It’s a story of my very good friend Varun Baranwal who cleared IAS (Indian Administrative Services) exam in his first attempt with AIR 31 (3rd in Maharashtra) last year at an age of 23.
His Father had died when he was in 10th Class. In his family he has 3 elder sisters, 1 younger brother and his mother. His mother was a house wife and he belonged to a humble background.
In the hostel, we used to discuss the difficult times he had gone through. He used to teach kids to make money for his family when he was in 11-12 and at the same time used to help her mother in her small business in Boisar ( near Mumbai).
Because of those difficult times, he wasn’t able to give his entrance exams properly in 12th. Still, he managed to get in MIT – Pune in E&TC Branch.
In his first year itself, he topped in Pune University with a great margin. He was awarded with Full Scholarship at our college.
In his 3rd year when I used to discuss with him about his goals, we both being patriotic guys used to discuss how we could do better for the country.
Then he decided to give GATE exam and cleared with under 100 rank in his first attempt in 3rd year itself. In 4th year, he got placed in the first company which came to MIT-Pune i.e. Deloitte (one of the best consulting firms in the world).
For a college student in 4th year, you don’t want anything more than that. But immediately after his college was over, he told me that he was not planning to join job/IIT. He was going to sit home and prepare for IAS.
I was totally surprised by his decision. I thought why did he take this kind of decision when his family needed his financial support. His mother was getting old and she needed his support. Now, he was going to sit home and prepare for an exam which even very smart people aren’t able to crack in their first attempt.
When I asked the same question to him, he said his main aim was to do something for the country and IAS could be the best opportunity for him. Money was secondary.
And finally he cleared IAS in his first attempt! :)
What inspired me the most about Varun?
-> Helping Nature: He was one of the most helping guys I had ever met in my college days. I still remember how he used to help everyone in studies during college days. He used to teach me as well during my exams :D and there was a time when I needed a space for 15 days, he went out of the way and adjusted me in his room where 3 people were already living. :)
-> Risk Taking Ability: If you want to achieve something big in life, you need to take high risks in your life and work in very disciplined way towards your life goals. I used to give my father his example, when I wanted not to join my job and work on our startup.
->Extremely Focussed & Hardworking: He was always very clear and focussed on what he wanted to do in his life, already his goals were set, that is why he was able to leave a very lucrative job. He was very hard-working and knew everything on tips.
Pic: Varun giving vote of thanks to Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event.Pic: This was when he was preparing for the exam and he hosted me at his room for more than half a month. (Celebrating his birthday! :) )
Thanks Varun for being an inspiration! It’s just a beginning for you, I am sure you would do a lot for India and make our country better.
Proud of you!
I had posted this originally as an answer on Quora. Sanchit Sanchit Malik’s answer to What are some inspirational short stories?