Ashima Jain celebrating with her family at her house in Karol Bagh in New Delhi on Friday.
NEW DELHI: One of the lanes in Karol Bagh has remained hushed for the past one-and-a-half years. Even the children there have not come out to play. All of them understood that inside a house on that lane, Ashima Jain was studying day and night to realise her dream of becoming an IAS officer and she shouldn't be disturbed by any noise.
On Saturday, however, house and lane alike were bustling with celebrations. Twenty-five-year-old Ashima had topped the UPSC exam in Delhi and was first among the women who appeared for the exam in the country. Ashima ranked seventh in the results announced by the UPSC late on Friday evening.
"I haven't even looked at the results myself. We saw my name flashing on the television on Friday evening and since then, friends and relatives have been pouring in to congratulate me. I have dreamt of becoming an IAS officer since childhood and now I am one," said Ashima, while her family distributed burfis to the visitors.
A gold medalist in economics from Delhi School of Economics, Ashima worked as a business analyst with American Express for over a year. She shunned an annual package of Rs 6 lakh to start preparing for her dream to become a civil servant in the country. They choice paid off— she cleared the UPSC exam in the first attempt.
"My daughter lived in Japan, Australia and Singapore when she was working. She had been living a comfortable life but nothing could stop her from following her dream of becoming an IAS officer," said Ashima's father N K Jain, who is a gazetted officer.
Ashima recalls cutting off from the outer world and studying for over 15 hours a day. She says it was like a self-imposed imprisonment.
Her mother, Vaneeta Jain said: "We used to wake her up at 4.30 am while on our way out for a morning walk. She started studying around 4.45 am and went on till 11 pm at night. Sometimes, my heart went out to her. She had stopped meeting anyone or going out for parties. For the last two weeks before the exam, she could not eat anything because of tension and remained on a liquid diet."
Even her grandmother, who lives on the ground floor of the house, had to talk to Ashima, who was studying in her room on the first floor, on the phone.
Ashima attributes her success to her family and the teachers at her IAS coaching institute. She graduated in economics from Sri Ram College of Commerce and completed her postgraduation in economics in 2005. She hasalso trained in Indian classical music for 10 years.
"Before becoming an IAS officer, I want to relax and enjoy. My dad is throwing a huge party next week," said Ashima.