Pratibha Verma, daughter of schoolteacher-parents from Sultanpur in UP, has secured the top rank among women candidates in the civil services examination this year. The 27-year-old, who had earlier done her B.Tech from IIT-Delhi, speaks to Neeraj Jha on her success story: Excerpts:
How has been your journey from the small town of Sultanpur to the top...?
I had resolved in my childhood that I would become an IAS officer. Even though I had made it to the Indian Revenue Service last year, I was still focussed on IAS. But it was a difficult journey. You need a lot of energy to stay focussed on your studies for ten hours a day...It was difficult to groom myself as an IAS officer but with practice and focus on my goal, I completed this journey.
What was your daily routine?
I used to religiously spend two to three hours every day reading newspapers, whether it was before the Prelims, Mains or the interview. I would then spend the next three hours on theory, and another three hours on revision and the last two hours on practice. Yoga in the evening and meditation were part of my routine, which helped me stay calm. It is important for your mind to stay focussed on studies. It is not necessary to study books for 24 hours. Smart work and focus are as important as hard work.
Tell us about your school background?
There are many stoppages in the journey, since my birth in a small town to this stage. I opted for science in class XI after passing class X in Hindi medium from UP school examination board. Later, I cleared the JEE to get admission in IIT-Delhi and worked with Vodafone for two years after completing my B.Tech in 2014. But I had left Sultanpur with a dream to become an IAS officer. So I quit my job and...