KOCHI: After completing PG from the London School of Economics, she could have raked in the moolah working in the UK or other European countries. But this 30-year-old’s desire to work in India culminated in clearing the UPSC hurdle as the top-ranked Keralite this year.
Sreelakshmi R, the daughter of Ramachandran VA and Kaladevi B, hailing from East Kadungalloor near Aluva, achieved the 29th rank in the 2018 UPSC exam. Her parents are retired employees of SBI. Her elder sister Vidya R works as assistant professor at the Malayalam University in Tirur. “My schooling was at Nirmala Higher Secondary School, Aluva. After plus two, I moved to Stella Maris College, Aluva, where I did Economics for graduation. For PG, I went to the London School of Economics,” Sreelakshmi told Express.
“After PG, my desire was to work in India rather than joining establishments abroad. So, I returned to India and did small jobs here. I was a project fellow at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) Thiruvananthapuram. After returning from London, I started preparing for the Civil Service examinations. I had a brief preparation for UPSC exams at the State Civil Service Academy and Fortune Civil Service Academy. I also prepared for the Civil Service at a training centre in Bengaluru,” she said.
It was in her fifth attempt Sreelakshmi cleared the examination. Last year, she was short of nine marks to make it into the final rank list. “As civil service officer, I want to bring changes to society. I will be happy if I can bring even small changes to the lives of the people here,” she said.
Knowing that Sreelakshmi had studied abroad, the UPSC interview panel was more focused on questions about international affairs. “The panel asked me about Brexit and its impact. More questions were about international affairs,” she said.
Sreelakshmi’s success is a lesson for other Civil Service aspirants. “There are very talented, deserving candidates who unfortunately fail to clear the Civil Services exam. However, even after failure, they must keep trying again. In my case, I cleared the exam only after failing on four occasions. Selective reading is important to crack the exams,” she said.