Waiting for Your Moment
- Indian Masterminds Bureau
- Published on 15 Nov 2020, 8:34 am IST
- 4 minutes read
An almost uneducated child bride and a mother of two at 18, she seemed destined for a life of obscurity in an equally obscure Tamil Nadu village. But strong determination can move mountains, as this woman proved. N Ambika is now a senior IPS officer, posted in Mumbai as DCP(North).
- N Ambika, she fought against several odds
It all happened in the blink of a moment. Call it the Eureka moment of Archimedes or its modern equivalent, the Aha moment. N Ambika experienced it firsthand when she went to a public ceremony with her husband, a police constable in Tamil Nadu, and saw him saluting a man who was much younger to him.
On being told the man was an IPS officer, the word glued to her consciousness…And refused to budge from there. At that moment, she decided to be in that man’s shoes, by becoming an IPS officer.
But there was a problem; no, there were bag-loads of problems. Ambika was a child bride, married off at the age of 14 and now, four years later, a mother of two. Plus, she was not even a matriculate, having left her studies in class 8- or what was more likely- persuaded by the parents to do so in pursuit of the “higher goal’’ of marital bliss.
One can only wonder how much odds a bookie would have given to the bet that Ambika – a child bride, mother of two and for all practical purpose, a totally uneducated person- would become an IPS officer. 1,000 to 1? 10,000 to 1? Had he done that, he would have lost badly. Because the idea which got into Ambika’s head that morning in the public function soon turned into a fervent desire, and in due course, powerful enough to tackle any odd placed against its implementation.
Wife to a police constable, the couple lived in Dindikal, Tamil Nadu. By the age of 18, Ambika became a mother of two daughters- Aigan and Niharika. When she told her husband of her desire to become an IPS officer, he listened patiently and asked her to do whatever was required to pursue her dream. It was this unconditional encouragement by the husband, and it continued for several years, that made the uphill journey worthwhile.
Crossing the Hurdles, One at a Time
N Ambika’s journey had begun. The first hurdle was securing Secondary School Level Certificate (SSLC), equivalent to Class 10 certificate- which she did not have. She gave an external exam and got one. In the same fashion, she obtained a degree. Civil services, though, was a much bigger goalpost; and she knew she was still quite far from it.
N Ambika then made another request to her husband, that she would like to move over to Chennai and join a UPSC coaching class. The husband’s encouragement was unwavering. Once in Chennai, she got down seriously in her pursuit. She knew it was not a child’s play, and the gatekeepers of the hollowed UPSC would mercilessly check out the levels of her determination.
The first time Ambika attempted UPSC, she failed. Second time too she failed. And then again she failed, for the third time. Three consecutive failures. It was obvious the gate-keepers had turned their back on this woman candidate. Only, they had not gauged the strength and intensity of her determination.
After the third failure, Ambika’s husband too started faltering. He urged her to come back in the family mould; already he was feeling the financial pinch of ensuring her stay and coaching in Chennai. She requested him for one more try, the final try, and he agreed.
Crossing the Final Frontier
Fortune favours the brave, so declared the old Latin phrase- attributed to Pliny the Elder when he took out a fleet to investigate the eruption of Mt Vesuvius two thousand years ago, in AD79. In today’s context, it might well have been written for N Ambika, who embarked on a journey as perilous as Pliny’s. But the similarity ends here. Pliny died during the expedition, while Ambika cleared the UPSC in her fourth attempt. The year was 2008.
N Ambika, the gritty woman who broke not one but several glass-ceilings to reach her goal, is now the DCP (North) in Mumbai Police. More power to her.
END OF THE ARTICLE
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