Two girls from the city among top 10 toppers

“I always dreamed of becoming a doctor or an IAS officer, and now I am both,” said an ecstatic Bharti Dixit, speaking from the outskirts of the city in the middle of a “big party” with friends. She is the only woman who made it to the top five slots of the Union Public Service Commission examinations this year. The news is yet to sink in fully, said Ms. Dixit.

“It seems like only minutes ago we were driving down to the UPSC office to find out my marks. It was at 3 p.m. that we got to know that the results were declared and now this!” she said, adding that she also aced the exams on her first attempt and gave up on coaching institutes after the first few months, deciding to study by herself. “Of course, everyone frightened me that taking the exams meant giving up your life as you knew it and studying all day long,” said Ms.Dixit, while explaining how many of her acquaintances had lost several crucial years, all in the pursuit of the IAS dream.

“I did not let that happen to me. My job was equally important. I work as a medical officer with the NDMC and examine patients on a daily basis so I could not let my studies and job overlap in any way. I focussed instead on quality. Five hours of studying everyday, with complete concentration — NCERT books, magazines, watching the news on television and, of course, religiously reading The Hindu newspaper word for word,” she said.

Another girl who has made the Capital proud is Medha Roopam, who studied Economics at St. Stephen’s College. She never wanted to become anything other than an IAS officer, with the sole intention of serving her country, she said. “My father is a civil servant. I think he was my first inspiration. I never wanted to be anything other than an IAS officer and ever since I graduated from college, I have been working towards this goal,” said Ms. Roopam.

She said she did not lost hope after a setback in her first attempt and steadily increased her preparation.“I did not get through in my first attempt. The syllabus changed, the coaching centres, too, were as new to this as those of us preparing. Things were getting difficult. But I increased the amount of effort I put in. I read a lot of newspapers, scrutinising The Hindu the most carefully. I never missed a word in the paper,” she said. She added that the new syllabus has created a level-playing field.

Ms. Roopam studied in Naval Public School, Ernakulam, Kerala till Class VIII, while her father was posted there as District Collector. She finished Class XII from St. Thomas School in Thiruvananthapuram and then moved to Delhi with her family for her undergraduate studies.

“I am happy and feel proud that she is entering a service which will allow her to serve the country,” said her father Gyanesh Kumar speaking to The Hindu.

Akshay Tripathi, number four on the list,was already working with the Indian Railways when he decided to take on the “toughest exam on earth”.

He, too, owes allegiance to The Hindu and said he studied seven hours a day.

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