Downtown

IRS officer by accident, guide by choice

Daasya, a trust in Ashok Nagar, has helped him identify schools and slums where his motivational talks could be helpful.  

Certain things will be just happy accidents in life, and one must accept with open arms. For V. Nandakumar, clearing the UPSC exams and topping in geography to become an IRS officer was one such accident, something he never imagined would happen to him. But there he was, holding the highest of responsibilities and the most awe-inspiring of positions, yet humble enough to share his story of success with underprivileged kids and motivating them to do well despite the disadvantages they faced.

In 1998, he started taking life-skill development sessions and conducting motivational workshops for government and Corporation school students and would also inspire UPSC aspirants. In every class, he uses his life as an example. He also got associated with Daasya, a trust in Ashok Nagar, and has been addressing slums and schools identified by the NGO.

After completing his 6th standard, he dropped out of school but never gave up on education. He was however only concerned with its holistic application. “I was a dyslexic and branded a slow learner by my school. I was forced to step out of the system and create an alternative environment for myself to study further. I cannot rot-learn still and have to understand a concept to apply it. In a way, my weakness has been my strength and this is something I prescribe to my students as well,” says Nandakumar, who finished schooling privately and took up work at a mechanic shed, tea and lottery shop to support himself through his college days.Then, pushed by his friend, he tried for the civil service exams.

It was after getting a positive result for his attempt that he realised that one only needed to be average to excel in life.

“I don’t ask my students to be excellent in studies or have great aspirations. Despite average scores, having a vibrant personality can take you places. Children from government schools are unaware of the opportunities available to them. It is to show them what career opportunities they have that I conduct these sessions,” says Nandakumar, who equates government schools with a desert: it may seem barren on the outside, but underneath lies a storehouse of talent and knowledge.

He also guides civil service aspirants on how to approach the examination. “UPSC tests you not on your English but on how you make use of subjects in everyday life. So developing the EQ is more important than developing the IQ, and this is often part of my classes,” adds this resident of Shenoy Nagar.

He also takes classes for parents and teachers on holistic education and career orientation for standard 10 and 12 students. This year, he addressed over 8,000 students appearing for class 10 board examinations at the MCC grounds.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 7:27:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/irs-officer-by-accident-guide-by-choice/article6136253.ece

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