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Epic Inspirations: A Grandfather’s Wisdom and a Grandson’s Triumph in UPSC CSE 2023

Guided by his grandfather's tales from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Smit Patel's path to UPSC success was shaped by epic lessons of duty, resilience, and faith
Indian Masterminds Stories

Smit Patel, born and raised in Mumbai, never forgot the tales his grandfather recounted from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. These stories were more than just bedtime narratives; they were life lessons that molded his aspirations. His grandfather, a man of wisdom and simplicity, instilled in him the values of duty, resilience, and faith—principles that would guide Smit through the rigorous journey of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE).

Indian Masterminds exclusively spoke with him to know more about his UPSC journey and life.

EARLY LIFE AND INSPIRATION

Smit’s father migrated from Gujarat to Mumbai due to economic challenges, seeking a better life for his family. Smit grew up in this bustling city, absorbing its energy and diversity. Despite financial hardships, his family prioritized education, and Smit excelled academically.

After graduating in Mechanical Engineering from Mumbai University, he was poised for a promising career. Campus placements offered lucrative opportunities, but Smit’s heart was set on a different path—a path his grandfather had subtly nudged him towards during his formative years.

“My grandfather was quite strong in the local elections, as far as cooperative movement is concerned. He worked all his life in Gujarat at zila parishad levels, cotton mills, and other places. He knew the impact that a civil officer has on society. He made me aware of all these posts that are available through UPSC. And during my fourth year of engineering, I finally made up my mind to crack the civil service examination,” he told Indian Masterminds.

THE DECISION TO SERVE

Turning down attractive job offers was not an easy decision. Smit’s friends secured positions in top companies, enjoying financial independence and stability. Yet, Smit was drawn to the idea of civil service, driven by a desire to make a significant impact on society.

 The teachings from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, which emphasized focusing on one’s karma and leaving the results to God, resonated deeply with him. He believed in putting forth his best efforts and trusting that whatever was meant to happen would happen for the best.

THE UPSC MARATHON

Smit’s journey to securing AIR-562 in the UPSC CSE 2023 was anything but smooth. It took him five attempts to achieve this milestone. Each failure was a lesson in perseverance, a test of his resolve. The rigorous preparation demanded sacrifices, both personal and professional.

Financial independence seemed a distant dream as he watched his peers climb the corporate ladder. Yet, he remained steadfast, consoling himself with the thought that everyone’s journey is unique and his path, though longer and more arduous, would ultimately lead to a fulfilling destination.

As he was leaving for his interview, the last mantra that his grandpa told him was, “Give it your best. Life has too much of uncertainties. We cannot live in that fear always. There are many controllable and uncontrollable factors in our lives; we must try and work on all the things that are in our hands. Don’t waste your time and utilize your energy and efficiency in the best possible ways.”

BALANCING LIFE AND PREPARATION

Despite the intense preparation, Smit managed to maintain a balanced life. He is an avid fitness enthusiast, running 5-8 kilometers daily and participating in marathons. Fitness, for him, was not just a hobby but a way to channel stress and maintain mental clarity. He has completed three half marathons, a tribute to his dedication and discipline.

“Fitness, in any profession, is important for one’s efficiency. It gives us mental peace which is another important thing in anybody’s life, therefore, I am planning to continue with it forever,” he shared.

Post-interview, he picked up the ukulele, learning through YouTube tutorials and jamming with friends. Music became a soothing escape, a reminder that life is about more than just goals and achievements.

A VISION FOR THE FUTURE

As Smit steps into the role of a civil servant, his vision extends beyond administrative duties. He is passionate about working with orphaned children, supporting old age homes, and aiding victims of acid attacks and rape.

These vulnerable sections of society need more than just policies; they need empathy, understanding, and active support—qualities Smit is determined to bring into his service.

Smit Patel’s journey from a mechanical engineering graduate to securing AIR-562 in UPSC CSE 2023 is a story of perseverance, inspired by the wisdom of ancient epics and the unwavering support of his grandfather. As he embarks on his career as a civil servant, his commitment to making a positive impact on society remains his guiding star.


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