Select Page

first off the block graphicI dreamed of this newspaper headline a few years ago in the exam hall in Trivandrum, as I sat for the civil services examination, with Vyasan R. (1996) and Anup Kuruvilla (1997). Tomorrow, that headline will be a reality.

Vyasan called me four hours ago to break the news of this year’s all-India civil services exam result.

4th rank – Prasanth N. (1995 SSLC)
6th rank – Vyasan R. (1996 ISC)
7th rank – Anish Rajan (1997 ISC)

Wow! About 150,000 candidates appear for an exam, and three Loyolites make it to the top 10. They join a handful of Loyolites who are in the elite civil services.

  • Paul Antony (1974) – IAS 1984 – Kerala
  • Jitendra Srivastava (1990) – IAS 2000 – Bihar
  • Sreejesh K.V. (1990) – IPS 2000 – Tripura
  • Babu A. (1993) – IAS 2003 – Andhra Pradesh
  • Anup Kuruvilla John (1997) – IPS 2004 – Kerala

Getting into the civil services takes hours of hard work, months of effort and years of patience. And perhaps, moments of luck. It’s a marathon exam that spans a year, from the day of the preliminary examination (May) through the Main written examination (October) and interview (April) to the declaration of result (next May). And worse, you might have to go through this exam cycle more than once to get a coveted service. Ask Prasanth. Ask Vyasan. Ask Anish.

The room where Vyasan and I prepared for the civil services exam

Great companionship, long-winded sessions at Indian Coffee House and the joy of learning — these keep the candidates going as they chase the dream. For their parents, though, it is a nightmare all the way. Anxiety levels and frustration rise by the year as bright sons offer their best days at the altar of the mother of all UPSC exams. The CAT may be tougher, and the GRE may offer a better future, but neither stretches middle-class Indian parents to breaking point. The Indian civil services exam is a test for parents, as much as it is of a young Indian’s ability to recollect, and write concisely and accurately.

As we celebrate the success of Prasanth, Vyasan and Anish, let us say three cheers to their families who supported them, year after year.