about all of them. I agree that a wedding is a wedding but I am not talking about the rituals.

First is about the bride. I had known the girl for long. She was cute; she was simple, in a way a normal middle class Indian girl. But when I saw her on stage I could not recognize her. Her makeup made her look exactly like the Durga idols in durga puja. Natural color of the skin was nowhere to be seen.

Adding to it poor girl had to maintain an emotionless face and most of the time look at the ground. The only relaxation allowed was that she could smile a little with a special care that her teeth’s should not be seen. She played her part well and all brides really do.

Another was about the DJ. In our families this was a new entry some years before but not now. No wedding can miss a DJ. But they also invited the ‘shehnai wadaks’ so that the impression is both, modern and traditional. But alas, the shehnais had to play along with the DJ. They were at two different corners of the ground but the throat of the shehnai wadaks was no match to the 1000 watt DJ. When the bride came on stage, the shehnais had some traditional dhun whereas the DJ was playing ‘kahan teri ye nazar hai, meri jaan mujhe khabar hai.

One thing that frightened me was the liberal use of firearms for rejoicing. I never understood one thing. People fire the shots pointing the gun up. I always feel that at the place where the bullet will land it will hurt somebody. Is’nt that true?

Now the most important thing; the food. Believe it or not, for most of the persons, having dinner is the only duty they are required to perform in the wedding. So if you want that people should remain to watch some ceremonies, delay the food otherwise no one is going to watch them barring a few close relatives who have no escape.

The only good this about this wedding was that somehow three girls came to know that I have been selected in the civil services. They came to me and talked about this exam. I do not think I was able to give them any tips but it’s always better to counsel aspirants than watching the same weddings.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Mystery of Sweet Boxes

I am no Arthur Conan Doyle so don’t expect a Sherlock Holmes kind of mystery from me. My mystery is simply AS’s mystery, the kind of mystery which happens in our families, surrounding any interesting event, be it a marriage, funeral, or something of ‘relevance’ for e.g. getting a job.

But my mystery was different. It had actors which were unknown to me, unknown to each other. That made the case more complex. Now when I will tell you, you will say this was obvious but not to me,not to someone who is unfamiliar with the dealings of our society.

So what happened was, sweet boxes kept on piling in my house. There were kaju wali barfis, there were gulabjamuns, there were jalebis, there were those bengali sweets and what not. And the strange thing was they came from sources unknown to me, unknown to my family. People came with distant references or no reference at all and never forgot to bring a sweet box along with them.

I enquired to my mother but she could not give a satisfactory answer. I had a doubt that she was hiding something from me. When I saw a pattern I decided to solve the case. The only change from the past was that I was selected in a competition (now I won’t mention the name). But was that the only reason.

And then I got the clue which opened everything. Many of the sweet providers were asking my date of birth and not only that, even the time and place of it. So now I know. I am not that big a naive not to understand that these things are used for horoscopes.

You might not have solved the case but it’s my detective instinct that found that these sweet boxes were for marriage proposals. But for whom, was it for me, AS. The case was not that simple. On deeper analysis I found that I or my name did not matter. The proposals were for someone who was going to be an IAS.

Dear sweet boxes, all of you will be disappointed, but no, I am not going to disclose the reason :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Meeting Anurag Srivastava, the DM

(Lot of didactic stuff, don't blame me if you get bored)

This is not meant to be a joke. The present DM of Kanpur is in fact Shri Anurag Srivastava, IAS topper 1992 batch. He has done his B.Tech from IIT Kanpur and got through civil services in his first attempt by achieving All India Rank one . I got to meet him through a common friend of family.

The first thing that strikes about the DM house is its opulence. The house that was designed during British era can in no way be called humble. From the main road one can see signboards pointing towards the DM house. It is a huge house with a bunch of policeman at the gate.

At the allotted time we are asked to enter the office. I am awed by seeing the size of the office. It is like a big conference room. There is a big table and seats for visitors, not two, not three but at least thirty grand chairs. Later I came to know that the office is also used for press conferences and meetings and hence it’s huge size. There is a laptop kept at the table, a TV and a VCD player in a side of the room.

Anurag Srivastava is a thin man in his late thirties. I am introduced to him and he is pleased to know that we are namesakes. The discussion begins and first thing at which we are amused is that both of us got poor marks at the interview. He got 120(out of 250) and I got 150(out of 300).

After some trivial talk, I arrive at the real issue “Sir, I am going to enter the IAS, what advice would you like to give me" And now starts the real conversation.

He starts by saying enjoy your stay at Mussorie, learn all what you can, be it horse riding or firing pistols. Also, study the courses well; you may need them in your job. Do no think that your studies are over. You will have to keep reading throughout your life.

Quoting his words “IAS is the best job profile a person ever dreams.” One can get to work in almost any department. There is infinite scope of everything. If you want to bring development you will be able to do that, if you want to attack
Social evils, you can do that, if you want to get degrees, you will be able to get admission in the best universities worldwide, and if you want to be corrupt no one will be able to do anything against you.

But if you want to do good work, and serve the real goal of being an IAS never bow to any pressure. This shall be very difficult for the initial years of your service. Accommodate you must, but never at the cost of your principles.

His parting advice was "Don’t get lost in this power game. Give time to your family and do what you enjoy to do. There is pressure in the job but you have to manage it.

There is a life beyond IAS and enjoy that too.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Voice of the Nation

So Pratibha Patil, the present governor of Rajasthan, is the choice of UPA and left for the post of president. We may soon have our first female president. Sonia Gandhi and many others have called it a historic event.

The thing that strikes me is the focus is on ‘first female’ president. This has become her biggest qualification. Last time NDA brought Kalam and thus brought a ‘muslim’ president. Congress made Manmohan Singh Prime Minister and hence gave the nation first Sikh PM.

No I am not claiming that these things were parochial. I just intend to know does this really represent something. Have we achieved women empowerment after sixty years of independence and hence a female candidate for post. Does Manmohan Singh represent that minorities have gained equal share in development of the nation.

Actually the answer looks to be a no to me. Yes India is secular, democratic, providing equality to all and there is absolutely no doubt about that but somewhere in sixty years we could not achieve what we dreamt. There have been aberrations and certainly some big ones. The conscience of the nation and its people suffer from this guilt. It haunts us all and things like ‘first female president’ are like assurances that we give to ourselves that all is well.

To me this is not the voice of the nation but a chimera we intend to invent. The voice of the nation says fulfill the promises made to the citizens. Make India what it was intended to be, what is its true nature from centuries, an amalgamation, a land which provides home for all, whose main feature is its diversity, respect for all beliefs, race, religion, philosophies.

Till that day comes, we will be happy with things like we are going to have our first female president.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The 'Just Friends' Syndrome

There was this boy who loved a girl. And there was this girl who again loved this boy. Everything looked so beautiful and they were living in their dreamland. Both believed that life was beautiful till the boy decided to make it formal and said to the girl “I love you”. Kahani me twist, the girl asks this boy “Can’t we just be friends”. How was this just in anyway. Just!

I had to suffer because of it. Many of my friends suffered because of it. Most boys suffer because of it. I am talking here of the ‘Can’t we just be friends’ syndrome of girls, the dreaded words many boys are made to hear.

There was a donkey. And there was a farmer sitting on him. When the donkey stopped moving, the farmer hanged a carrot in front of the donkey with the help of a stick. Poor donkey kept moving in hope that he will soon be able to get the carrot. Someone in this story was a boy and someone was a girl, and there are no prizes for guessing it right.

Girls are never sure whether they want to commit or not. But they do not even let the boy move on. Their concepts of relative velocity are solid. They maintain a constant distance and ensure that the relative velocity is zero. You move one step back and they will come one step forward and vice versa. How can one have her cake and eat it too.

Someone please explain this to girls!

PS: I completely understand the reason why girls do not commit and they are fully justified. Its hard to love shabby boys and harder to consciously acknowlede it . The conclusion is I am no Male Chauvinist Pig :)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Great Indian Train Chat

You may not be able to make much sense of this blog if you have been traveling in AC/First class . This posting is for those whose main ally during train travels has been sleeper class and the enjoyable train chat that comes along with it. Most of the time I found myself incapable to participate in them but even being a mute spectator was a good experience. What I wish to do here is to recollect major topics that you will find in almost in any train chat.

The first and foremost is politics. People are always discussing who is going to win the elections, how much is the moral bankruptcy of politicians, how pure leaders were in good old days etc. The good/bad part in there is no dearth of ideas, I have found people supporting military rule and others praying for a leader like Hitler

Another is the national pastime; cricket. The common factor I observe is that cricketers need to be criticized. People form mutual cribbing society, I will criticize my favorite, and you crib about yours.

Now comes the turn of railways. How trains are getting delayed, what were the perfection of railways in good old days and the conspiracy of railway staff to stop their train to bypass some other.

Along with it there is population. People are never so concerned about population than they are when they see the crowd in trains. They spell the doom of India within years. The most neutral topic can be weather, for e.g. to start the conversation ‘Bahut garmi hai na aaj’. Many other come to my mind like reservation, scandals, great old Indian culture, movies, declining morality etc but I will leave them for the moment.

The beauty of these is they show me the real India, and its multiple colors. I can see India that is multicultural, its citizens who are naïve yet caring, people supporting Hitler yet crying in saas bahu sagas, people who are basically democratic, knowing the art of bonding with strangers, sharing almost same ethics and values. A journey in train can be a journey of the nation.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Favorite for Lifetime

This is something that had a deep impact on my life and the priorities I decided. It is somewhat old so you might have read it, but anyways it much more worth posting than any of my other blogs. Give it a try once:

Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement Address :This is the prepared text of the address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, who spoke at Commencement on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation.

Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course."

My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college. And 17 years later I did go to college.

But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK.

It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting. It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.

And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college.

But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30.

And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me - I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.

It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together. I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple.

It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that your are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure very thing is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes. I lived with that diagnosis all day.

Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now. This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras.

It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words:

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Male Dance Begins

So you are wondering what is male dance. It is the dance (or an activity which is different from normal) which males in some species perform to attract the females. You guessed it right, male dance is common in human beings too.

Even I have found myself performing male dance at times. More than the idea of attracting the females, it’s the behavior of other males around you which makes you do this.

The recent incident occurred in a meet of candidates selected in civil services organized by an organization which conducted mock interviews. We were nearly twenty peoples and as usual there was the skewed sex ratio, the curse thrust upon me since my engineering days, only four girls on sixteen boys.

I went with a friend of mine who got a slightly better rank. Complete one hour passed and we could not even claim a ‘hi’ with girls. The competition was tough and even the faculty seemed to be our competitors, leave alone the selected guys.

There was this beautiful girl; with a sunshine smile (other descriptions ought to be omitted for decency) who attracted the attention of nearly everyone. We could have never let the event pass without an introduction at least. The hierarchy principle was running high in our mind and if a guy, who was uglier than us (in relative terms), with a rank in two hundreds could constantly revolve around her, we having a rank in twenties certainly deserved our share.

So when the girl was leaving and this ugly guy still revolving around her, we decided to take matters in our hand (in other words perform the male dance). We said a desperate hi and once the conversation started, we were seeking all the information right from which place she belonged, which service she expected, what were her optionals etc. The competition even started between me and my friend that who can talk more to her. The guy with this girl was stubborn. He did not leave the girl even now. Though as Arjuna, we concentrated only on the girl completely ignoring the guy.

Someone reintroduced us four to another faculty and we discovered that this guy and that girl had the same surname. I missed even this but my friend who claims to have more experience in these matters felt something wrong. He asked the guy if the girl was his sister or a relative. To the embarrassment of all of us he said aloud “No! we are going to get married soon.”

Well, that is life. We salvaged our image after that as much as we could by talking only with the guy about his marriage plans, and pretending that we were so excited by their plans. After that I had a deep regret that I also performed the male dance, and as usual failed miserably. I console myself by thinking it’s the human gene that is to blame and not me.

God! You created an unfair world.

PS: If the couple concerned is reading this, please pardon me and understand that I had to take some liberties with the incident to make the blog interesting.

I also want to state to all those reading that there is a good element of imagination in this, so do not let this post degrade my image :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


What is the role of luck in life vis a vis a person’s karma. Some say that luck is the most important factor in anyone’s success while many believe that it’s a person’s efforts that decide the outcome. I found two very interesting explanations of this which cleared my understanding.

Life is like a game of bridge. The cards you get is your destiny but how you play is your karma. A person with good cards may spoil his game and vice versa. So in a way it’s a mixture of both.

Another explanation was that we are like an animal bounded by a rope in his neck. The animal cannot go beyond the limits of rope but in order to find out what his limits are he will have to do his karma.

Though at the risk of sounding didactic, I will say that all have to do their efforts to succeed. For success in UPSC I will say you need to be both hard working and lucky :). After all this speculation, I bow before Gita:

“Karmanyevadhikaraste Ma Faleshu Kadachana”

Sunday, June 03, 2007


No, I am not going to crib about my relatives. They love me a lot and they are highly appreciative that I got selected in IAS with a good rank. This article is about some distant relatives and friends of family. I haven’t ever met many of them but now I have no escape as I am free and they are also much more eager to call me.

I visited many distant relatives for the first time. Yes I have been a good student throughout, a got a merit in boards went to IIT, then cleared IAS (agreed, enough of boasting) but that does not mean I don’t respect anyone. It has now nearly become a rule that everyone presents his and his family’s CV to me. I come to know what degrees they received, how many of their near and dears ones were from IIT’s, how many cleared it in first attempt, at what pay packages they are working and how many civil servants they know. I understand that they are not showing off but somewhere at the back of their mind they feel I won’t respect them.

Another big problem is how I can tell a kid studying in fourth or fifth how to study. I mean I never knew myself how I studied. And what will that kid make out from my didactic statements. I would have hated meeting anyone who tells me how to study. The limit is reached when I am asked to tell a kid how to become an IAS. May god save these children from their parent!

One bigger headache is the albums that I am made to see. I appreciate that they are trying to entertain me but why I would be interested in seeing pictures of birthday of their kid or their visit to Nainital. You have to deal very carefully in such situations. You should give each picture an optimum time, neither more nor less. Even if you are thinking about Timbaktu, show that you are really enjoying. Asking some questions in between gives a good impression to the host.

The best part of these visits is the adulation showered generously on me. So I have nothing to complain. Whatever anyone says, believe me all love flattery.

Ok go back to your work and I have a checklist given by my father of relatives to be completed.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

IAS Interviews

Don’t read it if you are looking for clues how to give a good interview in civil services. I have given just one and scored a pathetic 150. The worst part is I still feel I gave a good interview. What I wish to do in this blog is to recollect various incidents I came to know while discussing about interviews.

I begin with collection I got from common men who actually never appeared for civil services. I seriously doubt there is any element of truth in these but they present the most interesting lot.

I have heard this incident n number of times from various sources. The chairman of the board drops his pen on ground and asks the candidate to pick it up. When the candidate picks it up, the chairman becomes very angry. He says you are aspiring for the post of IAS, you don’t pick up the pen yourself but push the buzzer, call a peon and ask him to pick up the pen. Well, well, well, is there any wonder why the work in government departments’ move so slowly.

Another is about testing the sharpness of your memory. The board asks questions like how many steps you climbed before entering this room (UPSC interview room has no stairs, so don’t worry, this can never be asked) or what is the color of the wall behind you. I feel that they are more interesting than true.

Now some true incidents. A candidate enters the boardroom and falls flat on ground. The chairman says ‘Mr. what a great fall'. The candidate stands up, smiles and says ‘Sir, it’s a pleasure I have fallen in company of great men like you.’

There is one in which the chairman asks the candidate his favorite color. The candidate says none. The chairman insists on his favorite color but the chairman again says none. Now the chairman turns little angry and says look Mr. you have to give a color, imagine you are giving it to your bride but pick a color. The candidate becomes agitated and says if I have to pick up a color, it will be red, the color of revolution. The candidate is given very poor marks. When the other members ask the chairman how his preference of color determine his personality, he says that he is going to become an IAS, he will have to handle strikes, pulls and pressures from various groups, if he can become agitated in an interview room, one can imagine his behavior in the field.

From this time interviews, I remember questions like what is similarity between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Abdul Kalam. The candidate answers that Gandhi wanted colonial India believe that independent India is possible and Kalam wants developing India believe that developed India is possible.

A candidate who wrote classical singing as his hobby was asked to sing a song. Then he was asked to sing the same song in different raga. The candidate was able to do that and got 225.

One person was asked to untie his knot and tie it again. Poor candidate did not know how to tie a knot and became nervous. More than not knowing how to tie a knot, nervousness spoiled his interview. The person who was due after this candidate took out his tie outside the interview room when he came to know about this incident. His bad luck was he forgot to open the topmost button of his shirt and the first thing he had to explain was why he was not wearing a tie when he was having his topmost button closed.

There are many more incidents which I will recollect in a later blog. If you know any, do let me know. But yes, do not believe the magazines in which all the candidates say the board was very cordial, they made them very comfortable.

In case you want to read a perfect interview, read vivek’s blog if you have'nt read it till now.