V. Sriram is a busy man these days. He was getting ready to meet former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer on Tuesday evening. He heads to Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday to meet the Governor of the State. A visit to the Chief Minister’s office is also on his schedule. Between these high-profile meetings, 26-year-old Dr. Sriram is trying to squeeze in a movie with his friends from college.

Dr. Sriram’s name and story is now familiar to the people of Kerala after he did the State proud by securing the second rank in the Civil Services examination. The doctor, who is pursuing his MD at Cuttack in Orissa, came home to Kochi on Monday. Waiting for him were phone calls and visits from friends, family and well-wishers.

“It’s just sinking in … what this all means,” says Dr. Sriram. His phone has been ringing non-stop since the results were announced last Friday. “[Chief Minister] Oommen Chandy sir had called. My parents were very happy. I didn’t even realise how big this is,” he says.

Dr. Sriram’s mother Rajam is concerned about the side-effects of her son’s instant celebrity. “He’s very tired. He has been falling sick and he lost his voice too. He barely manages to speak when people call to congratulate him,” she says.

With Keralites bagging three top ranks in the examination, the myth that the Civil Services are a next-to-impossible challenge for students from the State has been cast away. “Even when I first wrote the examination, I was only thinking, ‘let me just give it a try.’ But all my friends said that I should keep trying. It’s definitely not impossible,” he says.

Dr. Sriram will now have to drop his MD course halfway through. “I know that at Mussoorie, where the Civil Services training takes place, there are weekly medical camps for people. Maybe, I could participate in that. I’m not sure what the scope will be to practise while in the Services.”

The topper knows first rank-holder Haritha V. Kumar from his days at the State Civil Services Academy at Thiruvananthapuram.

“Haritha was always seen as a model to emulate after she made it to the Revenue Services,” he says. Dr. Sriram hopes that their achievement will motivate people from the State to approach the examination with more confidence.

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