It is said that the road to success is not a straight path. It is full of twists, turns, and even bumps. Similar is the story of Gurinderbir Singh who brought laurels to his Family, his friends and yes to his Academy. Coming from a rural farming background of Punjab, his journey from his village to such a high Government office is not only surprising but also very inspiring. This fun-loving Jatt entered one of the toughest exams and came out with flying colors. But this success was neither easy nor it came early. His fate took a lot of twists and turns before coming to this milestone. These excerpts have been taken from his talks organized in O2 IAS academy and during his interaction with academy mentors. Let us hear from him about his journey from a civil service aspirant to a civil servant.
Que: Hello Gurinder, Could you please introduce yourself?
Answer: Hello Sir, I am Gurinderbir Singh, I belong to the State of Punjab. I have recently secured 10th rank in PCS exam. Before this, I have been appearing for UPSC exams and even Cracked UPSC CAPF exam with A.I.R 31 rank.
Que: Gurinder, how long have you been preparing for Civil services and can you briefly explain how was the journey?
Answer: I started my preparation during my Engineering days. I think it was the 3rd year of the college when I realized Engineering was not my cup of tea. It was after completion of my college I moved to Chandigarh and joined O2 IAS Academy for my preparation for Civil services. I have given 3 UPSC mains and appeared in the interview once. I was able to crack the Punjab Public service exam in my first attempt and got selected for the post of Deputy Superintendent to police in Punjab police. My struggle like any other aspirant was full of dilemmas and choices.
I couldn’t go through my first two attempts despite hard work and efforts from my Mentors. Many times I used to doubt myself if I have made a wrong choice regarding career. Many of my friends have already started their jobs and here I was chasing the dream of being a civil servant.
My selection as Assistant Commandant in CAPF 2014 came as a morale booster for me. I was recommended by Kuldeep sir to fill this Grade-A allied exams and it paid me off very well. After this selection, I got selected in Intelligence Bureau as an ACIO the following year. Again I was confronted with a choice as to join which service and whether I would be able to prepare for civil services alongside the job. I took a big decision of not joining the IB and continued my preparation for UPSC.
For next year UPSC exam, I made changes in my strategy and kept in touch with my teachers and focused upon my mistakes I was making in the previous attempts. During this time PPSC announced the PCS exam. The dream to serve my own state has always been inside me. So I gathered myself and started dedicated preparation for PCS too as the syllabus of both was almost the same. This very decision to appear for PCS gave me unexpected returns. That year I joined my CAPF training but was called for interview from both UPSC as well as PPSC. I can’t explain how difficult it was for me to prepare for the interviews during the CAPF training. It is similar to Military training and you don’t even get time to eat properly let alone study. Though I couldn’t make the cut in UPSC Fortunately I was selected as DSP in the PCS exam. I wonder sometimes what if I didn’t fill the PCS exam on the first hand. My teachers were very Wise to advise me to fill the exam and I think it is this very decision that helped me make the cut. You need the wisdom of good people in your struggles and luckily I had them in my journey.
My journey in Civil services was full of twists and choices and returns I got from unexpected areas. In my journey I learned to be humble, I learned to be grateful, I learned how valuable friends and family and to have wise people around me especially during the times of chaos.
Que: Can you tell me how important is the role of friends, family, and Mentor in the Preparation?
Answer: Very Important. It is not only you that is appearing in the exam it is your family your friends and your mentors too. They are fighting with you in your battles. And without their support, I don’t feel I would have achieved these accomplishments. My family stood by me in every decision. They were there when I was depressed and low on confidence. My friends helped me in every way possible.
Finally, a mentor is very essential in the preparation for civil services. I came to Chandigarh for that and luckily I found a great mentor and human being in Sandhu sir. He not only helped me in my preparation but provided constant support and wisdom. His strategies helped me a lot in cracking the exam. I am indebted to all of them and I couldn’t thank them more.
Que: What was your strategy to crack the PCS exam?
Answer: My strategy was very similar to that of UPSC. I had a good CSAT background that helped me in my Prelims examination. For mains, I did extensive Answer writing under O2 team. They gave me grueling sessions on answer writing and helped me refine my writing according to PCS. I prepared for the essay portion very thoroughly. Again it is one area most of the aspirants ignore and thereby lose a chance to score well. For interview also I got the immense benefit for Sandhu sir’s experience of mentoring aspirants for Interview. My Profile at being a CAPF officer also helped me in the interview. Overall I would say my preparation for UPSC helped me in clearing PCS and I tinkered my preparation to suit the needs of PCS.
Que: Any final advice that you would like to give to the aspirants who are aspiring for PCS?
Answer: If I can get through in this exam, anyone can. Trust me many of my batch mates from college still don’t believe I made the cut. So don’t doubt yourself, success will come, it may come late but it will come surely. Few things I want to tell to an aspirant community which I realized were important during my struggle.
First, Don’t be afraid of failures, try to embrace them as part of your learning
Secondly, find comfort in the company of your near and dear ones. They are the pillars you will look up to when you are in that grey zone.
Third, get in touch with a good mentor. I was lucky to found Sandhu, sir, you need to find yours. A mentor will help you to maneuver through the pitfalls and find the best possible way to reach your destination.
Fourth, keep going, rise awake and stop not, till the goal is reached
I hope this excerpt will inspire you all to find your wings to fly. I believe that there is a Hero in everyone and there is an inspiring story in each one of us. We are looking for such inspiring stories to motivate aspirants. If you have made up your mind for civil services maybe we can help you in your endeavor. Maybe the next story is about you and how you overcome obstacles to reach success. We dare you, choose this path, and we pledge to give you our best.