“Officers’ Mess of this academy is not a casual place. It is an institution. When you are here, you must be proper in your attire, polite in demeanour, and must always uphold this institution’s decorum and dignity.”
These lines from the introductory session here at LBSNAA, Mussoorie are still ringing in my head as I begin my Foundation Course (FC) at this academy. This 100-day course, mandated for all new civil service recruits, is designed to instill not just the academic knowledge, but also the discipline and life skills expected of a civil servant. We are taught history and polity, law and economics, administration and management. But these are hardly the things that make this academy special.
It’s only when you sit in the auditorium listening to the course faculty speak about the rich history of the academy and its institutions, you truly appreciate this place’s eminence and realise how lucky and privileged you are to be sitting there.
While preparing for the Civil Service Exam, every aspirant, at one point or the other, dreams of being at this academy. I wasn’t any different. For years, I thought and imagined myself walking in these hallowed portals. In April 2015, when I had the chance to visit LBSNAA as a participant for the Inter-Service Meet, I looked at this place’s sheer grandeur and wondered longingly, “Will I ever revisit this academy as one of its own?”
After more than three years of endless wait, the day did arrive. On 26th August 2018, as I stepped into the academy, I had imagined the journey to be emotionally charged. Truth be told, it wasn’t to be. Instead of the surge of emotion I expected, the experience was rather mundane.
It’s only a few days into the course that I’m able to appreciate the feeling of being a trainee at this exceptional place. So much history is embedded in every corner that all I have right now is a sense of fulfillment and gratitude to everyone who had helped me reach here.
As I begin this new journey, I feel thankful for my parent service, the IRS (Customs & Indirect Taxes) for it had given me many close friendships. I’ll especially cherish my time spent with my batchmates playing football and travelling to various Customs and Central Excise offices across India.
For all the perceived inadequacies that one may have about the job as a taxman, my stint in the IRS has taught me a lot— from how to make a file noting to how to conduct a review meeting, from learning to interpret a tax law, to writing a tax judgement, from earning government revenue to administering a government office. It’s been such an exciting, enriching journey. I have no doubt that, even in my new job, the experience I gained during these four years would be priceless.
The next 100 days at FC are going to be glorious.
What do I look forward to? The mountain treks, the camaraderie, the friendships, the disciplined life, and most importantly, the joy of learning.
I’ve always enjoyed interacting with people who have done extraordinary work in their respective fields. Hearing them speak is equivalent to reading a book. I eagerly look forward to all the talks at the academy by eminent speakers from diverse professions— former and current civil servants, constitutional authorities, politicians, authors, academicians, CEOs and NGOs.
I also promised myself to teach myself one new skill during these 100 days. I declare it here so that you can hold me accountable at the end of my FC and so I am pushed to pursue it sincerely.
Elon Musk once said this— “We need things in life that are exciting and inspiring. Life can’t just be about solving some awful problem. There have to be reasons to get up in the morning.”
Right now, every morning, I feel that excitement.
Until next time,