March 16, 1970 - A Journey Starts
|South Block, New Delhi|
The journey of my formative years began in March, 1970. While I was still a student of the final year for a university degree (B.A) at D.A.V. College, Jalandhar, I had passed and qualified the UPSC’s competitive examination for an LDC. I was happy on one hand and somewhat worried and concerned on the other. Our financial position was not sound at the time. I was finding it difficult to continue my studies. But I was keen to become a university graduate by completing the B.A degree. My father immediately wrote, after the UPSC results sometime in November, 1969, to Mama Shiv Ram, a cousin of my mother, who was an Under Secretary in one of the Ministries of Government of India. He responded and dissuaded me and my father from coming to Delhi for a clerical post and advised to continue my studies and try for a better job subsequently. Sometime in January, 1970, I got an appointment letter from the Ministry of External Affairs for the job of an LDC that instructed me to join by March 16, 1970. I was happy as I learnt that it was the best position offered at that level of recruitment. My father again wrote, on my suggestion, to Mama Shiv Ram and informed him that I was allotted IFS (B) and was advised to join by March 16. Mamaji promptly responded and advised to accept the job offer and come to Delhi. I immediately drafted a small letter in my broken English and typed it myself at a typewriting school where I was learning typing and informed the Ministry of External Affairs that I would join by March 16, 1970. I did not know at that time that I could have got some more time on request to prepare for the joining. My worry at the time was the number of lectures mandatory to sit for the final year examinations for the B.A. degree. With this in mind and other considerations, I remained in the college up to March 14 which was a Saturday.
The journey of my tryst with the Ministry of External Affairs and the IFS started on Sunday, March 15 by a morning train from Jalandhar to Delhi. I reached the residence of Mama Shiv Ramji, a flat at Nanakpura, New Delhi by evening. Mamaji was a great personality, a tall handsome man of caliber. The family received me with open arms. Both Mama Shiv Ram and Mami Bhaggo and their children, my cousins, were friendly and accommodative. They made me feel at home and comfortable. Mama Shiv Ram and Mamiji were very reverential to my father and mother. It made me all the more comfortable and at ease. They gave me an over-view of the life in Delhi and some tips to start my career.
The next day, March 16, was the day of reckoning for me. I was excited. Mamaji’s office, Ministry of Agriculture, was located at Krishi Bhawan. He took me on his scooter to the Ministry of External Affairs at South Block, guided, helped and made me join my job. I was deeply touched by the treatment meted out to me. I will forever remain indebted to Mama Shiv Ram and his family for the good done to me.
Incidentally today, March 16 is a Monday again. It was so 45 years ago. I feel gratified that I was not unoccupied or unemployed even for a day and landed right from D.A.V College Jalandar to the coveted Ministry of External Affairs at South Block, New Delhi. It was a long but satisfying journey till my retirement from the coveted IFS in December, 2010.