Hello, my name is Vikram, and for the longest time, I was seen as a UPSC aspirant, a future bureaucrat in the making. It was more of a family legacy than my own choice. My father, my uncle, even my elder sister—they had all ventured down this path. There was a certain prestige to it, a societal blueprint that seemed almost laid out for me.
Deep down, however, a different dream whispered in my heart—a startup that could revolutionize the way we manage waste. But coming from a family that valued government service over entrepreneurial risk, that dream seemed distant, nearly impossible.
So I found myself in Mukherjee Nagar, the hotspot for all UPSC aspirants. Every nook and corner bustled with the energy of young minds striving for that coveted post. I, too, dove headlong into the preparation, immersing myself in books, current affairs, and mock tests.
But amidst the coaching classes and late-night group studies, something else was brewing—a collective strain on our mental health. Anxiety, depression, and even cases of severe burnout were common talk in the hostels. I began to wonder, is this the life I want to lead? Is this the future I want to step into?
It was during one of those nights, battling yet another wave of anxiety, that I found my moment of enlightenment. I realized I was chasing a dream that was never truly mine. That night, I made a pact with myself: It was time to embrace my own path, my own dream, even if it diverged from what was expected of me.
Breaking the news to my family was difficult. My parents, especially, were initially disappointed. But when I laid out my startup idea, my business plan, and most importantly, my passion for it, something shifted. The very people who once pressured me to become a bureaucrat were now becoming my biggest supporters.
So I left Mukherjee Nagar, not with a sense of defeat but with a liberation that’s hard to put into words. My days are now filled with market research, pitch decks, and endless brainstorming sessions. Yes, the risk is high, and the journey is fraught with uncertainty, but for the first time in my life, I am truly excited about what I am doing.
My startup is still in its infancy, but we’re making progress. We’re not disrupting markets or making headlines just yet, but the little milestones keep adding up. We’ve secured our first round of funding, built a dedicated team, and even achieved some initial sales.
Looking back at my UPSC days, I realize that success is a fluid concept, one that can change shape depending on the lens through which you view it. Yes, I might not be an IAS officer in the future, but I could be something equally impactful—a successful entrepreneur who made a difference in the world.
Mukherjee Nagar taught me more than just the intricacies of the Indian polity; it taught me the importance of mental health, the value of self-reflection, and the courage to embrace a path less taken.
So here I am, miles away from where I started, yet strangely closer to where I always wanted to be. The journey is long, the challenges numerous, but for the first time, they’re challenges that I am genuinely excited to face. I'm not just building a startup; I'm building the life I've always dreamed of. And that, for me, is the true essence of success.