A Paan Shop Owner’s Son Is Now An IAS Officer
- Bhakti Kothari
- Published on 5 Nov 2021, 5:00 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
- Rahul Gupta, the son of a paan shop owner, cleared CSE in 2018 and became an IAS officer.
- He hails from the small town of Sivasagar in Assam.
- He cleared the UPSC exam in his third attempt with AIR 286.
- Trainee IAS officer Rahul Gupta
It takes tons of determination, dedication and efforts to clear the ‘mother of all examinations’ – UPSC. One stays away from family and celebrations to clear it. The struggle multiplies when the candidate has to survive on a shoe-string budget.
Hailing from the small town of Sivasagar in Assam, he cleared the UPSC examination in his third attempt, gaining an All India Rank of 286 in CSE-2018. His father Mr. Om Prakash Gupta runs a small paan shop in the district. In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, he opened up about his struggles and how he finally achieved his dream.
FAILING IN THE MASTERS BEFORE CLEARING LAST HURDLE
Mr. Gupta completed his Masters in Development Studies from the prestigious Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi in 2019. Most of his friends and batch mates were preparing for Civil Services at the time, which also motivated him into going for it. His uncle helped him with the preparation too. He took a few years off and decided of getting into Law, which he couldn’t. After three unsuccessful attempts at UPSC, he was finally able to clear it in 2019, making his family proud.
Recalling his days of preparation, he remembers studying along with his group of friends who were all preparing for the examination.
“In 2017, I couldn’t even clear my prelims. It was a shocking year as I even failed my master’s exam in the same year. I had to leave the hostel and hit rock bottom. My friends motivated me to start from scratch and after taking a month off; I started with my preparation again” he told Indian Masterminds.
SURVIVING ON BORROWED MONEY
One of the major challenges that Mr. Gupta had to face was being financially critical. “My parents did not understand the concept of inflation and kept on sending me the same amount from 2011 to 2018. Perforce, I started borrowing from my friends, which I am still repaying,” he chuckled.
Mr. Gupta and four of his friends crammed into one little flat due to a minimal budget, which made studying difficult. To prepare in peace, they joined a library which not only helped them with their learning but also reduced their electricity bill as they only went back home to sleep.
“To save money on water, we carried huge water bottles to the library and filled them with water and stored it. So we didn’t need water or electricity, thereby cutting down our expenses by a lot. You have to be jugaadu when you’re living outside and your family doesn’t understand the concept of inflation” he laughed.
A FAKE STORY
Recently on leave, while he was just sitting and looking after his father’s shop in his absence, he caught the eye of a reporter who went ahead and published a report ‘how he left his job as an IAS to help in his father’s shop’.
But he told Indian Masterminds, that this wasn’t the case. “That was my father’s shop and I was just sitting there. The reporter cooked up the entire story. When my father didn’t allow me to run the shop by abdicating studies, why would he do so now,” he asks.
PAAN SHOP TO CONTINUE
Being the eldest of his siblings, he helps with their education through his salary and his father takes care of the other things through the money he earns from the little paan shop. “We are a big family. Before I got into the service, all the things were functioning in a particular way. The revenue coming from the shop went to all the children in the family. My father wouldn’t stop just because I have started earning. I can take care of some of my siblings but I don’t think he wishes to retire anytime, soon.”
JNU – A BLISS FOR THOSE WITH FINANCIAL CRUNCH
Currently undergoing training in Guwahati, he considers himself lucky to have gotten into JNU as the rooms there were pretty low on cost and the competitive environment of the place helped him in preparing well for the examination.
END OF THE ARTICLE