Munish Sharma began “subconsciously” preparing to become an IAS officer ever since he was in Class VI. He became financially independent by the time he reached Class IX and several years -- a Biochemistry degree and an MBA -- later, on a windy Thursday afternoon he aced the Civil Services examinations, coming second.

“I did not study too much, just read The Hindu newspaper word to word. I loved it. I also loved taking the Civil Services examination. I was never bogged down by the sheer work that everyone talks about. I read the newspaper, I wrote the exam,” he said, adding that he had not found time to celebrate yet as he was busy accepting all the congratulatory messages streaming in all day.

“I worked in the corporate world for five years and then decided it was time to become the IAS officer I always wanted to be. I did not shut myself in to study for hours. I continued reading the papers,” he said, adding that his mother, who also loves newspapers and reading and who brought him up single-handedly, was his main inspiration. “She is a teacher, I also took classes by the time I was in Class XI and supported myself financially.”

His advice to all those with IAS dreams in their hearts: “Enjoy what you do. Shutting yourself away from everything enjoyable is not the way to go about it. Focus is important, but enjoying the process is more important.”

The Delhi boy had very proud teachers from his alma mater Sri Venkateshwara College: “We are happy, I do not know him personally but I am proud,” said Arti Saxena, a Botany teacher.

“I know him very well and I am not surprised, he was always a clever one,” said Nanditha Narayan, a teacher who taught him many years ago.

More In: Delhi