Twenty-five-year-old Navneet Mann, the daughter of a Delhi Police inspector, was at a hospital for a medical test for the UPSC exam when she got the news that she has secured the 33rd rank in the civil services examination.
Mann is one of the 829 candidates who qualified the 2019 Civil Service Exam, results of which were announced on Tuesday by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), according to officials.
After the interview round, it becomes mandatory for a UPSC candidate to appear for the medical examination.
Mann said she was a "bit stunt" with the results, but was extremely happy and more than satisfied to have secured the 33rd rank in her second attempt.
"I immediately called up my father and informed him. Even though I couldn't see his initial reaction, I was extremely happy and more than satisfied with the results," she said.
Her father, Inspector Sukhdev Singh Mann, is presently posted in the Vigilance unit of Delhi Police.
Mann, who is a Science student, wanted to do Masters in Business Administration from the prestigious IIM and had planned to secure a high paying job in a multinational company.
It was only in her final year of the college when she realised her "true calling".
"I started questioning myself and gave a good thought about it. I asked myself, If this is what I want and will I be happy even after 10 years? Then my father suggested me to try for UPSC. I thought about it for over three-four months and then started working on it.
"Since my childhood, I wanted to serve public and believed I had the leadership qualities too. But it was only during my college, I realised that civil service was my true calling," she said.
After completing her B.tech in Computer Science from Indira Gandhi Technical University, Kashmere Gate, in 2017, she appeared for the UPSC and secured the 501th rank, she said.
In December 2018, she joined training for the Indian Defence Account Service in Pune but still wanted to improve her ranking and decided to appear in the UPSC exams again.
When asked how she managed to prepare for the UPSC during her training period, Mann recalled, "When I first attempted, I had to balance it with my college studies and during my second attempt, I had to balance it with my training. But during this period, I did maintain consistency, was regular and followed my routine."
But she is not someone who believes in studying for 14-15 hours a day.
"It doesn't work for me. I can't maintain that consistency. I studied for six-seven hours on an average daily, followed my routine, stayed focus. At times, when I felt I missed out, due to college exams or training, I always made it a point to read newspapers. It's very important that you stay updated with current affairs and that really helped me a lot," she said.
For Mann, who has had a first hand experience of seeing the challenges faced by a government servant, her father is her biggest motivation.
"My father has been my biggest motivation. I have had the first hand experience of watching him handle tough situations. There have been days, when he came home only once in a week and trying to handle demonstrations. He always shared his on ground experiences with me and that motivated me. I wasn't afraid. In fact, it made me realise how all this is part of public service," she said.
Mann said she ensured to stay focused and spoke to her parents who were her constant support system to de-stress herself.
"My parents have been my biggest support system. They kept me motivated. Gave me my comfort zone. When I felt low or had mood swings if I was not satisfied with my mock tests, but my parents always kept my spirits high and if I have performed well, it's all due to my parents," she said.
Besides, she always ensured to exercise to stay fit and also did not mind watching shows on Netflix.
Her father said, "It's unbelievable. There are no words to express our happiness. I knew her exams went well and we were expecting good results. As parents, we did all that we could for her from providing facilities to accompanying her, encouraging her and most importantly to be with her when she felt low. Take her out for a walk and initiate talks with her.