Failed in Primary School, Went On to Become IAS Officer, and then an Entrepreneur
- Pallavi Priya
- Published on 16 Jun 2022, 10:17 am IST
- 4 minutes read
- Anupama Chandra failed in KG and almost every class till 7.
- She not only cleared UPSC CSE, but is a CEO of a company now.
- She served as an IAS officer for 23 years and calls it her best and most enriching experience.
- Anupma V Chandra, Ex-IAS and Entrepreneur
There is a common believe that only exceptionally bright and class topper students can
crack UPSC. If someone has failed in every class from KG to Class 6, it is indeed hard to believe that she could go on to clear UPSC CSE, one of the toughest exams in India.
But, this is exactly what happened! Former IAS officer Anupma V Chandra failed in all classes till 6th, yet could clear CSE to join one of the most prestigious service in India! By doing so, she proved that no matter how bad you were as a student, you can always achieve what you want with hard work and dedication. Today, Indian Mastermindspresents her story.
STARTED SCHOOL AT THE AGE OF SEVEN
Ms. Chandra’s father was in a transferable job so they had to move to various places. Her early childhood was spent in Ittawa, a dacoity-prone area in Chambal zone. In a media interaction, she said, “I didn’t go to school till the age of 7. Everyone was fearful of dacoits in the area. Children were kept in the houses as there were many cases of kidnapping”.
When her father got transferred to Raebareli, she was admitted to the only good school there. She was older than most students and couldn’t even write the alphabets. The teachers always demotivated her and she was sent to KG. She could not even cope up in KG and had to be taken out of the school.
Then she was admitted to a government school but there also her performance detoriated. She failed in every class till 6.
FACED HUMILIATION AT SCHOOL
When her father was posted in Lucknow, the whole family shifted there. They tried to put Ms. Chandra in best school but eight of them rejected her due to poor report cards and inability to speak English. “It was my luck that one of the good English medium school was taking mid-term admission and I was shifted there. However, it didn’t end my problems. I remember that school as one of the darkest phases in my life. Every one was supposed to speak English and if not, they were fined. I was mocked by my classmates whenever I spoke, so I stopped talking or even speaking. When I tried to make friends, the girls would neglect me calling me HMT (Hindi Medium Types)”.
She says that with all of this, she lost confidence and self-esteem. She was unable to pass all subjects, so dreaming of becoming something in life was not on her plate.
Then one incident happened that changed her life!
INFLUENCE OF INDIRA GANDHI & FRENCH PAINTER
In an interaction, she said, “Indira Gandhi came to Lucknow and we were supposed to stand on both sides of the road to welcome her. Luckily she stopped her car near me and when I gave her flower she asked what I wanted to become. I replied, ‘like you’. That was it, my classmates heard this and mocked me. I was so angry but couldn’t do anything. I think that anger stayed with me and whatever I am today, the seed was sown that day only”.
Besides, Ms. Gandhi she was also mesmerized with the cars that followed in the convoy. She wanted to be in that car someday and her father told her that she could be in the car if she clears UPSC.
This stayed in her mind and she started working hard. However, till class 12th she could only score grades that were ok. Then she went to IT College Lucknow and got more serious in study due to the environment. “My grades were not improving. One fine day I visited an art exhibition. There I saw the French painter drawing and erasing lines. He also spotted me and asked what was I looking at. When I asked why he is repeating, he replied because he hasn’t achieved the best of him yet. This was my life saving mantra”.
While she prepared for UPSC, she used to ask if this was the best and the answer was always no. She strived hard for ‘Yes’. She did all she could, put all the efforts and gave time. Eventually she cleared IAS with near perfect score in interview. After a memorable innings in IAS, she decided to shift base and start something on her own. And the entrepreneur was born! Today she is acing life as a successful entrepreneur, heading the company as the CEO. Her success story proves yet again that academic performance cannot measure a person’s true capability or intelligence. It takes the right kind of environment, motivation and the will to do something in life to being out our inner talents.
END OF THE ARTICLE