Suchiter Sharma (22) kept his passion for singing and painting aside to crack the civil services examination in his first attempt but plans another attempt next year to improve his 146th rank.
He said the COVID-19 induced lockdown helped him a lot to concentrate on his studies and fulfil the dream of his parents, who are both teachers and an inspiration for him.
'Kuchh paane ke liye kuchh khona padta hai' (we have to lose something in order to gain something), remarked Sharma as he revealed how he kept aside his love for singing and painting to prepare for the gruelling examination.
At least nine candidates from Jammu and Kashmir have qualified in this year's Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam and Sharma, a resident of Salehar village in Bishnah, came at the top of the list of successful candidates, mostly from Kashmir valley.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and various others, including former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, congratulated them for the accomplishment.
“Heartiest congratulations to all those from J&K who qualified the UPSC exam, 2020. They are the true inspiration for our youth. I wish all of them a bright future,” the Lt Governor said in a tweet circulated through the handle of his office.
Mufti, in a separate tweet, said, “Congratulations to all the hard working IAS aspirants from J&K who cracked this year's UPSC exam. Wishing them all the best & success in their new endeavour.”
“The process of UPSC election is exhaustive but not difficult where your morale sometimes gets high and down as well… After god, I am thankful to my parents and my younger sister who stood by my side and never made me think that I won't achieve this feat,” said Sharma, who did his schooling from Army School, Ratnuchak with 94.8 per cent in Class 12 and his graduation from GGM Science College, Jammu with main subjects -- Botany, Zoology and Geology -- securing 86 per cent in 2020.
The exam topper said he fell in love with singing when he was in Class 10 and started thinking of becoming a rapper.
“I have written several songs and was also doing painting as well but gave up both to focus on the UPSC exam which was on my mind,” he said.
Thanking his teachers for the guidance, Sharma said he was initially preparing for MBBS but later decided to work on cracking the UPSC exam.
"I have some more attempts to improve my ranking and I will utilise this opportunity to get to the IAS post," he added.
Sharma, who appeared in the preliminary exam of IAS just five days after his BSc final exams, said he was already prepared for it as “Covid-19 induced lockdown had made things easy as he remained at home and focussed on the examination.”
He said motivation remains the key to keep your morale high for the examination, which is very important for success.
Lauding his friends Irfan and Zaid for their support, he said a positive environment is imperative for such an achievement.
“Irfan is like my elder brother and Zaid is my batch-mate. Both of them expressed faith in me and motivated me all along,” he said.
His father Madan Lal said he had never thought of such an achievement by his son at this young age.
“I consider this a lucky moment of my life…Determination, hardwork and a clear goal is the key for success,” Lal said.