The so-called best days of my life, those that most girls spend discussing makeup, boys, and life over endless cups of coffee, were spent slogging behind books. UPSC is not called the mother of all exams for nothing. It is not simply a trial of your academic skills but of your perseverance, dedication, of your very nerves. Not only does one attempt at the examination itself take a whole year, there is also considerable preparation beforehand that goes into it. Your existence, at least for those 3-4 years is consumed by it.

Obviously, when I did make it to the coveted Indian Revenue Service, it was a reason to celebrate. Not only had I got a job, but as an officer in the Indian Revenue Service, no less. As the years went by, the euphoria died down and strangely, I found myself neither happy nor satisfied at work. For quite some time I attributed it to the humdrum routine taking over the novelty of the job. However as more days passed, I realised that this was not simply the ennui of life setting in – I had to do something about it. The only problem being, that no one in his or her right mind can even think of leaving such a job. So I was told, time and again.

In India, being an Officer to the Government of India is not just a job- it becomes your identity, your existence taking care of so many things that an ordinary man is struggling for. Yes, like it or not, that is still the truth about our colonial mindset and country. To make matters worse, I had no alternate plan in sight- no clear idea of what I wanted to do, no savings for a rainy day so to speak – basically nothing to fall back on. All that I knew was that this job was something I could not carry on with.

So I quit- without anything else in hand, without any other plan; just the conviction that I will find my calling where my true joy lay. Gradually I started writing. Having been a student of English literature, and written for newspapers and magazines off and on, I had always had a love for the written word. Now I decided to take it up seriously and professionally. Apart from working on a novelette, I started my blog. Within a few months, I got a chance to write for Femina for their “Made by You” issue- I had written for Femina a few years ago- this felt like home. Few more months down the line and Hindustan Times featured me in their Sunday magazine Brunch. Finally, I was finding my feet; I was happy.

Do I regret my decision? Not quite. Yes, there are dark days when the regularity of a paycheck and of the social recognition and status pinch. Then I open my laptop, look at my drafts and assignments and world seems a beautiful place.

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NoteThis is my entry for the “As Beautiful As Your Work” Contest by Tanishq.