My father is a Provincial Civil Service officer. He was an IAS aspirant and attempted repetitively to crack it. He used to get through to reach the interview stage but could never get pass it. He failed to win over the race for being an IAS officer. So, he was left with no option but to satisfy his ambitious soul with being a PCS officer(which in itself, is also not easy). 

Back when I was a child, he used to tell me of ‘winners’ and the ‘also-ran.’ He used to tell me that sometimes the winners are not the most deserving candidate, but reach there owing to lot of other factors. He used to tell me that the people who “also-ran” the race are also important. His failure to become an IAS officer, had a huge impression on him and what he believed.

I myself cannot feign to be indifferent to the sentiments of these ‘also-ran’ people, who’d set up a goal, an ambition, gave their heart and soul, and in spite of all efforts and capabilities, could not finally reach their destination. Perhaps, grace/luck/chance was not on their side.

No matter how capable or incapable you are to achieve a particular goal, it is, according to me, still equally laudable as that of a winner, if you put all your blood, sweat and tears for that one thing which is most important to you. However, one should definitely be smart enough to set-up a goal which is reachable and not unrealistic. If one sets up unrealistic goals, one would be a laughing stock but then who decides what’s unrealistic?

According to me, only a person, who has carefully and mindfully identified his strengths and weakness can be sensible enough to set-up a goal which is reachable for him. Not all IAS aspirants are meant for IAS even though they attempt it, out of the glamor and other factors. They should know if they are willing to, and can put in, long hours of study for indefinite period of time, and make it a “sadhna”. They should know what they are capable of and what not. It is fine and beautiful to be honest with oneself. 

I am, as of today, unsure about what future holds for me. I really want to do something which I can be proud of, which fulfills me, for which I feel I have lost considerable chances . Owing to six years of extreme mental misbalance and instability, I lost so many opportunities to prove myself and now I have reached a ripe age of 23. Also, when I was in school, I never won any significant Olympiad/competition/ contest. I do have some certificates of some achievements but I always believed, I could do much much better if I had the right attitude, right support, a happy family ambience(and not a dysfunctional family) and right guidance. Anyway, I can keep on blaming but what has happened has happened and I accept it for nobody has time to listen to why you could not do something.

I can tell my sorry story and be all sentimental about it, but what matters to everyone is what you could actually do. People want results. Still, I could have done better, in spite of all odds, but I didn’t/couldn’t so, somewhere even I am myself at fault. I console myself with the thought, that whatever happened had to happen owing to maybe my karma, or someone else’s, or perhaps just by chance, or due to all of these or some of these factors. 

I cannot say I ever ran devoting all my blood, sweat and tears to a particular goal. I never worked hard enough. Never. I have not appeared in a single all India exam yet, where I had prepared hard for years, where I did my ‘sadhna’. Never. I was ill all this time. So, I couldn’t. 

Although, everyone told me I have good brains but I could never or did not ever utilize it. But I ran and I will run. I will run better. I will keep trying to be the winner, but even if I fail, but did my hard work, I will be proud to be one of the ‘also-ran.’ We always try to glorify success but here, I tried nothing but to back the underdogs, because I myself have felt similar pain in my life and because not everyone can be a winner.

“मैं रूह बनकर पहुँचूँगा, वहाँ जहाँ मुझे जाना है।”

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Nalin

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